Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
Decriminalizing Sex Work Is a Matter of Survival
Sex worker rights are tied to racial and gender justice, which is why D.C.'s decriminalization bill is crucial.
by Jordan N. DeLoach, Truthout
In the summer of 2018, after more than a decade of housing instability, Nona Conner was facing homelessness again. She'd been evicted from the apartment she was staying in. Anxious to find another place to live, she restarted her old GoFundMe, titled “Black Transwoman Housing Crisis,” to get the money together.
She was relieved when there were enough donations for a security deposit and one month's rent. It took her three months to raise it all. In the meantime, she'd been sleeping on friends' couches, renting hotel rooms, and spending as much time as possible at her job at Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), a grassroots organization where she works with queer, trans and gender nonconforming people of color to access jobs and job skills during the day.
Before working at CASS, steady employment evaded Nona's grasp nearly as much as steady housing. Born and raised in Southeast Washington, D.C., Nona was 15 when she ran away from a physically, verbally and emotionally abusive home. She went downtown to K Street and started selling sex to make ends meet.
“I tried getting several jobs. I would call there, sounding like a woman, and introduce myself as Bri — I went by Bri before I legally changed my name to Nona — but then I'd get there in person and they'd see that the name on my resume and the way that I looked didn't match up with what was on my ID,” Nona said. “They'd go on with the interview for one or two minutes, say they'd give me a call. But I knew what they meant.”
“It was their bias,” Nona continued. “I'm gonna call it like it is.”
Many sex workers in D.C. are survival sex workers like Nona — people who engage in sex work in order to survive or to supplement low incomes, especially after having limited options. Because racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and other forms of oppression marginalize people from accessing housing and employment, many survival sex workers are Black and Brown women, queer, trans and gender nonconforming people. Many sex workers are also disabled people who experience employment and housing discrimination. For people with disabilities, sex work can sometimes offer more flexibility than other trades. Some are immigrants who don't have the documentation required to get other jobs.
These societal and economic barriers influence many people to go into sex work (as well as other occupations that mainstream society stigmatizes as “undesirable,” such as low-wage domestic work, service work and manual labor). “There are a lot of obstacles that stand in the way of getting a job,” Nona said. “Just being trans alone, being African American alone, makes it hard.”
Nona's experiences inspire her to fight to decriminalize sex work and support people in the sex trade. As an organizer in the DECRIMNOW campaign in D.C., she works to remove the criminal penalties from the selling and buying of sex, and to increase access to resources like housing, health care and education that would help keep people in the sex trade safe.
The DECRIMNOW campaign started as an effort by the Sex Workers' Advocates Coalition (SWAC), a network of organizations in D.C. that worked with D.C. Councilmember David Grosso to introduce the Promoting Public Safety and Health by Reducing Criminalization Amendment Act in the D.C. City Council in the fall of 2017 as an effort to decriminalize sex work in the district. Nona and other organizers canvassed and petitioned throughout 2018 to try to get D.C. City Council to bring the bill to a hearing. Although the Council didn't bring the bill to a hearing last year, sex workers and their allies still have faith. SWAC plans to rewrite and reintroduce the bill in 2019. The new iteration will include even more measures to address vulnerability to ensure that everyone is safe and supported in making decisions that help them survive and thrive — regardless of gender identity, race, color, sexuality, ability, religion or nationality.
Nona believes that people shouldn't be criminalized and punished for doing what they need to do to live, especially since a significant number of survival sex workers turn to the sex trade to escape abusive situations. “When I was 15, I went into my momma's purse, took $20, and went to K Street to start working. I was finally free from the abuse,” Nona said. “I was around people who were like me. They'd been through abuse and that's why they were there, too.” Nona ended up working on the street for around 15 years, and she grew close with the other women along the strip. She said it was like a sisterhood.
Engaging in sex work helped Nona pay for food each night. It helped her find places to stay. It helped her find people she could connect with and depend on. She believes that sex work is anyone's right to do, even though she doesn't like doing it. “Personally, I hope I don't do it again,” Nona said, “but I'll do what I have to do.”
While some sex workers love their jobs, other sex workers — especially those who do sex work for survival after being denied access to other resources — don't enjoy it at all. Like many jobs, the trade is just a way to get by. Because our society stigmatizes Black and Brown trans people and sex workers as less than human, as “criminals,” as “deviants,” and as deserving of harm, many face hard times in the sex industry. According to the Collective Action for Safe Spaces 2015 Trans Needs Assessment Report that collected data from around 500 trans people in D.C., up to 54 percent of Black respondents and 60 percent of Latinx respondents had experienced violence and assault in their lives, and around 30 percent of Black and Latinx trans feminine people in the assessment had been denied housing. Twenty percent of respondents were currently experiencing homelessness, and of those respondents, half reported that they turned to underground economies like sex work to make ends meet.
“When I left home, it felt like a door opened and the whole world said, ‘You about to see what you're gonna get a taste of, just be prepared!' And I wasn't. I wasn't ready by a long shot.” Nona described what it was like for her as a Black trans teenager in the 1990s, fleeing an abusive family to sell sex along one of downtown D.C.'s busiest streets. “I wasn't ready to be robbed, cheated by dates, stranded on highways, have weapons pulled on me. But that's what I had to deal with,” Nona said. “At that time, there were no other options.”
What feeds and compounds this harm is the criminalization and policing of sex workers and people profiled as sex workers. People who engage in sex work aren't offered the same protections as others, and when harms do occur, they don't feel safe reaching out for help due to the threat of discrimination, arrest and police brutality.
Police can be particularly brutal toward people in the sex trade, especially Black and Brown women, queer and trans sex workers. A meta-analysis published in December 2018 reviewed nearly 140 studies about sex work from January 1990 to May 2018 from around the world and concluded that there was a strong association between policing of sex work and increased risk of violence, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for people in the sex trade. In the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, nearly 90 percent of respondents who were in the sex trade said that they had been harassed and abused by police, and 27 percent of respondents in the sex trade who'd had an interaction with the police had been sexually assaulted by an officer.
In New York City between 2012 and 2015, a study found that while Black and Latinx people comprised only 54 percent of the city's population, they comprised 85 percent of the people arrested for loitering for prostitution. A 2014 study discovered that Black women in several cities in North Carolina were arrested for prostitution-related charges at two to three times their percentage of the population. In a 2008 survey of sex workers in D.C., of the sex workers surveyed who'd had an encounter with police, 38 percent were verbally abused and humiliated by an officer, and 17 percent had been propositioned for sex.
Police in D.C. frequently profile Black and Brown trans and cis women and gender nonconforming people as sex workers, and the law allows them to unfairly target and arrest people in these communities. This targeting surged in the city after the passing of D.C.'s Prostitution-Free Zone law in 2006, which allowed the Metropolitan Police Department to label certain areas as “prostitution-free” to increase surveillance and arrests. Many sex workers and Black and Brown trans and cis women, queer and gender nonconforming people reported that officers would profile them and confiscate their condoms, contributing to the lack of health and safety that people in the sex trade, and broader communities, experience. Some cops would use the mere fact that someone was carrying a certain number of condoms as a reason to make them leave a public space or face arrest.
The Prostitution-Free Zone law was repealed in 2014 after intense organizing efforts from several trans and sex workers' rights groups, but the general stigma and criminalization that bred the law in the first place continues. In the summer of 2014 in neighboring Prince George's County, Maryland, police officers announced with excitement that they would live-tweet a prostitution sting, including the names and photos of the “suspects.” D.C. police arrested more than 50 clients in one month during the summer of 2015. In the winter of 2018, two trans street-based sex workers reported that officers in both D.C. and Prince George's County were using the threat of arrest to coerce them, and other sex workers, into having sex.
Nona has had countless experiences with police; working on K Street for years gave her firsthand knowledge of police and criminalization dynamics. “A few of the officers were nice and would warn us about upcoming stings. They'd tell us to hide out, because for the next few hours they'd be locking people up on sight,” Nona said. “But lots of officers were assholes. They didn't read you your rights, wouldn't tell you what was going on. They just locked you up. They roughed you up, called you ‘he' and disgusting names. It was horrible.”
Stings and arrests don't help people in the sex trade; instead, they make life infinitely harder. When sex workers have criminal records, they face more barriers to employment and housing. Many landlords will refuse to house tenants with any criminal background despite the knowledge that this disproportionately affects Black and Brown people, who are treated unfairly in the criminal legal system. The same often happens with employers.
Even arrests where the charges are dropped can have devastating effects on someone's life. As a survival sex worker, being arrested means you can't make money. When you are living paycheck to paycheck, living in hotel rooms, or otherwise need your money immediately, being in jail for even a few days could thrust you into homelessness. That's not to mention those who have to stay in jail because they can't afford bail, or people who put everything they have on bail and end up with nothing left when they're released. This system of criminalization, policing and incarceration makes it hard for Black and Brown trans, queer and gender nonconforming people to be safe and have their needs met.
Nona knows this well: She's been arrested several times. For her, surviving life's circumstances sometimes felt like treading in quicksand. She didn't have a safe home because of familial abuse, so she ran away. She couldn't get a job or a home because she was Black and trans, so she did sex work and hustled to survive. She started getting arrested for surviving, leading to a criminal history, which made it even more difficult for her to get a job and a home. She had to rely on sex work even more to make ends meet. The quicksand thickened.
“There are things I need to get for myself. I need food, I need shoes, I need a heater for my apartment. These things cost money,” Nona said. “I've gone to sell sex to make some money, risking my freedom just so I could eat that night.”
Since so many survival sex workers enter the sex industry because they had few to no other options to make a living, treating them punitively fails to address the material needs they have that motivate them to enter the sex trade. And while some people are starting to understand the harms of criminalizing sex work, some worry that decriminalizing sex work would have unintended consequences of harming victims of sex trafficking. Even though sex work and sex trafficking are unique issues, criminalizing and stigmatizing sex work harms both groups by creating more dangerous situations in the sex industry and by discouraging people in the sex trade from speaking up about various abuses and harms.
A key difference between sex work and sex trafficking is that sex work is consensual, while sex trafficking is non-consensual or coerced. Sex workers should have autonomy over their bodies and how they use their labor. Since sex workers are immersed in the industry, they're among the most likely to know who in the trade is being coerced, abused or exploited. However, due to the threat of arrest and police abuse, sex workers aren't able to work with the appropriate agencies to ensure that victims of trafficking can get help. And when sex workers give resources to someone who is being trafficked to help them, like money or a place to stay, they can be accused of facilitating trafficking. Sex workers are also not able to report harms that they themselves experience — harms like rape, theft, stalking and attacks — because of the very real threat of police abuse and harassment.
The conflation of sex work and sex trafficking is not only dangerous for both groups — evidence shows that sex work criminalization in D.C. does little to address trafficking at all. According to D.C. police records, of the 2,582 prostitution-related arrests that police made between 2013 and 2017, only seven involved trafficking.
While sex work and sex trafficking are different, both the fight to decriminalize sex work and the fight to end sex trafficking should address poverty, homelessness and community if the goal is to keep everyone safe, supported and free from exploitation. Everyone needs a safe place to call home. Stories like Nona's tell us this. The statistics tell us this. Sex workers (and those profiled as sex workers) have been telling us this for decades. Until we recognize the need to listen to sex workers, decriminalize sex work, and provide money and resources to those who need it the most, people like Nona will continue to be harmed.
Even though Nona is relieved to have a roof over her head — she's currently renting out a living room in a house with a few other trans women — she continues to struggle financially. The hotel rooms were expensive. Transportation is expensive. Health care is expensive. The latter has been particularly costly for Nona lately: she's still recovering physically and mentally from being stabbed nearly 50 times in 2017. Still, Nona is hopeful.
“I recently started full-time at my job at CASS,” Nona said, her speech gaining speed with excitement. “I could get an even better position there once I'm stably housed.” Although she loves the community she has with her roommates, she still dreams of having a space of her own one day. “I'd love to be stably housed. When I can wake up in the morning with energy and no worry.”
Nona believes that the day will come. The signs are all there. Her job, where she gets to flex one of her many talents — bartending — taps into her passions. The trans women she lives with, who play music, sing and dance around her, provide her with community. The messages of support that filter through her GoFundMe make her feel cared for. And being able to work with and advocate for trans women of color, people who do street-based sex work, and abuse survivors gives her hope. Similar to the hope that the trans girls on K Street gave her the night she ran away from home, all those years ago, when she was just a 15-year-old Black trans girl with $20 to her name, searching for a place where she'd be loved and accepted for who she is. A place where she'd feel safe.
“I'd love that,” Nona said. “I just really need help.”
No charges for officers in shooting death of unarmed black man, Stephon Clark: Sacramento district attorney
No charges for officers in shooting death of unarmed black man, Stephon Clark: Sacramento district attorney originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
by CHRISTINA CARREGA
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced that two police officers would not face charges related to the shooting death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was killed by police investigating car burglaries.
The highly-controversial shooting sparked protests in New York and California and prompted big league sports teams and athletes to weigh in in Clark's defense.
"We look at all these facts and circumstances, we look at everything," Schubert said, following a lengthy address in which she laid out all the reasons for the investigation's conclusions. "We have one question to answer. And that question is was there a crime committed?"
"Was a crime committed? There's no question that a human being died, but when we follow the law and our ethical responsibility, we will not be not charging these officers with criminal liability for the death of Stephon Clark," Schubert continued, at the end of more than an hour long explanation of the investigation.
"No charges does not diminish the anger, the frustration we heard since the time of his death.”
In a statement released after Schubert's announcement, an attorney for Clark's children blasted the district attorney's office.
"The City has once again failed Stephon Clark, his family and the people of Sacramento," lawyer Brian Panish wrote. "It's unfortunate that justice for Stephon and his family must now be decided and delivered by a civil court."
Panish accused Schubert of "cherry-picking" details to present in the press conference, claiming that Clark was shot multiple times in the back.
"Multiple shots to Stephon's back tell a very different story than the cherry-picked facts presented today," Panish wrote.
Police arrived on the scene after a 911 caller reported someone breaking into cars in the neighborhood. The citizen confronted Clark with a baseball bat, according to Schubert, because he appeared to be breaking into cars, and was believed to have used a cinder block to break the windows. Overhead video shows Clark smashing the windows of three cars, according to Schubert.
Clark was last scene jumping over a fence into a backyard, the 911 caller told police. At the time of the incident, helicopters were in the area and offered to assist, Schubert said.
When police arrived, they searched a nearby yard.
At that point, Clark was seen staring into a sliding glass door where an 89-year-old man was watching television, according to authorities. Clark then smashed the sliding glass door window with what Schubert described as a heavy object and fled into another yard, which Schubert said was later determined to be his grandparents' home.
Schubert narrated body camera footage displayed at the press conference.
“This analysis is 30 frames-per-minute," Schubert said. "Mr. Clark's arms were extended in a shooting stance, they believed he was pointing a gun. One officer saw a flash, thought it was a flash, from a muzzle. The other officer believed it was a flash of light from metallic -- off the gun," Schubert said.
At the press conference, Schubert disclosed that autopsy results had determined that Clark has alcohol, Xanax, codeine, hydrocodone, and marijuana and cocaine metabolite in his system at the time of the shooting.
Schubert said that police also searched Clark's cellphone, including his calls, texts, emails, and internet history. They outlined a domestic violence incident he had been involved in two days earlier, and imply that based on Clark's phone activity he was afraid of going to jail for violating his probation. She said that Clark has conducted internet searches regarding suicide.
The shooting sparked extraordinary protests in California and New York and responses from Black Lives Matter, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Sacramento Kings basketball team.
One of the officers who shot Clark is black and the other is white, police said -- identifying them, respectively, as Terrence Mercadel and Jared Robinet.
Each of the two officers involved in the shooting fired 10 shots, for a total of 20 shots fired, police said. Clark was struck eight times, Schubert said.
The Sacramento Police Department released the body camera footage and helicopter footage three days after the shooting.
Video from a Sacramento Sheriff's Department helicopter shows Clark running from a neighbor's yard and leaping a fence into his grandmother's property. The deputies in the helicopter can be heard saying the “suspect” had broken a window on the house next door and was checking out another car in the driveway.
Police body-cam videos show the police running down the driveway after Clark and taking cover at the rear edge of the building.
"Show me your hands! Gun, gun, gun!" one of the officers can be heard shouting just before shots rang out.
Schubert detailed the material investigators reviewed before reaching their conclusion not to file charges against the officers. She said investigators reviewed the Sacramento police case file, the California Department of Justice report on the shooting, 911 and dispatch recordings, body camera and helicopter camera video, diagrams and interviews with and recordings of witnesses, a crime lab report, a phone analysis on Clark's phone, and four medical examiners' review of the autopsy.
She said that Clark was linked to the smashed windows by DNA and glass analysis.
Clark's shooting has helped lead to proposed state legislation that would prevent police from using deadly force unless if there is no reasonable alternative, such non-lethal force like a stun gun.
"The current 100-year-old standard defining officer involved shootings needs to change," said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. "Today's announcement only deepens my commitment to changing that long held standard that allows officers to shoot when objectively reasonable ... to a clearer set of rules and standards that requires officers to do all they can to prevent a potentially lethal confrontation in the first place."
Kings basketball players honored Clark before their game against the Boston Celtics on March 25, in a unified public service announcement from Kings and Celtics players played on the JumboTron at Gold 1 Center in Sacramento.
Man shoots neighbor over parking spot dispute in Arapahoe County, sheriff's office says
by Óscar Contreras
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. – A longtime dispute over a parking space between two neighbors ended in a shooting that sent one man to the hospital Sunday morning in Arapahoe County, a spokesperson for the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office says.
Authorities say the neighbors were having an argument sometime before 9:30 a.m. on S. Rome St. when both decided to meet between Eaglecrest High School and Thunder Ridge Middle School in order to settle the dispute.
Initial reports about the shooting didn't reveal what led to the shooting, but the sheriff's office spokesperson told Denver7 that the suspect in the shooting, identified only as a 31-year-old man, called the Aurora Police Department to report he had shot his neighbor after being attacked by him.
The suspect then told police he was heading home, where he was later arrested by authorities on suspicion of attempted murder.
Neighbors who spoke with Denver7's Tomas Hoppough said the dispute over the parking space "has been going on for a while."
The condition of the 46-year-old victim is unknown at this time.
Michigan Senate passes legislation to crack down on porch pirates and mail theft
by Franque Thompson
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Michigan Senate unanimously voted to send two proposals to the house to help combat mail theft by making it a state crime to steal mail and packages.
More than 19,000 mail thefts were reported to the U.S. Postal Inspection Services from 2017 to 2018. Some West Michigan residents said thieves have gotten away with swiping mail and packages from someone's doorstep for too long.
“It makes me upset because you pay good money to have something delivered to your house and it should be there waiting for you when you get home,” said Adrien Reinhardt, while visiting the Kalamazoo Mall.
“It's absolutely disgusting that someone would steal someone's packages. That is stealing and it should be against the law,” said Mary Vandeweerd, while shopping in Kalamazoo.
Stealing mail is a federal crime and U.S. postal inspectors said they're overwhelmed investigating the number of thefts.
The are two proposals would make it a state crime if they pass and would help reduce what the Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said is a growing problem.
“It's connected lots of other crime. The people that we are catching that are involved in this are also involved meth and they're selling the information to one another or sharing it with one another to help their criminal enterprises,” Fuller said.
Supporters of the legislation said thieves aren't being held accountable at the federal level.
Michigan lawmakers hope the proposals would make it easier to prosecute the crooks and send them to jail.
“We really believe that the mechanism that we would have to snag onto or hold somebody who is involved in these thefts can actually help in all the other crimes that we're talking about,” said Fuller.
Lawmakers said If the proposals are approved, it would be a misdemeanor offense, resulting in a $500 fine and up to one year in jail. Repeat offenders could sentenced up to five years in prison.
U.S. postal inspectors broke down the number of package thefts in Michigan over the last four months: Items stolen were more than 5,000 Amazon packages, nearly 300 credit cards, about 140 checks, and 60 reports of medicine.
Fuller provided tips people could to protect their mail, including
Dropping off mail in the blue United States Postal Service collection box or post office instead of a personal mailbox.
The sheriff also suggested people coordinate their deliveries with package carriers so it's dropped off in a safe place. Some carriers allow customers to track their packages electronically or people could just ask a neighbor to keep watch for the delivery.
“We're all very used to wanting to send these things out from our front yard, but now that we have these crews out here taking people's identity out of the mailboxes or taking your checks out of the mailboxes you want to make sure some place that's safer, like the big blue box,” said Fuller.
14 shot in 24 hours in Baltimore, five in single West Baltimore incident, police say; five dead overall
Kevin Rector and Christina Tkacik
A barrage of evening gunfire that wounded four men and killed an additional man in West Baltimore accounted for less than half the city's shooting victims Thursday, the most violent day of acting Police Commissioner Michael Harrison's short tenure.
In all, 12 people were shot — four fatally — in a series of seven shootings that started in the morning and lasted into the night.
The five shot in Thursday evening's quintuple shooting, which occurred just as Harrison and other law enforcement leaders in the city were preparing for a community meet-and-greet in North Baltimore, ranged in ages from 19 to 46, with a 26-year-old man among them suffering the fatal injuries, police said.
The other three fatal victims — a 20-year-old man found dead in a car, a 27-year-old man declared dead at a hospital and another man found in Hamilton Hills — were shot in three incidents throughout the day, police said.
Two more men were shot — one fatally — overnight. Police said 38-year-old Jason Hodge was shot just after midnight Friday in the Woodmere neighborhood and later died at Sinai Hospital. Later, a 55-year-old man was shot in the wrist during an attempted robbery at the intersection of North Fulton and West North avenues, police said.
Inured to the violence, some neighbors near the Druid Heights intersection where Thursday evening's shooting occurred said they know the drill by now: duck on the floor, wait for the firing to stop.
“We deal with it every day,” said an elderly man who lives nearby.
The man, who asked to remain anonymous for fear for his safety, said the street is poorly lit, insufficiently patrolled by police, and controlled by warring drug gangs whose pushers work around the clock.
“We raised up in this neighborhood, but we just got to move. It's just getting too bad,” he said. “We don't have that [police] presence.”
The shootings and the man's concerns reflect the issues dogging the Baltimore Police Department as it struggles with high rates of gun violence coupled with staffing problems amid low morale and federal oversight stemming from a history of unconstitutional policing.
To lead the department, Mayor Catherine Pugh hired Harrison away from the New Orleans Police Department, where he had worked his entire 28-year career in law enforcement and had served as police superintendent since 2014.
Harrison took over as acting commissioner in Baltimore on Feb. 11, and has spent much of his time talking to local residents about his vision for moving the department forward — out of the cycles of violence that have seen more than 300 people killed in each of the past four years, out of the cycles of corruption and unconstitutional policing that left the Police Department under a federal consent decree mandating sweeping reforms.
12 people were shot, four fatally in Baltimore on Thursday in seven incidents that included a quintuple shooting in West Baltimore.
On Thursday, he met first with clergy members during the day and later in the evening with a gathering of community members. After the later meeting, the eighth of its kind, he said the day's violence was “totally unacceptable.”
Residents at each of the meetings have lamented the crime in their neighborhoods, he said, and many people at Thursday's meeting also spoke of the lingering trauma caused by shootings and homicides.
“People are tired of the violence,” Harrison said. “What happened today is totally unacceptable.”
He said he was encouraged by the number of people who have expressed interest in helping to improve the city. He also wants to mend the department's relationship with residents to solve and prevent crime, and said he is committed to collaborating with state and federal agencies to reduce it.
“We're committed to making sure we're working as effectively and efficiently as we can,” he said.
The street violence swirling around the city before, during and after the events Thursday — which Harrison said he did not believe to be connected — re-emphasized the sweeping need for change, and the stark challenges the new commissioner is facing.
Through Feb. 16, 2019, homicides were up 10 percent over last year, to 33 from 30, but nonfatal shootings were up much more sharply — by 46 percent, to 67 from 46.
In addition to the slain 26-year-old man, who died at a hospital, the quintuple shooting left a 46-year-old man shot in the buttocks, a 19-year-old man shot in the hand, and a 25-year-old man and a 35-year-old man shot in the back, police said. The victims were found separately over the course of more than an hour, with officers first responding to the area near the scene — ultimately determined to be in the 500 block of Bloom St. in Druid Heights — about 6:13 p.m., said Detective Jeremy Silbert, a police spokesman.
Silbert said at the scene Thursday night that it was too early to ascribe a motive, but he noted that two patrol officers were already in the area when they heard the gunshots and began investigating — even before the ShotSpotter alerts or 911 calls came in.
They immediately began investigating, he said, and quickly found two victims in the 500 block of Bloom St. A third and fourth were found in the vicinity shortly thereafter, and a fifth victim was found at North Avenue and Monroe Street, he said.
But for the 26-year-old who died at a hospital, the victims are expected to survive, Silbert said.
The neighbor said violence makes it too dangerous to go to the corner store, or to sit on his front step in the summer. Still, he said he clung to hope that things would change under Harrison.
“We are hopeful that it will happen,” he said.
The seven other victims shot in the city Thursday were shot in six incidents across the city.
» About 8:30 a.m., a 20-year-old man was found shot in the neck in a vehicle in the 1700 block of N. Longwood St., in the city's Northwest Community Action neighborhood, police said. The man, identified as Darius Davenport, 20, of the 400 block of Shirley Mae Road, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
» About 11:08 a.m., a 37-year-old man was found in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his neck at a Baltimore County hospital. It was not clear where the man was shot, but city detectives are investigating, police said.
» About 2:47 p.m., a 31-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound to his arm at a hospital. Police believe the man was shot in the 2500 block of Washington Blvd., in the Morrell Park neighborhood in Southwest Baltimore, before driving himself to the hospital.
» About 3:30 p.m., two other victims were found at a hospital with gunshot wounds. One, 27-year-old Justin Forney, died, and the second, a 27-year-old woman whom police did not identify, was being treated for her injuries, police said. Police believe both were in the 5100 block of Charlgrove Ave., in the city's Central Park Heights neighborhood, when they were shot. They then drove to the hospital, police said.
» About 7:38 p.m., a 39-year-old man was found shot in the 6300 block of Tramore Road, in the Hamilton Hills neighborhood. He subsequently died, police said.
» About 9 p.m., the 12th shooting victim was located in the 3600 block of E. Lombard St., near Highlandtown, police said.
Anyone with information about the nonfatal shootings is asked to call detectives at 410-396-2221 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK-UP. Anyone with information in either of the homicides should call Metro Crime Stoppers or homicide detectives at 410-396-2100
Friends, neighbors speak out after Stockton teens died in weekend shooting
by Joe Goldeen
STOCKTON — "Too many innocent kids die young, and they should be allowed to live their lives. Everyone should live the best life," said 16-year-old Justin Meas of Stockton, sitting plaintively Monday afternoon alone at the makeshift memorial to one of his best friends who was fatally shot less than two days earlier.
Fourteen-year-old Nicholas Sihalath of Stockton and another teen, 15-year-old Advan Vang of Sacramento, were found by police shortly after midnight Sunday suffering from gunshot wounds. One of the boys died at the scene while the second was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police have been tight-lipped on the circumstances surrounding the shooting. As of late Monday, department spokesman Officer Joe Silva said there was no information available regarding a motive or a suspect. And no arrests have been announced.
"Our homicide detectives have been working nonstop on this case. The area where this happened will be getting some special attention and a visit from the Neighborhood Impact Team," Silva said.
"We want the community to know that we need their help as there are two families grieving the loss of their loved ones. If someone has any information about the events that led up to the double homicide please report it immediately."
Justin, who said he first met Nicholas more than two years ago, quickly became close with the McNair High School freshman.
"To me, he was a great brother. He's been there for me, and I've been there for him. He's the best person; he's been there for everyone else."
Losing Nicholas rekindled recent painful memories for the teen of losing his own brother at the age of 14. While that death was not due to violence, the past year has been traumatic.
"When I lost Nick, it added so much to my plate," Justin said softly, his voice trailing off. "I wish I could still hang out with him every day."
Justin said if not for personal circumstances, he likely would have been out riding bicycles with Nicholas and Advan the night they were shot in the 7000 block of Montauban, just north of Hammertown Drive and a few blocks south of East Hammer Lane.
Asked why the two boys might have been out riding bikes after midnight, Justin said he didn't know. And so far, an answer to that question remains elusive.
On Monday, area residents recalled that night, just after midnight, when they distinctly heard four pops. Some had just returned home while others had been asleep. For all of them, it was the familiar sound of gunfire, a regular occurrence that includes speeding motorists on the four-lane thoroughfare engaged in rolling gun battles.
Several neighbors, who spoke anonymously out of concern for their safety, observed a similar scenario. Police arrived quickly after the gunfire. One of the boys lay covered in the right southbound lane of Montauban while the other was being placed in an ambulance bound for a hospital. Two bicycles were down in the street. No one else but first responders were near the scene, and police quickly fanned out to canvass the neighborhood.
One neighbor noted that a street light that would easily have illuminated the entire scene has been out for weeks.
"The neighbors look out of each other around here. We are so used to the gunfire, almost every night. This is really sad. I hope they catch these dudes," the neighbor said.
At McNair High School, Principal Mark Dawson described Monday as "a somber mood overall. Our counselors and a school psychologist are available and we had some students go in and talk to them."
Dawson said Nicholas' violent death marked the first time in his professional career he has had to deal with a student homicide. The school "is still working through the process" of dealing with the aftermath.
While he did not know Nicholas and could not speak about his school activities, Dawson offered his condolences to the family.
"We're sorry for their loss," he said. "I can't imagine what they are going through."
Lodi Unified School District issued the following statement Monday:
"We are profoundly saddened by the news that a ninth-grade student from McNair High School was the victim of a homicide. Lodi USD has a crisis support team available at the school for our students and staff. Our deepest sympathies are extended to family and friends of the student."
Investigators have requested that anyone with information about the case call the Stockton Police Department at (209) 937-8377, the Investigations Unit at (209) 937-8323 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards up to $10,000. Callers can remain anonymous.
Cellphone users can text information to 274637 (CRIMES) by entering the keyword "TIPSPD" followed by their tip. Or they can use the Stockton Police Department mobile phone app and remain anonymous. Internet users can visit the Police Department's Facebook page and click "Submit a Tip."
Detroit crime: 'Give them what they want, and they'll still kill you'
by ALEANNA SIACON
A day after a deadly home invasion just a few houses away, Detroiter Cynthia Wright is wondering whether she needs to break down and buy a gun.
Wright's neighbor ended up fatally shooting a man after he accosted her and two other women as they were leaving for church on Sunday morning and forced them back inside their home. The incident has made Wright even more vigilant.
"I don't have a gun, I don't want a gun, but I might have to have one," she said, adding that her daughter legally owns a firearm.
Break-ins and robberies have been happening more frequently in the weeks leading up to Christmas and the colder months, she said. The night before the incident, Wright said she was startled by "unusual banging" on her door about 8:30 p.m. or 9:30 p.m., but didn't see who came by.
"They're getting desperate," said Wright, 48. "You can give them what they want, and they'll still kill you. ... You're leaving out the house and they charge you back in."
On Sunday, police said, a man his 30s approached Wright's 55-year-old neighbor and two other women, ages 75 and 29, in the driveway of their home in the 9000 block of Mark Twain Street.
As the women were getting ready to leave for church, the man forced them back inside.
According to police, Wright's neighbor grabbed a gun and fired two shots, striking the man at least once in the chest. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
No arrests were made. Police said an investigation is ongoing.
A 29-year-old who was at the home Monday told the Free Press that she was involved in the incident, but declined to share her name or further details.
"I'm still in disbelief," she said.
Wright, who lives in the neighborhood with her daughter and grandkids, said the neighbors who were targeted are "good people."
"They don't bother anyone," she said. "It's unfortunate what happened."
Wright said their street participates in weekly neighborhood watch meetings, but she has found herself still taking precautions, like making sure someone else is home before retrieving groceries or picking up packages.
"I would tell everyone to be cautious and careful," she said. "Regardless of where you live. ... Theft is everywhere."
Yet Wright remains steadfast, and she said she's going to continue securing her home and celebrate the holidays with her family.
"I'm not moving. ... I'm standing my ground and I'm not moving," she said. "This is what I have; this is what the Lord has blessed me with."
Daryl Eckridge, 66, who lives a street over, said he often checks on his uncle who lives in the neighborhood. He said they neighbors who were targeted on Sunday are "real nice people" who stay to themselves.
Eckridge said it has gotten more important to arm yourself and protect what's yours — he also has a gun at home.
Back in the day, he said people with ill intentions wouldn't come by if you were at your home or would leave you alone if you were old, but nowadays, "they figure you're just an easy target."
"You have to do what you have to do. I hope it doesn't bother her what happened," Eckridge said. "Who knows what would have happened if she hadn't (fired the gun). ... I think it's more than justified."
More women are turning to gun ownership to keep safe.
Firearms trainer Rick Ector said his Taylor-based company, Legally Armed, has seen a steady increase in the number of women taking free training he offers annually, from about 50 in 2012 to about 600 in 2017.
Ector told the Free Press in May 2017 that women sign up because they see themselves as "easier targets" for predators.
Want to fight crime? Plant some flowers with your neighbor
by Marc A Zimmerman
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Neighborhoods struggling with physical decline and high crime often become safer simply when local residents work together to fix up their neighborhood.
My colleagues and I at the University of Michigan School of Public Health Youth Violence Prevention Center have spent nearly a decade documenting why. Research from cities across the United States shows how small changes to urban environments—like planting flowers or adding benches—reduce violence.
The result is an emerging crime prevention theory we call "busy streets." Here's how it works.
From broken windows to busy streets
Busy streets flips the logic of the broken windows theory – a controversial criminological approach to public safety – on its head. Broken windows defenders see urban disorder in U.S. cities – graffiti, litter, actual broken windows and the like – as a catalyst of antisocial behavior. So they direct police to crack down on minor offenses like vandalism, turnstile jumping and public drinking.
Proponents of busy streets theory, on the other hand, believe it's better for neighborhoods to clean up and maintain their own city streets.
Our research in Flint, Michigan – a once prosperous manufacturing hub near Detroit that's now synonymous with industrial decline, unemployment and crime – documents this process in action.
Flint's median income today is less than US$26,000, and more than half of families with children live in poverty. It lost 27 percent of its residents since 1990, U.S. census data shows. Nearly 1 in 5 homes is vacant. Crime followed this cycle of abandonment and decay, as it has in postindustrial cities across the Rust Belt. Flint has the second-highest homicide rate among U.S. cities with populations under 100,000, after Gary, Ind.
In 2012, the University Avenue Corridor Coalition – a group of residents, businesses and two local colleges – decided to try to prevent crime by fixing up a 3-mile stretch of University Avenue running through the Carriagetown neighborhood of central Flint. We began measuring their results in 2014.
The group started holding frequent neighborhood cleanup days to fix up vacant lots and abandoned buildings, symbolically "owning" them by adding lighting, sidewalk repair, benches and plantings. The owners were usually happy to allow neighbors to fix up their private property for free. Sometimes, they even pitched in.
Those changes, we observed, inspired other homeowners and businesses on this flat, three-lane road to spruce up their properties, too – what one local resident called the "spreading effect of pride."
"I think that people really just needed to see that, 'Hey, somebody does care about this other than just us,'" said a coalition member.
The group also successfully pushed to get a local corner liquor store – dubbed the "Stab 'n' Grab" because fights broke out there so often – transformed into a Jimmy John's sandwich shop. That may sound like just another chain restaurant, but in this part of Flint there are few businesses and almost nowhere else to eat. A new sandwich shop was a huge development.
The vacant lot across the street from the Jimmy John's, previously a favorite public drinking spot, was turned into a park called University Square. It now hosts regular events, replete with food trucks and lawn games.
When people drive by this once derelict intersection and see a block party underway, a community organizer told me, their jaws drop.
Busy streets have less crime
These surface-level environmental changes turned out to have profound economic and societal effects on this part of central Flint.
We surveyed residents there in 2014 – before the intervention began – as well as in 2016 and 2017. We are now preparing the results of the Flint study for publication in an academic journal, but here's a snapshot of our findings.
Over time, community members reported fewer mental health problems, said they'd been victims of crime less often, and felt less afraid. That's probably because crime did go down along the University Avenue Corridor: According to the coalition's latest report, assaults decreased 54 percent, robberies 83 percent and burglaries 76 percent between 2013 and 2018.
To test the connection with the coalition's work, we compared this area to a control group of Flint neighborhoods that had suffered similar levels of disinvestment and urban decay. We learned that places where empty lots were being maintained by the community had nearly 40 percent fewer assaults and violent crimes than untouched vacant lots.
This finding is similar to data from other cities. From 1999 to 2008, for example, the city of Philadelphia cleaned up 4,436 vacant lots, signaling "ownership" with fencing, benches, plantings and the like. Gun assaults in areas where the interventions occurred dropped by 29 percent over three years. Nuisance crimes like loitering and vandalism declined 30 percent.
Philadelphia also saw economic gains from maintaining empty land and fixing up abandoned properties. According to an economic analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2016, for every dollar spent reoccupying an abandoned building, taxpayers saved $5 in potential criminal justice costs. Cleaned-up vacant lots saved the city even more: $26 per dollar spent.
People in areas of Philadelphia with newly greened lots also reported exercising more and experiencing less stress, presumably because they they felt more comfortable being outside.
One likely reason that crime drops after joint neighborhood improvement projects is community engagement. Residents in the University Corridor intervention area reported participating more in neighborhood watches, block associations and community events than in the area where residents didn't undertake improvement projects.
In other words, when neighbors work together to clean up, say, an empty lot, they don't just eliminate the kind of dark, empty place that lends itself to criminal activity. There are spin-off effects, too.
Nicer public spaces encourage more people to spent time in those places, which helps neighbors get to know each other. And when people know each other, they look out for each other, monitoring activity in their neighborhood more closely. Streets get busy.
We also found that the efforts to upgrade public spaces along the University Corridor spurred a modest local economic recovery.
Before the 2013 intervention, very few businesses were operating in the area. From 2015 to 2017, seven new businesses opened. More commerce makes streets busier, too.
Role of the police
Based on our surveys, University Corridor residents were also more willing to report crimes to the police after the 2013 intervention began.
This was critical in this mostly African-American neighborhood, where many people expressed mistrust in local law enforcement. They said officers were "never around when you need them."
Indeed, Flint's police department – overworked and underfunded – was called "broken" in a Feb. 25, 2018, New Yorker article.
So when Kettering University, one of two partner colleges in the University Corridor coalition, got a grant that financed more police presence in the area, many locals said they were grateful.
Police can lay the foundation for neighborhood revitalization efforts to succeed. The aim is not to aggressively flood high-crime areas with police – as cities like New York and Newark did in their broken windows days – but rather to increase foot patrols. This shows residents that the city cares about their neighborhood and their safety.
But law enforcement is not the main reason "busy streets" work to prevent crime. Rather, after years of studying community resilience, I believe that locally driven revitalization projects make troubled neighborhoods safer because they recognize residents not as victims but as agents of change.
Neighbors helping neighbors: Man catches pair burglarizing home
by Eric Feldman
ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — One Anderson man was looking out for his neighbor, police said.
The man saw his neighbor's home being ransacked and helped police catch the suspect.
It happened Saturday afternoon.
Brandon May said he saw a couple of people going into the home next to his. He said that's not normal because the home is vacant.
He called 911. Police showed up, but there weren't any signs of a break-in and the person who owns the vacant home wasn't there. So, they couldn't do anything.
May didn't stop there. He set up a GoPro to show the back of his neighbor's home.
Police said the property owner returned to his vacant property, and that's when the two men tried to make a run for it. May said his video showed the pair leaving through the back.
May said he chased one of the men for a half-hour while calling police.
"You don't just break into somebody's house and take something that doesn't belong to you and just get away with it," he said. "That's not how it works."
Police cautioned against chasing someone who could have committed a crime. In this case, the man arrested, Tylor Lowers, had two guns on him.
At the same time, police said, May's actions of calling and setting up a video camera were perfect representations of community policing. A spokesman said the investigation would not be where it is if it weren't for May.
In the affidavit of probable cause against Lowers, police said Lowers had multiple items on him that appeared to belong to the homeowner
Who needs police when you have chickens?
by Scott Garceau
Quo vadis? Across the road in Batanes.
The rooster approached the road. He looked both ways. He took in the situation. Then he strutted to the middle of the concrete-paved strip in Basco, Batanes — and dropped a load of poop.
Then he strutted off to the other side, looking defiant, like a Roman emperor:
“I came, I shat, I threw shade.”
There's the answer to your age-old riddle, right here in Batanes.
Chickens are an integral part of provincial life in the Philippines. Whether they're raised to produce eggs, or bred to wear Dothraki-style gaffs to claw their opponents in a sabong ring, chickens have always served a vital function in this society. They might even be the reason there's so little crime and vice in a place like Batanes. They're kind of like the secret police of country life. Clearly, they run this place.
Why do I say this? That probably requires some explanation. My wife Therese and I recently traveled to Batanes for a two-night stay, and chose a B&B situation. Touching down at their tidy and clean domestic airport (we'd flown in from Clark International), we were struck by how similarly tidy and clean the capital town of Basco was. Streets are paved everywhere — even a road leading us up to the rolling green hills that Filipinos (or is it foreigners?) tend to associate with The Sound of Music.
It shows how a local provinciality can spend its money wisely, instead of on graft and kickbacks. In fact, everything about Basco seemed to be a model of efficiency, especially if you're coming from the dumpster fire that is Metro Manila. It is generally like that in the provinces; trikes are all licensed, carefully maintained, and fully operational. (Not like the post-apocalyptic Fury Road types you encounter in Manila.) Bad people don't last long in a place like Basco. For one thing, everybody knows what everybody else is doing. And everybody talks.
The famous Honesty Coffee Shop in Ivana has been operating since the '90s. Manila tried a similar experiment recently, but, according to The STAR, it soon had to close down. Perhaps honesty is in short supply in the metro.
As for tourism, it's been on the rise here for several years running (up 40 percent, I heard). Most of those visitors are Filipinos, drawn to the exotic thrill of taking selfies atop rocky cliffsides, or imitating Julie Andrews sweeping across the fields in her nun getup. It's a whole niche market, right there.
To keep things nice and clean, every visitor to Batanes is required to pay an ecotourism fee (P350) that not only goes toward keeping the place clean and green, it helps monitor arrivals and keep an eye on possible undesirables.
The people of Batanes are generally lacking in cynicism (at least to this outside visitor); I was greatly surprised when I opened our van door to step down onto a narrow street, and a young kid skidded his bicycle to a halt right in front of me. “Sorry!” he immediately said with a sheepish grin on his face. This is a far cry from the crazy, erratic behavior we tolerate from foolhardy cyclists, trike drivers and bus operators plying EDSA; and you'll never hear a kid say “Sorry!” for nearly ramming into you with his bike in Manila.
The people of Basco speak Ivatan, as well as Tagalog and English. They seem carved from a different era, a little touch of 1950s Pleasantville in their civility, their unforced niceness. As mentioned, everybody knows everybody in Basco. Everybody has a central or supporting role. The husband and wife that ran our B&B were actually integral to things running smoothly there: the husband was the main air traffic tower supervisor in town; the wife was a schoolteacher working for the Department of Education.
So getting up early here, paying your taxes and keeping the streets well swept is kind of expected. In fact, you'll find that most establishments lock up around 8 or 9 p.m., and a lot more close their doors by sundown. There are no woozy karaoke joints within city limits (none that I could hear) or late-night bars, though people do apparently drink. They just seem to do so responsibly, at home or indoors.
This lack of apparent vice had me puzzled. That is, until Therese and I settled down for our first night's rest in Basco. We decided to watch a video on my laptop to kill some time after the whole town shut down (there's very thready internet service to be had, so Netflix and hours of posting to Instagram are kind of off the list of available pastimes).
As soon as I pressed the spacebar, and the 20th Century Fox opening theme music began, the neighbor's chickens that were roosting about five feet outside our window began their assault.
We were struck by how tidy and clean Batanes was. What's their secret?
They had awoken from their apparent 8 p.m. slumber, and were now trading that same phrase back and forth between neighboring chicken coops. First, you'd hear the ruffle of feathers over there, followed by “Bu-bu-bu-bakaw!”; then more feathers rustling, and another chicken coop would join in the twilight choir until you felt like you were in Chickentown. Just that four-note phrase, repeated so often that I thought it was either a bunch of chickens doing an open audition for a Beckett play, repeating the same line in different, absurdist inflections; or — this thought eventually struck me — maybe the chickens were keeping an eye on people. Maybe they were, in their way, maintaining peace and order by raising a fuss whenever anyone made too much noise. In short, they were policing Basco.
This could be the reason people get a proper night's sleep here. They're forced to sleep early to avoid rousing the chickens. And then, of course, they're woken up for work every morning (even before sunrise, mind you; our chorale group started up about 2 a.m.) by a regular reveille of screeching fowl. So few people malinger or skip work. And forget about that iPhone alarm; you won't need it here in Batanes.
By the second night, we were quite tired of the cranky, easily woken chicken brigade, but what could we do? Being city dwellers, we did consider seeding the next-door chicken yard with tablets of Melatonin, hoping the chickens would slurp it up with their grain and conk out. That should buy us a few hours' sleep. But we didn't, because we didn't want to disturb the delicate balance of nature, human co-existence and civility that keeps a place like Batanes so well-functioning.
So, to rephrase that age-old riddle: “Why did the tourists in Batanes cross the road?” Possible answer: “To find someplace where they could catch a little shuteye.”
'So peaceful now': Community policing changing Hattiesburg's once-violent Dabbs Street
by ELLEN CIURCZAK
Christine Lane had gotten tired of the crime in her Dabbs Street neighborhood, especially after one day in October, when a police officer pursued a suspect through her yard.
"I had never seen it like that," she said. "Somebody had run into our yard.
"The police pulled a gun on my son. They pulled a gun on me. They accused my son of wrongdoing."
Lane said her son was wearing the same white T-shirt as the suspect and police were making sure they had the right man. She had to walk the officer through her house, with a gun at her back, to prove the suspect wasn't hiding inside.
The Dabbs Street neighborhood is a lot quieter these days, after Hattiesburg Police officials began "Operation Quality of Life" there. Police Chief Anthony Parker announced the initiative at a community meeting in October, following a murder and triple shooting in the neighborhood.
The program frees two patrol officers from each shift, around the clock, to roam areas in the city to reduce crime.
"Since the operation was put into place, we haven't had any violent offenses or aggravated assaults in the Dabbs Street, East Sixth and Mobile streets and Vickers Circle areas," said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. "The officers in those areas have made multiple drugs and weapons arrests without violent incident."
As part of "Operation Quality of Life," officers are visible on foot, bicycles and in patrol cars, so community members can interact with them and share information.
"Residents are no longer afraid to approach our officers and speak up," Barker said. "This sort of strategy doesn't just work in areas where we have problems — this is something that can work in all neighborhoods.
"That's why we continue to try to increase our (police) manpower."
Parker says police presence is increased in certain locations during busy periods.
"It is an ongoing operation for us," he said. "We constantly keep those units in areas where we tend to see problems, but we don't limit them to any one area.
"We move them around, whether it be for increased shoppers during holiday times or anywhere we may see an increase in people."
Parker said the police have received support from the community in every area they visit.
"The citizens love us being there and will constantly interact with our officers or give them tips or ask for assistance if needed — which goes to the basics of community policing," he said.
Councilwoman Deborah Delgado, whose ward includes the Dabbs Street neighborhood, said closure of an unlicensed business in the area also helped reduce crime.
"It had presented a lot of challenges over the years," she said. "I think the closure of that, along with the community policing, has contributed to (reduced crime in that neighborhood)."
Delgado said she's also seen evidence that residents are more willing to come forward with tips and crime reports since the October community meeting.
"I think they got together and talking to them about that raised their consciousness to object to that kind of behavior," she said.
For Lane, the new atmosphere is welcome. She had been contemplating selling her home, due to the frequent gunfire, before the community policing effort started.
"It's just so peaceful now," she said. "They patrol, and you can see (the police) riding out all the time.
"I'm glad to see them drive by."
Cleveland man threatens others with airsoft gun, gets pistol-whipped, police say
Euclid Police Department initiates crime prevention conference
by Jean Bonchak
The Euclid Police Department will host its first crime prevention conference on April 6 for the purpose of equipping attendees with resources and information regarding personal and community safety.
Representatives from more than 20 organizations, including the Ohio Crime Prevention Association, Cuyahoga County Scam Squad and Cleveland office of the FBI, will be on hand to talk with participants.
Kate McLaughlin, Euclid Police's community policing specialist and crime analyst, originated the event after considering ways in which to reenergize the city's block watch program.
Block Watch is a partnership between residents and local police departments with the purpose of maintaining vigilance in a community in order to increase safety by reporting crime or suspicious activity.
McLaughlin, employed by the department for 13 years, is the recipient of the 2018 Ohio Crime Prevention Association Member of the Year award and also was honored as the 2019 Greater Cleveland Safe Kids Safe Community Coalition Member of the Year.
The department recently was recognized by the Ohio Crime Prevention Association for its special projects, all of which were initiated by the Community Policing Unit.
McLaughlin said another reason she thinks that the conference will be highly beneficial is because it encompasses multiple facets of safety.
“When you're holding a conference of professionals in the field of law enforcement it's impactful," she said. "It can make a difference. That's why so many people want to be a part of it. All of the organizations have community outreach and this is the right platform for it.”
She noted that every organization that was contacted about the event agreed to come on board.
In addition to representatives providing information regarding safety and crime, other related activities will take place.
For example, the Ohio Attorney General's BCI Crime Scene Unit will show how crime scenes are processed within a portable lab.
McLaughlin said one of the major goals of the conference is to provide residents with practical solutions to crime-related issues.
“People love to get on social media and complain, but coming to the conference will give you information and resources to solve the problem,” she said. “It's our hope that attendees will learn crime prevention measures to use for themselves but more importantly I'm hoping people will want to be more proactive and educate others in their neighborhoods.”
One crime prevention method that can be used by residents and will be discussed at the event is target hardening which refers to the strengthening of the security of a building or home to reduce the risk of such criminal activities as trespassing and theft.
“Crime prevention is a choice of how you want to live,” McLaughlin said. “It's an effort. It's hard work for some and that's why we don't engage in it as often as we should.”
Over the past few years McLaughlin has increased the number of block watches in Euclid and hopes that the conference will help to add even more.
Currently, active neighborhood block watch groups in Euclid are established within the Chardon Hills Association, Indian Hills Association, Edgecliff Club and others.
She provided an example of how well the plan works by stating that a street on the city's north end was troubled with a drug house and numerous complaints regarding juveniles. With consistent block watch meetings and the introduction of a nuisance abatement law by the city the problems subsided.
The free conference will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lakefront Community Center, 1 Bliss Lane.
McLaughlin hopes that the city's first such event will be well attended and that participants will immerse themselves in the knowledge that professionals have regarding making life safer, thus providing a better quality of life.
There's No Such Thing as a Dangerous Neighborhood
Most serious urban violence is concentrated among less than 1 percent of a city's population. So why are we still criminalizing whole areas?
by Stephen Lurie
In 1982, George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson told a story about a window, a story that changed the fates of entire neighborhoods for decades. Writing in the March issue of The Atlantic, Kelling and Wilson proposed that American policing needed to get back to the project of maintaining order if America wanted communities be safe from harm. “Disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence,” they argued. One broken window leads to scores of broken windows; broken windows signal the breakdown of neighborhood social control; neighborhoods become “vulnerable to criminal invasion,” communities ridden with destruction, drug dealing, prostitution, robbery, and ultimately, serious violence.
In essence, Kelling and Wilson argued that latent danger loomed everywhere, and everywhere people's disorderly impulses needed to be repressed, or else. Their “broken windows theory” didn't stay theoretical: Also known as order maintenance policing, this tactic propelled an entire generation of policing practice that sought to crack down on minor “quality-of-life” infractions as a way to stem violence.
As taken up by police in New York City, Los Angeles, and across the country, broken windows policing led to the aggressive use of stops, summons, and misdemeanor arrests in predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods. More than 30 years later, the evidence demonstrates that the broken windows paradigm does little to nothing to reduce serious crime but does tend to make people feel more unsafe, reduce trust in and cooperation with police, and could contribute to, in fact, producing and facilitating more violence.
While police departments often recognize that “we can't arrest our way out of the problem,” the broken windows paradigm remains active throughout policing. Perhaps most significantly, it still colors how the public views violence and demands responses to it: both as a danger that characterizes entire poor communities of color, and as a menace that poses a constant threat.
This long-held view is, simply, wrong.
The knowledge that we've gained since 1982 unequivocally tells us something else: Serious violence is extremely concentrated in very particular places and, most importantly, among very particular people. Dispelling the notion of “dangerous neighborhoods,” extensive research on geographic concentration has consistently found that around half of all crime complaints or incidents of gun violence concentrated at about 5 percent of street segments or blocks in a given city. Moving past “violent communities,” sophisticated analysis of social networks have demonstrated that homicides and shootings are strongly concentrated within small social networks within cities—and that there is even further concentration of violence within these social networks.
For example: In Chicago, a city often used in the media and elsewhere as an example of the worst of American urban violence, researchers found that a social network with only 6 percent of the city's population accounted for 70 percent of nonfatal gunshot victimizations. Violent crime isn't waiting to happen on any given block of a poorer neighborhood, nor is it likely to arise from just anyone who happens to live in one.
While violence is concentrated in very particular places, it's not the places themselves that are committing homicides.
And, despite claims to the contrary about upticks in violence associated with the “Ferguson Effect” or “ACLU Effect”—reductions in street stops when police have opted to, or have been forced to, change enforcement practices—massive levels of low-level enforcement does not produce public safety. In fact, such policing can make communities less safe by pushing people away from formal means of resolving disputes and towards private forms of violence. So how can we explain the nature of serious urban violence?
At the American Society of Criminology's annual conference, my colleagues and I at the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College recently presented evidence of what many in the violence prevention field have known for a long time, but has yet to become the public common sense. In our forthcoming study of serious violence in over 20 cities, we found that less than 1 percent of a city's population—the share involved in what we call “street groups” (gangs, sets, and crews)—is generally connected to over 50 percent of the city's shootings and homicides. We use “group” as a term inclusive of any social network involved in violence, whether they are hierarchical, formal gangs, or loose neighborhood crews. In city after city, the very small number of people involved in these groups consistently perpetrated and were victimized by the most serious violence.
To be clear: The number of group-involved people actually committing homicides or shootings is still far smaller than the less-than-1-percent of a city's population in these groups.
This held true even in areas considered chronically “dangerous,” like parts of East Baltimore. There, the group member population totaled only three quarters of a percentage point, even as they were connected to 58.43 percent of homicides. Shootings tend to be even more concentrated than homicides. In Minneapolis, we found that 0.15 percent of the population was determined to be involved in groups, but this population was connected to 53.96 percent of shootings—a proportion over 350 times higher than their population representation.
More than geography or social networks, this evidence offers the most focused lens yet in to what violence really looks like in American cities. Crucially, focusing on groups offers an explanation for homicides and shootings in ways that other theories have not. Broken windows theory posits that public disorder encourages lawlessness of all sorts. But it's not clear why exactly someone who has started breaking the windows of abandoned cars—or someone simply observing petty acts of vandalism—would conclude from this that it's also acceptable to shoot other human beings. While violence is concentrated in very particular places, it's not the places themselves that are committing homicides.
Rather, to understand violence, our research points again to the context, norms, and dynamics of street groups. Street groups involved in violence are generally composed of young men of color living in communities with long histories of structural discrimination and alienation from state institutions, particularly law enforcement. These areas have generally suffered from both over-enforcement and under-protection. Intrusive, broken-windows-style policing means mass stop-and-frisk interactions, along with tickets and arrests for minor offenses—but it doesn't come with an equivalent investment in preventing or solving offenses like homicide. Indeed, it often makes it harder to do so, thanks to the cycle of mistrust between police and community members. The near-total impunity for homicides and shootings in distressed communities signals that the state can't or won't actually protect people from the most significant harm.
Where that's true, people feel the need to protect themselves and settle disputes through other means, including private violence. Street groups offer the perception of safety, but tend to embed norms and behaviors that produce violence and put group members at even more risk. Those norms include the use of violence to defend status and solve disputes, the presence of gun carrying, and cycles of retaliation. Being involved with a street group makes people more likely to be both a perpetrator and a victim of serious violence. It's not a surprise that groups are disproportionately connected to the total violence in a city—violence is acted out by people within a context of alienation from formal public safety systems and who face a very real fear of victimization.
If we recognize how violence actually transpires in our cities, we can reorient how we try to stop it. Less than 1 percent of the population is involved in groups connected to half of homicides and shootings—but there is, in fact, a far smaller number of people within those groups directly involved in committing that violence. We should direct public safety approaches at this tiny subset of the population, and recognize the concentration of trauma and violence around them. For example, hospital intervention, street outreach, and focused deterrence strategies all focus resources on the people at highest risk of being involved in violence. The strategies that focus specifically on groups offer a more effective, and less damaging, approach to preventing violence than surveilling a vast number of unknown perpetrators across entire areas of a city.
Changing public consciousness about the nature of violent crime is crucial to undermining the appeal of the broken windows paradigm. The notion that public disorder drives criminality can seem an intuitive approach to public safety. But if people understand that most serious violence circles specific interpersonal group dynamics in structurally disadvantaged communities, order maintenance policing seems more like what study after study shows it is: an unnecessary evil.
That doesn't mean there's no connection between the condition of the built environment and crime: Some kinds of place-based interventions, such as cleaning and converting vacant land, for example, do appear to increase public safety. But those projects don't use arrests or stops to fix broken windows. Stopping violent crime means addressing the risks and needs of those most likely to be involved in it. Now that we have clear evidence of the extraordinary concentration of that risk in American cities, we can and should follow those facts, not a theory that's only ever been just that
Community, Police Learn to Cope Together During Listening Circle
Zeidler Center listening circle brings police and community together
by EVAN CASEY
Just as funeral proceedings were ending for Matthew Rittner, a 35-year-old Milwaukee Police Department officer who was killed while on duty last week, a small group of citizens and police officers gathered in the Clarke Square neighborhood to discuss coming together as a community during times of crisis.
In the last year alone, three MPD officers have been killed across the city. Before 2018, the last MPD officer who died while on duty was in 1996. This situation called for a change to a normal police and resident listening circle that was planned for the night by the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion.
Julie Barrot de Brito, the associate director of the Zeidler Center, said they were originally not expecting police officers to attend, as the funeral for Rittner occurred Wednesday. However, as the event began, three police officers showed up. “Having officers and residents come together as a community in these very, very emotional times of crisis was important,” said de Brito.
Throughout the hour-long event, citizens and police officers cried together, mourning yet another loss of an officer while discussing ways to prevent future tragedies. “Citizens are kind of understanding that we're hurting as officers and there's community members that are coming together and that's beautiful,” said an MPD officer from the community outreach center. Officers and citizens asked to remain anonymous for this story.
Citizens and officers also discussed why a mutual understanding is important when it comes to police and community relations. “I think it's important to engage with officers as much as you can,” said Art, a citizen in the neighborhood.
“I think more communication and more gatherings to see how hard they work. It would be good for us to get to know them better… to prevent from future crises,” another citizen of the neighborhood said.
Another citizen said it's important to focus on good community policing principles. “If you establish those relationships during peace time you might not have a crisis on your hands,” he said.
How to Cope?
The officers at the event discussed how hard it is to lose one of their own. “Sometimes, I think people see us in uniform and they think we don't feel,” said an MPD officer. “But then when bad things happen, we have a hard time dealing with it because we don't know what to really do.”
The emotional and physical toll of being a law enforcement officer has been well chronicled in recent years. A 2012 study from the University at Buffalo found connections between the “daily stressors of police work and obesity, suicide, sleeplessness, and cancer, as well as general health disparities between police officers and the general population.”
A 2014 study titled “Current Statistics on Police Officer Suicide,” also found that from 2008-2011, 224 police officers were murdered across the nation, while 577 died from suicide. This study also found heightened levels of health concerns among officers, including anxiety and PTSD.
There are psychologists who know how to deal specifically with police officers themselves, called police and public safety psychologists. However, there are not many cases of these psychologists being employed by a police department itself, meaning police officers might have to pay out of their own pocket to receive treatment.
The Los Angeles Police Department does have psychologists for all of their department personnel and their spouses in their Behavioral Science Services division. They discuss topics such as stress management, suicide prevention and anger management. In 2017, the LAPD started to require officers who fire their guns on the job to meet with psychologists multiple times.
The Shepherd reached out to the Milwaukee Police Department to see if they offer therapy or counseling services to their officers. They did not respond by the time this story was published.
A Future Discussion
De Brito said another future Police and Resident Listening Circle will occur in the near future. The event took place at Journey House in the Clarke Square neighborhood.
“Having the officers sit down and see that the residents care and then having the opportunity to see that the officers showed up and they were saying positive things about wanting to be engaged was nice,” said de Brito. “It was short and sweet, celebrating the memory of an officer.”
The Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, a non-profit organization, focuses on providing open spaces for public conversation. Their mission is to “foster civil dialogue and invite trust in the midst of differences.”
Are cops being harmed by Hollywood depictions of LE?
Nowadays it is difficult to find an inspiring portrayal of police officers in many movies
As a boy I grew up watching Adam 12 and Dragnet. These positive portrayals of police not only encouraged me to respect officers, but also reinforced my dream of becoming a great cop just like Reed and Malloy.
This makes me wonder if the opposite might be possible. That is, can bad-cop movie images lead to viewers distrusting real police officers?
Nowadays it is difficult to find an inspiring portrayal of police officers in many movies. “Hollywood movie cops” can be seen to:
Slap, even beat confessions out of suspects;
While lacking probable cause to arrest, throat-lock submissive suspects as they graphically describe how the suspect will be sexually molested while they rot in prison for the crimes they are suspected of, for which there is as of yet no proof;
Drive through a city in pursuit, crashing into innocent drivers without even pausing to see if they may have injured someone;
Use racist and hateful dialog while engaging in oppressive/unjustifiable activities;
Shoot suspects and then, instead of rendering aid, inflict pain to their wounded limbs to elicit information;
Line their pockets with money stolen from drug dealers, sometimes killing other cops who try to end their depredations;
Abuse drugs and alcohol on duty;
Have sexual relations with prostitutes on duty;
Be connected with mob bosses from the “old neighborhood” who are depicted in movies to be more honorable than the officers;
Try to convince troubled individuals to jump from ledges;
Shoot many people with guns that launch bodies without suffering any legal, civil, or emotional consequences;
Make lousy spouses, parents, neighbors and even human beings.
To give an example, in all three seasons of HBO's True Detective, the writers decided to have the featured fictional investigators in the fictional drama commit murder as police officers. In fact, the suspect in many “Who done it?” movies is no longer the butler and more likely to be a cop.
Even the makers of the movie Patriot's Day threw me a head fake when they chose to take what should have been a slam dunk positive story of law enforcement and turn it into a fictional-composite-character-hero cop story played by Mark Wahlberg as a department problem child riding out a disciplinary beef. This story line did not even seem to fit comfortably into the otherwise well told story of the Boston Marathon bombing. For me it was like finding a piece of spoiled broccoli in a box of fine chocolates. I knew it didn't belong there but now that it was there, it was impossible for me to swallow.
DOES HOLLYWOOD INTENTIONALLY DAMAGE THE IMAGE OF COPS ON THE STREET?
I have to wonder if it is entertainment or propaganda that is the end game of people who create such ludicrous caricatures of police officers. You might also wonder if the constant portrayals of police officers as badge-heavy, racist, uncaring, psychopathic brutes have encouraged some people to believe these are accurate portrayals. I have to ask:
How much community policing in neighborhoods depicted in movies like Training Day does it take to counter the mistrust of police created by these movies?
How many Americans believe the depictions of these despicable cops are realistic?
Is it easier for a person raised on cops-as-villains movies to resist, fight with, or even shoot at a police officer?
How much do these movies impact on the tendency for jurors to believe, or not believe, an honest police officer's testimony?
Have these portrayals hamstrung police recruiting efforts?
These negative portrayals, coupled with the false narrative forwarded by the national media after Ferguson, have most certainly not made policing easier for officers working the streets of this nation.
THE GOOD NEWS IS, IF IT IS PROPAGANDA IT'S NOT UNIVERSALLY WORKING
However, all you officers out there can take heart in the fact that these negative portrayals have not had a universally negative impact on the way most people view their police departments. A recent Gallup Poll revealed that in spite of the best efforts of Hollywood and the national media, 85 percent of the general public reported they still have confidence in their police. In fact, in the survey police were ranked third in trustworthiness behind only the military and small businesses.
The vast majority of the public you protect and serve trust you and value your service.
A MESSAGE FOR HOLLYWOOD
As a lifelong moviegoer, I would like to make this one request of Hollywood producers.
You folks love making movies about invincible superheroes rushing to the aid of people in distress. How about making just one movie about real police officers who, unlike Hollywood superheroes, commit heroic acts every day in spite of having neither super powers nor invincibility? It is even the case that sometimes in risking all for others, they sacrifice all for others.
Now they are the real superheroes.
BUILD Supports Community Safety and Strengthening Act
by Special to the AFRO by BUILD
Over the years, BUILD has listened to residents of Baltimore City, going door to door, neighborhood to neighborhood, congregation to congregation. We have heard the cries of mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence. We have heard the youth of our neighborhoods ask, “Why are you not doing more to stop the violence?” Over and over again, we have heard the residents of Baltimore City demand accountable, relational policing as a solution to the violence of their neighborhoods.
That's why BUILD has organized to push the city's police department for greater accountability in training, in policy, in reporting, and in discipline, and to pressure commanders to work in relationship with communities to improve safety.
During this present time, while the Baltimore City Police Department is struggling to maintain numbers, root out corruption, and acclimate to shifting leadership, BUILD believes the proposed Johns Hopkins Police Department is a way to bring a new model of policing to Baltimore City, one that is grounded in the idea of accountable policing and that can serve as an example to the rest of the city—perhaps the state and the nation—of what policing should look like.
Of course, we yearn to live in a world where we do not need more police officers. We work toward the day that Baltimore City no longer loses its children to the violence of the streets. But in current-day Baltimore City, our beleaguered police department is stretched thin, and Johns Hopkins University has a responsibility to protect the students and patients it has been charged to serve.
We know that wherever there is policing, there is an increased risk of racial profiling and excessive use of force. We know how implicit bias and systemic racism works. Unless there are specific safeguards in place for maintaining standards of procedural justice and ensuring the highest quality of training of police, incidents of profiling and force are sure to occur.
In the past year, BUILD called on President Ron Daniels of Johns Hopkins University to be intentional in the institution's community engagement. A proposed police force is not an experiment, because lives are far too valuable to be experimented upon; it is imperative to BUILD that if a police department is created, it should be done with the utmost respect for the individuals it serves. At the urging of BUILD, President Daniels met with community groups and went door to door in East Baltimore, listening to real and raw stories from local residents about their experiences and concerns with police.
BUILD also challenged President Daniels—should the time come—to build a department that is transparent, publicly accountable, and can serve as a prototype of citizen engagement and best practices to law enforcement across the country, including the Baltimore City Police Department. BUILD's goal in doing so is to ensure that incidents of profiling and excessive use of force do not occur, but should they occur, ensure that mechanisms are in place for discipline and accountability.
Out of this work, the proposed Johns Hopkins Police Department now requires the following:
A disciplinary hearing board that will include two civilian members, a radical move that subverts the norms of policing in the interest of public accountability.
An accountability board that will be comprised of representatives from neighboring communities. Residents will be in position to influence policy and accountability for this police department. No university, municipal, or state police department in Maryland has this level of citizen involvement.
A mandated minimum percentage (to be specified in the legislation) of officers who serve in the department will live in Baltimore City. These officers will know the communities they patrol and have a personal stake in their safety.
BUILD will assist with training the department on relational policing and cultural competency, making key introductions between the department and leaders in neighborhoods and immigrant communities where BUILD organizes.
In addition to annual reporting as outlined in the legislation, JHU has committed to releasing public semi-annual reports for the first five years of the existence of the department to demonstrate its commitment to increase transparency and build trust with the greater community.
One of the first actions of the department will be to issue a Citizens Bill of Rights. This document will outline the department's definition of constitutional policing and will serve to educate students, staff, and community members on their rights and expectations when interacting with the Johns Hopkins Police Department.
Because the proposed Johns Hopkins Police Department contains safeguards to hold officers and the department itself accountable for their actions, and because BUILD understands the urgent need for accountable policing in neighborhoods of Baltimore City, BUILD supports the legislation that would authorize Johns Hopkins University to launch a police department.
In the coming months and years, BUILD will be on the frontlines, watching carefully to hold Johns Hopkins University and their proposed force accountable to the commitments they have laid out and the values they proclaim. We will be there to ensure they are building a model police department in the heart of Baltimore City—a police department that is community-oriented, constitutional in practice, culturally competent, and publicly accountable
When Kamala Harris Turned a Blind Eye to Police Brutality
by Walker Bragman
“They just started shooting everyone,” a woman sobs. “They shot at little kids too.” The video, from a July 21, 2012 report by CBS News affiliate KCAL, shows Anaheim police firing bean bag shotguns into a crowd of men, women, and young children that had gathered earlier in the day after one of the officers shot and killed an unarmed Latino man from the neighborhood during a chase. At one point, a police dog rushes into the fray.
At the time, Kamala Harris—now a favorite in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary—was California's Attorney general. Despite public outcry and growing unrest, her office did not conduct an independent investigation into the events of that Sunday nor into the events that followed.
It all began shortly before 4 p.m. Two Anaheim police officers, on patrol in the heavily Latinx neighborhood around the 700 block of North Anna Drive, received an anonymous tip that men were loitering in a nearby alley. They arrived on the scene to find 25-year-old Manuel Angel Diaz leaning into a car window. Suspecting a drug deal, the officers ordered everyone to stop what they were doing. Diaz took off running. Officer Nick Bennallack briefly gave chase before drawing his gun and fatally shooting the fleeing man as he turned to look behind him—once in the buttock and once in the back of the head. Bennallack would later testify in court that he saw Diaz throw an object he thought was a weapon, but only a cell phone was found nearby. As Diaz lay dying, the officers reportedly cuffed him and called for backup. They did not immediately administer first aid. Diaz was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
The shooting took place in the courtyard of an apartment complex and it wasn't long before a crowd of angry residents began to gather at the scene. A confrontation ensued, resulting in more violence. Protesters allegedly threw rocks and bottles at police and set a dumpster on fire. Police responded with pepper spray and non-lethal rounds.
The footage is difficult to watch. Screaming and sobbing can be heard as officers coolly aim their weapons into the crowd. A series of loud pops ring out as they fire. A police dog attacks a mother with her baby and bites a boy before an officer rushes over to control the animal. Police would later say that the dog's involvement was accidental and that it had escaped an unmanned cruiser.
Local press reported that officers had offered to buy cell phone videos of what had transpired from bystanders.
The next day, protests continued and Anaheim police officers killed another man, Joel Acevedo, during a foot chase. He too was shot in the back of the head. Acevedo's death marked the year's fifth police killing and the sixth police shooting.
That same day, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait held a press conference at police department headquarters and called on Harris' office to conduct an investigation. “Transparency is essential,” he said, promising that “whatever the truth is, we will own it.” Angry protesters swarmed the lobby.
For a moment it did look like an independent investigation by the AG was imminent. A report from the New York Times on July 25 claimed Harris' office was indeed looking into the matter. However, there is evidence directly contradicting this claim—Paste contacted the Times, and an assistant in the Standards Department wrote the following: “We make every effort to correct errors when they are brought to our attention in a reasonable period of time. After that, I'm afraid, we do not alter them.” A follow-up email requesting any evidence for the claim went unanswered. On the same day as the Times story, Reuters reported that the Orange County District Attorney's office was conducting the investigation into the shootings, and the Anaheim city council had voted to ask the U.S. Attorney and FBI to launch a probe, the findings of which would be reviewed by the AG's office.
Five days later, on July 30, activists delivered a petition to Harris' office with roughly 18,000 digital signatures, demanding that she conduct an independent investigation. A representative for her office told KABC that Harris intended to wait for the Orange County DA's office to conclude its investigation before deciding whether or not to look into the matter. Nothing came of it. A public information assistant with the Attorney General's office told Paste that there was no record of press releases related to any such investigation surrounding the Diaz killing. A subsequent formal public records request yielded nothing when the AG's office took an extension and then missed their own deadline. Harris' campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Ultimately, the Orange County DA would clear the officers of any wrongdoing, no charges would be filed, and nobody was fired. Even after that, Harris chose not to start an independent investigation. Officer Bennallack is, to this day, on the force. However, in 2017, a federal jury found that he had used excessive force and awarded Diaz's family $200,000 in damages.
The incidents left a lasting scar on the city. To rebuild public trust, the Anaheim Police Department implemented a series of reforms including the creation of the Chief's Neighborhood Advisory Council with representatives from 22 neighborhoods across the city who meet with the police chief and command staff monthly, a Homeless Outreach Team and Psychological Emergency Response Team (PERT), which has two mental health clinicians on staff. The Department also expanded its community policing teams and youth services detail.
“The Anaheim Police Department has worked really hard on building trust with the community following the events of 2012,” spokesperson Sergeant Daron Wyatt told Paste over email.
Harris' inaction in these matters could be written off as not wanting to interfere with an ongoing investigation by the Orange County DA's office, but it's important to note that she didn't act even after that investigation concluded (and prompted another public outcry). Nor was this refusal an isolated incident; indeed, it was a feature of her time as AG. Although she did oversee the creation and implementation of an implicit bias and procedural justice training program for California law enforcement officers, she notably opposed legislation that would have required her office to independently investigate police shootings like the ones in Anaheim. She also spoke out against another proposal to mandate officer body cameras. “I as a general matter believe that we should invest in the ability of law enforcement leaders in specific regions and with their departments to use … discretion to figure out what technology they are going to adopt based on needs that they have and resources that they have,” she explained.
For her campaign, Harris has leaned into her law enforcement background, characterizing herself as a “progressive prosecutor.” But that record has proven problematic for some Democrats as more has come to light—particularly involving her truancy crackdown and her decision not to prosecute OneWest, the bank Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin owned during the financial crisis. Harris' failure to investigate the high profile acts of police violence in Anaheim is another troubling example of how her pursuit of justice apparently had limits.
Charleston Police Department joins App to Connect with Public
by Paola Tristan Arruda
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Police Department just recently partnered with an app called Nextdoor, which is a social networking website for neighborhoods.
Officials say it is part of a new initiative, put forth by Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds, to foster “open dialogue, transparency, and improve communications between the Charleston Police Department and the communities” they serve.
The app allows neighborhood residents to talk to each other about events or warn each other about crime trends.
Police hope to use this app and connect with residents about issues and crime trends going on specifically within their neighborhoods.
In a press release, CPD stated, “ The initiative is an example of what the department calls “micro-community policing”: an attempt to use hyper-local data to customize its approach to law enforcement. Officers can alert residents to crime trends, ask for feedback on policing initiatives, or simply introduce themselves.
Philip Wolfersberger, the owner of Pelican's Snoballs in West Ashley, says this is something the community needs. He said his business was broken into three weeks after they first opened up, and he couldn't have caught the person who did it without the help of police and the community.
“The more involved people can be in the community and the more they know what's going on you know especially if hey this happened in my neighborhood”, said Wolfersberger.
Officials say if you have an emergency, you should still call 911. If you need to report a crime in progress, they ask people to dial 843-743-7200.
Johns Hopkins plan for a private police force splits communities and the student body
Many are skeptical of the university's law-and-order solution to crime. Year-by-year data on assaults and robberies outside and within campus property.
It was thumbs-down Monday night at the Harwood Community Association meeting, capping a bad day for Johns Hopkins University in its quest to win public support for armed police to combat what it calls sustained and “brazen” crime in and around its campuses.
“They're dangling carrots at us,” said one resident, as neighbors dissected the terms of Hopkins' proposal.
“So now you can pay to get better police protection in Baltimore?” said another during a meeting that ended with members voting overwhelmingly against the idea.
Earlier in the day, 90 university professors signed an Open Letter denouncing a plan submitted to the Maryland legislature to create a private JHU police force to patrol in and around its Homewood and Peabody Institute campuses in North Baltimore and the sprawling medical complex in East Baltimore.
Currently, Hopkins maintains a 1,107-strong security force. Most of them are unarmed security guards who have no arrest powers. But in the mix are 63 off-duty Baltimore Police officers and deputy sheriffs.
These officers have arrest powers, but do not have access to CAD (computer-aided dispatch) and other resources when responding to 911 emergency calls.
Hopkins now wants state approval for its own department of about 100 armed officers to handle crime fighting both on its property and in the surrounding community, including the “fresh pursuit of a suspected offender” on public streets.
The university would maintain its present levels of unarmed security, with the aim of making the force “a demonstration project on how to do policing right,” Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels has said.
Public universities in Maryland, such as Morgan State and the University of Maryland, have long relied on campus police departments. Private universities do not have authorization to establish such departments and, so far, Hopkins is the only private university to request such a change in state law.
A poll by the Student Government Association found that 75% of surveyed undergraduates are opposed the legislation. A coalition of campus groups, known as Students Against Private Police (SAPP), have held protests and teach-ins.
They argue that more police aren't the answer to Baltimore's crime problems and, instead, will likely increase racial tensions and profiling, which could lead to such incidents as the death of Tyrone West that involved a Morgan State police officer.
Johns Hopkins released to The Brew these updated statistics of aggravated assaults and street robbery that took place in and around the Homewood and East Baltimore campuses between 2014 and 2018. BELOW: Many legal infractions take place within the Homewood campus and student dorms, according to the 2018 JHU Clery Report, which is required to be filed by universities receiving federal aid. In the fine print of footnotes 1-3 below, it is disclosed that the Student Counseling Center received 101 confidential reports of sexual assault, more than triple the 32 complaints received in 2015 and 36 complaints in 2016.
The plan has divided neighborhoods around Homewood, a split based more on income and one's perceptions about policing than on race (the immediate area is predominately white).
Along the affluent northern perimeter of the campus, the Tuscany-Canterbury Neighborhood Association has welcomed the prospect of armed Hopkins police acting as a deterrent to crime, says Tuscany co-president Anne S. Perkins.
Perkins said the board voted unanimously in favor of the measure after university representatives “answered all of our questions and explained to us how well the officers would be trained in community policing.”
The Guilford Association also supports state authorization of a Hopkins police force, said president Thomas R. Hobbs.
“Unfortunately, crime has become a national descriptor of our city,” he wrote to Del. Maggie McIntosh, noting that his association now hires security guards to provide a watch service for the district's 800 households.
“We would benefit from additional patrols provided by a Johns Hopkins University police department,” he said, while the city would gain by reducing stress on the 2,400-member Baltimore Police Department.
A Trust Gap
In the more modest rowhouse districts east and south of the campus, “privatizing the police” is viewed as a worrisome trend by many.
The Abell Improvement Association voted 40-0 against a Hopkins police force. The Greater Remington Improvement Association also opposes the plan.
Kelly Cross, an announced candidate for the 12th District City Council seat and president of the Old Goucher Community Association, says Hopkins is overstepping its educational mission.
“The climate of fear in Baltimore is real,” Cross wrote to JHU board chairman Jeffrey Aronson, and “genuine communication and collaboration” is needed to bridge the gap between the university and local residents.
Instead, he warned, the university seeks to “arrogate to itself the state's monopoly on force and violence. Indeed, there are few things more terrifying than a police force deployed by academics.”
Reacting to Worried Parents
During the Harwood meeting, residents dissected Senate Bill 793 and its twin, House Bill 1094, and found them wanting.
Rather than reciting statistics issued by Hopkins on increased levels of neighborhood crime, all but one participant in the discussion expressed skepticism and even mistrust of the university's motives.
“I am respectful of Hopkins, but Hopkins is an island and oversight of these police will become suspect,” said Yvonne Fisher, who has lived in Harwood for the 24 years. “They can say what they want to, but it will be Hopkins who will determine what goes on here. As a community, we don't have their deep pockets.”
Ralph Moore, a longtime housing activist, also expressed reservations about the “law and order” approach to deep-seated social ills and discrimination.
Various speakers described the legislative push as Hopkins' effort to sell out-of-town parents on the notion that, while Baltimore might be crime ridden, their child would be living in a safe and well-protected environment.
JHU's negligence in handling Title IX sexual misconduct cases led others to wonder if the police force would act to protect those within the university, while harassing and profiling non-Hopkins juveniles in the community.
“As a plan for violence reduction, this is not a serious conversation,” one opined.
Another person noted that Hopkins police would be working closely with Baltimore Police, which has yet to reform its practices following the Department of Justice's 2016 investigation and the crime spree exposed by the indictments and federal trial of members of the Gun Trace Task Force.
“I have a black boyfriend, and I don't want him to be shot.” she said.
Others said the police department would have little accountability, despite the university's assurances to the contrary. An Accountability Board proposed in the legislation, for example, would consist of 15 people, 13 of which JHU itself would appoint.
Ten of the members would come from “students, faculty and staff of the university,” three from communities appointed by “university leadership in consultation with the Baltimore City Council,” and two from the mayor and City Council president.
The board would “review,” “share,” “provide feedback” and “suggest ideas” for community-based policing, according to the bills – not set standards, implement policy or investigate complaints.
“They're not even requiring the police to be city residents,” exclaimed one resident. “They're giving away too much.”
Members agreed that a 80% threshold would have to be met before the association would announce a consensus on the police bills.
On the first vote, 3 were in favor and 18 against a police force. It was then noted that more votes have been electronically sent in by members, changing the tally.
As the votes were being counted, another resident entered the room and was asked if he favored or opposed the Hopkins legislation.
I'm absolutely against it, he said, tipping the balance to 21-5, or 81%, opposed
New York City
Muslims Form Community Patrol. Some Neighbors Say No, Thanks.
The self-funded group sees itself as a neighborhood watch. But there was alarm after its cars were spotted in Brooklyn without warning, or explanation.
by Alexandra E. Petri
Maeen Ali remembers the worry he felt when he first spotted the “Punish a Muslim Day” screed online.
The letter, mailed last spring throughout England, encouraged violence that ranged from pulling off a woman's head scarf to bombing mosques. Each attack, the letter instructed, would be rewarded with points. The hate campaign prompted the police in New York and other big cities to expand patrols around mosques and Islamic centers on the specified day.
Mr. Ali, who lives in Downtown Brooklyn, said he was consumed by thoughts of his four children's safety.
“That just boiled inside of me,” said Mr. Ali, 38, who moved to the United States from Yemen in 1990. “That's when I said to myself that it was really important to come out and protect Muslims in the community.”
He added, “I have to stand up.”
As it turns out, he will spend most of his time sitting — in a white Ford Taurus that is detailed to look like a police squad car with red and white emergency lights.
Mr. Ali is among the first 30 members of the all-volunteer Muslim Community Patrol & Services that is preparing to operate in neighborhoods in Brooklyn, with a goal of growing its fleet of two cars to five by the end of the month and eventually expanding citywide. The group recently held a training led by off-duty officers from the Police Department's 72nd Precinct.
“It's like a neighborhood watch but on steroids,” said Noor Rabah, the group's 31-year-old vice president who lives in Sunset Park.
As word of the new patrol has begun to spread, the backlash has been swift, even among some members of the Muslim community who have criticized the lack of information, and even questioned the need for the patrol.
Like the Shomrim that patrols largely Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Asian Safety Patrol that operates mainly in Sunset Park, the new group — believed to be the first of its kind in the country — hopes to function as extra sets of eyes and ears for the police.
The unarmed civilian patrol will offer translation services — its members are fluent in any of seven languages — explain cultural nuances, report suspicious activity, respond to traffic accidents and even help in searches for the missing. The patrol has the support of Brooklyn's borough president, Eric L. Adams, and Assistant Chief Brian J. Conroy, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South.
“More than buildings went down in 9/11. Trust between communities went down,” Mr. Adams said. “We are building it back one brick at a time, and this patrol is one of those bricks.”
Leaders said the group is self-funded and used donations to purchase the cars and navy blue uniforms for its members, many of whom are involved with the Muslim Community Center in Sunset Park.
Volunteers plan to work in shifts, watching over arrival and dismissal times at three Islamic schools in Brooklyn and conducting patrols from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., mostly near mosques and bus and subway stops in Bay Ridge and Sunset Park, where there are large Muslim populations. It will also link residents to food pantries, mentorship programs and counseling services. It aims to serve anyone who needs help, Mr. Rabah said, not just Muslims.
“Presence is prevention,” Mr. Rabah said. “Just us being around should deter the average criminal mind of doing something to harm another person.”
But in a world where far-right conspiracy theories have inspired terror plots against an Islamic enclave in upstate New York, and a travel ban has blocked residents of predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, nothing, it seems, is that simple.
Organizers said they were prepared for skeptics.
But they did not expect the vitriol unleashed when a photo of their new, double-parked patrol cars on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge turned up Dec. 21 on Facebook, and later on Instagram. The hostility spread after a far-right Canadian website, Rebel Media, posted a snippet on YouTube. The ugly online comments included accusations that the group was a stalking horse for Shariah law, and worse.
“I expected some sort of, ‘Wait, what is that?' but not, ‘Wait, what the hell is that?' Mr. Rabah said. “There's a big difference.”
Some in the Muslim community were equally startled, but for a different reason: The cars' resemblance to New York City police cruisers stoked anxieties rather than allayed them.
Somia Elrowmeim, the adult education and women's empowerment manager at the Arab American Association of New York, based in Bay Ridge, said a single misstep from the patrol could reflect poorly on the city's entire Muslim community. She said more outreach to community leaders was essential before patrols began operating.
Until then, Ms. Elrowmeim, 34, offered this message: “We don't want you near our community.”
The 68th Precinct, serving Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, fielded a flurry of calls from concerned residents after the social media posts, leading police officials to hold an introductory meeting with Muslim Community Patrol members to discuss parameters: Call 911 if they encounter something suspicious, and take no enforcement action on their own. “We expect them to follow the law in general,” a Police Department spokesman said.
No date has been finalized for the start of patrols, Mr. Rabah said. Before the rollout, members will attend community board meetings to explain the patrol's mission and to answer questions from residents. On Friday, the group met with members of the influential Arab American Association of New York, whose vice president, Habib Joudeh, had said he was not told about the patrol group until after the backlash prompted by the photo of the car.
“You have to inform people of what's going on first,” Mr. Joudeh said.
Unlike the Shomrim, which patrols in vehicles and on foot, the Muslim patrol will operate only from patrol cars, Mr. Rabah said.
“We know our place: We are not cops,” he said. “We are simply patrollers for the community that also serve as the eyes and ears for the N.Y.P.D.”
Community patrols work in concert with the police, but are not sanctioned or regulated by the Police Department. “Safety is a shared responsibility with the community, so this is an opportunity for the community to help out and work together with the police,” Assistant Chief Conroy said in an interview.
Mr. Rabah, a funeral organizer for the Janazah Project, said the Muslim Community Patrol had been a long-held dream of his and others. A series of sensational 2016 attacks, including the murder of an imam and his assistant in Queens and an arson attack on a Muslim woman dressed in traditional garb in Manhattan, gave energy to their cause, he said.
New York City is home to an estimated 769,000 Muslims. They make up about 9 percent of the city's population, but represent 22 percent of all Muslims living in the United States, according to Muslims for American Progress.
In 2017 in the city, there were 14 reported anti-Muslim bias incidents, according to the Police Department's annual report. Last year, there were 14 bias-crime incidents recorded against Muslims during the first three quarters of the year, the most recent data available.
Afaf Nasher, executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said the actual number of hate crimes is likely much higher, since bias attacks often go unreported. Still, she said she saw the community patrol as more than just a response to discrimination and attacks against Muslims; it was also reflective of a desire to participate and engage with society in deep, meaningful ways
New York City
Community Policing, Rightly Understood
From the beginning, the crime-fighting revolution, starting in 1990s New York, was based on a cooperative relationship between cops and the public.
by George L. Kelling
Over the last quarter of a century, the United States has seen historic drops in crime—most famously in New York. These gains, once thought impossible, were achieved largely through dramatic innovations in policing, especially the adoption of an approach that stressed order maintenance in communities, data- and intelligence-gathering, and a problem-solving approach to crime and disorder.
In recent years, however, antipolice sentiment has risen in the U.S., sparked in part by a series of tragic, high-profile police-involved killings in major cities but also by the work of critics, mostly on the left but also on the libertarian right, who argue that targeted policing aimed at public disorder is coercive, hostile to community life, and often racist. These critics see such policing as the antithesis to what they call community policing. The arguments that have gained popular currency among police critics have essentially blinded them from seeing that the sort of aggressive policing that they object to can actually be an element of a community-policing model.
The increasingly widespread view that community policing and order-maintenance efforts are at odds represents a fundamental misunderstanding. In reality, the proactive policing that New York first undertook in its subway system under then–transit police chief William J. Bratton in the early 1990s—informed in significant part by Broken Windows theory—was a core element of community policing. Indeed, the very behaviors that residents wanted more heavily policed called for exactly the sort of approach that many modern community-policing advocates now decry.
For decades prior, the prevailing model saw the role of police as responding to serious crime, and it relied on traditional measures of enforcement actions such as arrests and response time to gauge whether they were accomplishing their mission. Call it the law-enforcement model. Policing and criminal-justice policy were, as I wrote in City Journal back in 1992, driven by “the official crime problem as defined in crime, response, and arrest statistics.” But a shift was already under way; soon, police forces would begin to focus their attention on what community members perceived to be the most serious problems that their neighborhoods faced.
Origins of the paradigm began to emerge around the country during the 1980s, when some of its basic ideas began to be implemented in programs such as team policing, increased foot patrol, and improved community relations. But it wasn't until the 1990s that there was, in the Big Apple, a full-scale reorientation of policing around the community; and that development constituted a once-in-a-generation paradigm shift, setting an example that would be followed by urban police departments across the country. Integral to this move was Bratton, at the time a young police chief from Boston. He would serve first as chief of the transit police in New York City, from 1990 to 1993, and then as NYPD commissioner from 1994 to 1996. He returned for a second stint as New York's police chief, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, in 2014, serving until 2016. I worked with him as a consultant during both periods.
Community policing is often portrayed as being soft on crime. A Google search of the phrase turns up images of smiling police officers allowing children to sit on top of motorcycles, posing for pictures, playing touch football, and making presentations to schoolchildren. This risks making community policing seem like a publicity stunt, an insincere attempt by cops to foster a gentler image—what some law-and-order critics mock as “hug-a-thug” enforcement. Community policing, rightly understood, can be, and often is, aggressive and even intrusive, depending on the community's concerns.
It's important to understand the context in which the new policing model emerged; today's police critics fail to appreciate that context. In essence, they can't help but see the efforts of New York City cops in the 1990s through 2019 eyes. Compared with today, the New York of the 1990s was a very different world—and residents' worries were different, too. The decay of public spaces was at the forefront of many New Yorkers' minds. People wanted to use public parks, ride public transportation, and walk in their neighborhoods without fear of being victimized by an aggressive beggar, mentally disturbed street person, or young gangbanger.
Crime was then a daily fear for New Yorkers. In 1990, New York saw 2,262 murders, along with more than 100,000 robberies; in 2017, by sharp contrast, there were 292 murders and 14,000 robberies in the city. Yet, scary as crime was, community fear has always been more closely correlated with public disorder. And by the early 1990s, as City Journal readers know well, New York City was two decades into a meteoric rise in visible disorder. Subway trains were covered in graffiti. Times Square was overrun by prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers. A drive through the Bronx would reveal whole blocks on which only one structure—if any—remained standing. A trip to the corner store would often require cutting through a group of youngsters dealing drugs, drinking, playing loud music, or catcalling young women.
As this kind of disorder worsened, law-abiding residents began to feel increasingly vulnerable to more serious street crime. The disorder made people feel that no one was in charge, and if no one was in charge, anything could happen. More and more New Yorkers began to avoid many public spaces. And the absence of law-abiding citizens from public spaces allowed those spaces, and the surrounding neighborhoods, to fall further into disorder. Eventually, this breakdown encouraged more serious criminal behavior. My colleague James Q. Wilson and I explained the phenomenon in a 1982 article for The Atlantic. I saw my role as a consultant working with Bratton in the 1990s as helping police to incorporate this reality into how they approached their jobs.
The only way to give law-abiding citizens the confidence to begin taking back public spaces from those ruining them—with litter, noise pollution, overaggressive panhandling, drug dealing, boorish behavior such as public urination, and more serious criminal acts—was to respond to their concerns. Police needed to make clear that the problems that the community identified as priorities would be addressed. This focus on the community was an all-important first step in turning New York City around.
Though there is a popular conception today of what “community policing” means, it was actually a concrete idea that my colleague Mark Moore and I described in great detail in a 1988 paper published as part of the Harvard Kennedy School's Executive Session on Policing. In short, the various forms of policing are best understood as integrated organizational strategies with seven essential elements: the function of police in society; how police departments are organized; how police manage demand for their services; how police interact with the external environment; how police measure success; the sources from which police obtain their legitimacy and authority; and the tactics that police adopt to perform their function. Community policing, properly understood, reflects a department's reorientation around public concerns with respect to each of those elements. Though some police department officials had been paying lip service to community policing for nearly a decade, it had never truly and fully been done until Bratton and his colleagues ushered in a new approach with respect to each of these elements. This process involved considerable trial and error.
The new approach broadened the main function of earlier policing—law enforcement and response to crimes after they are committed—to include crime prevention, order maintenance, and fear reduction. Instead of just reacting, policing in 1990s New York started to pursue crime prevention, partly by recognizing the relationship between disorder and crime. As Bratton often acknowledged, the idea that cops could and should prevent crime and disorder could be traced back to the father of British policing, Sir Robert Peel, whose nine principles of policing, promulgated in 1829, opened with that preventive role. When Bratton arrived in New York, police were still being told that they couldn't do anything to deter crime. But experience told him that wasn't true: “I could do something about crime,” he said. “I could do something about disorder; and it was key to do both.”
Enlisting the public in this battle was a key aspect of Bratton's plan to turn New York City's crime crisis around. As he saw it, police had to work with everyone with skin in the game. The broader and deeper the partnerships the police forge with community members, the stronger the resulting trust, which will be crucial in times of stress, such as when police make inevitable mistakes. As chief of the transit police, Bratton ensured that the department assumed responsibility for reducing the then-endemic crime and disorder in the subways and that it made its efforts as visible as possible, in order to make riders feel more secure. One example: transit cops began regularly to board trains and address any issues they came across—such as a homeless person sleeping on a row of seats—and announcements of an inspection would be made on the train's public-address systems, so that riders knew that it was happening.
Another example: the department launched new anti-fare-evasion efforts, which included the use of “bust buses”—hollowed-out transit-authority buses deployed as mobile arrest-processing centers. This signaled to the public that the transit police were doing something about fare-beaters, and it also cut down on the overtime logged by arresting officers, who no longer needed to go all the way downtown to do their bookings.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority did its part to promote the change, via clever subway ads. Bratton remembers “a wonderful cover photograph done in black, white, and blue fogged images, which was used on posters that were put up in the subway to advertise Transit Police efforts, to say ‘we're here, we're working.' ”
Responding to the subway disorder had early and unexpected benefits. Transit police found that one out of every seven fare-evaders was wanted on a warrant, while one out of 21 was carrying a weapon. Cops called it the “Cracker Jack box” effect. Kids would buy a box of the caramel-covered popcorn snack for the toy inside as much as for the popcorn itself; when it came to enforcing laws against fare evasion, the “toy”—the thing that made the effort even more worthwhile, for both the cops and the public—was the weapon or wanted criminal taken off the street. By making what turned out to be important arrests through the enforcement of what was (and is still today) regarded as a minor offense, transit cops began seeing their role as preventing more serious crime through order maintenance; previously, the sense among the rank and file was that they were there primarily to protect the city's revenue stream.
Reorienting police also required fundamental changes to how they were managed and organized. Prior to the early 1990s, police departments were highly centralized, both geographically and structurally. Now, geographic decentralization and discretion for lower-level management and beat cops were promoted. Limiting discretion had its uses—it lessened opportunities for officers to engage in corruption, for instance. But beat cops and lower-level supervisors were closer to the neighborhoods that they policed and had greater insight into their problems than did their departments' executive officers. Empowering them made the police more responsive to the public—and more effective at fighting crime.
Decentralization encouraged less reliance on 911 and more direct contact with precinct officers, allowing police to manage demand for their services more directly. One of the most effective ways of creating such interaction is through police/community meetings, where citizens can air their concerns. But foot patrols are perhaps even more important. Foot patrols place officers within arm's reach of the community, looping them into disputes and allowing them to field requests for service on the spot, with no middleman. In addition to making cops more accessible, foot patrols help restore the sense of security that citizens need in order to do their part to enforce community norms, knowing that backup is not far away.
“While working with the community as a partner, police sometimes have to take unpopular, tough stances.”
Community policing, as we understood it, called for an unprecedented level of interaction between police and the external environment—which included the public as well as the private sector. When it came to giving the community a voice in identifying and dealing with problems in the subway, the MTA used focus groups to learn what subway riders thought about the system. The results enabled transit police to understand public frustrations. Abundant research on community concerns taught Bratton that disorder, unlike major crime, was something people experienced every day, viscerally and personally. If robberies declined, people might not feel the effect immediately; but if fare-evaders and aggressive beggars disappeared and subway stations were cleaner and brighter, people using the subway would feel safer. Not only did focus groups give police a better idea of the public's priorities; they also proved useful in getting a sense of whether their efforts were alleviating the public's fears about crime and disorder. Using these sorts of data to measure success is another example of how policing in 1990s New York bucked the old standard.
The NYPD also worked with the private and nonprofit sectors on initiatives to restore public order. For example, the department partnered with local business-improvement districts to identify areas of New York that needed cleaning, better lighting, and other services.
While working with the community as a partner, police sometimes have to take unpopular, tough stances. It's true that disorder drives public fear—and that members of minority groups themselves wanted relief from it—but addressing it meaningfully was not easy, given racial tensions in New York City during the late 1980s and 1990s. Because crime in New York wasn't spread equally throughout the city's five boroughs, the disproportionate impact of enforcement efforts put significant strain on the department's relationship with some members of New York's black and Latino communities. Much of the crime—and, by extension, the law enforcement—was concentrated in these areas. Yet the city's extraordinary crime problem demanded a strong police response. “It had to be done,” Bratton says. “The police had to be more assertive.” (The assertiveness of Broken Windows misdemeanor enforcement, however, does not equate with “zero tolerance” policies and high-arrest strategies, as is sometimes alleged; done correctly, order-maintenance policing does not rely on such practices.) The resolve paid off: in the years following, major (and minor) crime declined enough to save countless lives, reduce public fear, and make the city's meanest streets walkable again—and the greatest drops citywide occurred in heavily minority neighborhoods.
In a city with, as Bratton puts it, “something like 275 recognized neighborhoods, all with different priorities and problems that changed from time to time,” the NYPD also had to be adaptive. No two expressions of community policing will be identical across locations and communities—whether in New York or any other city. Changes in the characteristics of one element of the strategy require complementary adjustments in others: for example, the development and use of more aggressive tactics to deal with particular crime problems requires that police involve citizens even more closely to maintain their consent and support, because part of the paradigm shift involved a recognition that the police derive their legitimacy and authority from the public they serve. Likewise, a move toward decentralization requires administrative refinements: those gaining new authority on the ground will need additional training and accountability measures to handle their expected use of discretion in problem-solving, while managers will have to develop new skills for supervising their officers' wider-ranging activities. For community policing to work, ongoing and continual adjustment of its various elements is required; it is not set in stone.
Police forces have many tactical options at their disposal. For the NYPD, perhaps one of the most important tactics was the use of data to inform police in deploying their resources, allowing them to develop solutions to specific problems. Bratton saw CompStat—the computer-based system allowing police to record and analyze crime patterns and enforcement activity—as the ultimate blend of data and accountability. Making crime data available in nearly real time helped the police track their progress and measure success. Giving power away also required ensuring that it was being used appropriately. Using data to track crime and enforcement activity made it possible to hold precinct commanders accountable by showing clearly whether their approaches to crime in their jurisdictions were effective. CompStat enabled the police to prioritize high-crime areas and target the types of offenses that community members were most concerned about.
One reason such initiatives were so effective in reducing crime was that they reflected an understanding of the critical link between crime and disorder. That connection was stronger than most thought, as my colleague William Souza and I documented in a 2001 report for the Manhattan Institute. It found that, on average, every misdemeanor arrest in a given precinct was associated with 0.036 fewer violent crimes. Order maintenance serves effectively as a tactic for overall crime reduction, partly because of the overlap between violent and nonviolent offenders.
Unfortunately, some New Yorkers seem to be noticing a regression toward the sorts of public disorder that characterized the city decades ago. That perception has followed an official push on the part of some city leaders to roll back police authority to deal with such public-order offenses as fare evasion and public urination. The push reflects a misunderstanding of what true community policing is. New Yorkers who don't wish to see the city's gains eroded only need look to the transformation that its police were responsible for bringing about in the early 1990s—one that set an example for cities and police around the country. The lessons learned then remain applicable today; but applying them properly will require recognition that the law-enforcement model should give way to real community policing
Jackson, Miss., Turns to Innovative Program to Lower Its Gun Deaths
Mississippi's capital city is becoming a petri dish for an experiment designed to stop an epidemic of gun violence that claimed 84 lives in 2018 and took 16 less than two months into 2019.
by Justin Vicory
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi's capital city is becoming a petri dish for an experiment designed to stop an epidemic of gun violence that claimed 84 lives in 2018 and took 16 less than two months into 2019.
If successful, it could serve as a model throughout the South and perhaps the nation.
Uproar over the Jan. 13 shooting death of a pastor as he was unlocking the doors to his sanctuary for Sunday services elicited the usual calls for gun control in a state that touts its open carry laws.
But approaching the issue of gun violence from a Second Amendment perspective has been ineffective.
Another approach is needed, said Howard Henderson, a professor at Texas Southern University, and the director of The Center for Justice Research, which looks at gun violence from a public health perspective.
Henderson became interested in Jackson after reading stories in the Clarion Ledger, Mississippi's statewide newspaper, about the rise in homicides and what the city was doing to curb the violence.
He and many medical professionals, such as the American Medical Association, are beginning to approach gun violence from a public health perspective, one that requires a comprehensive public health response and solution. It begins with data-gathering and research to understand the cause and effect of gun violence on the community, similar to a scientist studying an infectious disease to prevent it from spreading.
“To prevent something from occurring, you need to have the facts, that's pretty much what preventative medicine does; it minimizes trauma,” Henderson said. “When you think of it from a public health perspective, you want to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Well, what is gun violence but a virus, which traumatizes not just those involved with it directly, the shooter and the victim, but the community as well.”
Public health perspective
And Jackson could see itself on the forefront.
Backed by self-described radical Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Jackson area medical professionals like trauma surgeons plus professors and educators, church leaders, police, community activists and ex-offenders are sharing a seat at the table to find a way to mitigate the trauma.
“Just like any other health issue that we look at, it will take data collection and data sharing and cooperation among state agencies to address gun violence,” said Roy Mitchell, the executive director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.
Since its inception more than 20 years ago, the MHAP has been involved in major consumer health policies in the state.
“We deal with a lot of data and analysis, and I haven't seen anything related to gun violence — which, make no mistake, is a public health issue,” Mitchell said.
Matt Kutcher, a trauma surgeon at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, one of two Level 1 trauma centers in the state, sees hundreds of trauma patients a year, many of them suffering from gunshot wounds.
“We see people at their worst. Gunshot victims and their families. Many times there's nothing we can do. I think that for many of us, it leaves us unsettled. It's our job to help people, and when we're not able to do that, it makes you wonder what else can be done,” he said.
“I believe there are a number of things we can do,” Kutcher continued.
“I'm not arguing about taking away anybody's rights to own a gun, but about ways we can do a better job as medical professionals to prevent what can be prevented, such as accidental shooting deaths.
“We tell diabetic patients what socks to wear. It's all based on research and data, and what we know will help the patient. Why can't we do that for gun injuries?” he asked.
Jackson: ‘The capital of Southern violence'
Jackson's 84 homicides in 2018 was the highest in more than 20 years and an almost 24 percent increase over the previous year. Almost all those slayings — 96 percent — were shooting deaths.
Jackson was the only city in the region to see such a homicide rate increase, ultimately ranking it as one of the deadliest cities, not just in the South but also in the nation, based on population. Memphis, the only other Southern city to register an increase, saw homicides rise 5 percent — from 176 slayings in 2017 to 184 in 2018. For Memphis, 2016 was the deadliest year recorded in the city in the last two decades with 228 homicides.
Not surprisingly in the gun rights South, discussion of gun control — even after a pastor's shooting death — is mired in entrenched political viewpoints.
The Rev. Anthony Longino, the 61-year-old pastor of New Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, arose from bed on that Jan. 16 morning, put on his Sunday best and drove his Dodge Ram pickup to his Jackson church.
Many residents call New Bethany a beacon of hope in a troubled neighborhood, an area split nearly equally between abandoned, dilapidated structures and homes with barred windows and doors.
At least three Jackson youth approached the pastor that morning as he attempted to unlock the padlocked front doors. They demanded money and Longino's truck before gunning him down. Longino bled out on the walkway.
The Jackson pastor's death sent shockwaves through a community that had seemed desensitized to an all-too-common reality in the capital city, gun violence deaths.
The state's governor, Phil Bryant, criticized city leaders in a tweet.
“It is time for our leaders in the Capital City to act. I will join them to stop this violence together or will do so as Governor on my own. This must end,” Bryant said.
Mayor Lumumba held a news conference to discuss his administration's approach to crime moving forward. He has resisted a purely law-and-order response that puts the solution in the hands of police alone. Instead, he has asked the community to get more involved. He stood beside his sister, Rukia Lumumba, when she introduced a program tailor-made for Jackson, one that has seen success in larger cities by confronting violent crime in the neighborhoods where it occurs the most.
Credible messenger program relies on locals
Terun Moore was paroled on Oct. 12, 2017, after serving 19 years in prison, including time served before his trial. He was sentenced to mandatory life without parole, the only alternative to the death penalty for a capital murder conviction in Mississippi. However, because the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 ruled such sentences for defendants 17 or younger were unconstitutional, a new trial was ordered, and Moore, who was 17 when the crime occurred, was released on parole.
Now, Moore says he is committed to turning his life around, helping others and stepping in to assist the Jackson Police Department in neighborhoods where residents are suspicious of the police and less willing to cooperate.
“We don't have those relationships with the police, so people in those neighborhoods are going to trust us. We can let them know we understand where they are coming from. We can't reach everybody …” Moore said, his voice trailing off.
“We can't reach everybody, true, but if you reach just one, you've made a difference,” said Benny Ivey, a former area gang leader, completing Moore's sentence.
Moore, Ivey and Valencia Robinson are led in the violence prevention effort by Rukia Lumumba, who returned to the city she grew up in after learning the ins and outs of the credible messenger and violence interruption programs in New York City, where the program and similar offshoots started.
The goal is to spread the program in neighborhoods that need it so that those who know when there's a potential for violence can be enlisted to reach out to messengers and other program officials to step in and “interrupt” the cycle of violence.
“We want someone that's experienced and similar in experience to those they are mentoring. Similar to any health crisis issue, such as addiction, you want to have people who have gone through it and so can guide them through it,” Lumumba said.
Stabilizing people so that violence does not return is also a goal. Helping others navigate necessary conversations and getting them essential resources to gain the tools that can resolve rage is equally important, she said.
At the heart of violence, Lumumba said, is unacknowledged anger at an inability to provide for basic needs, financial hardship and a lack of conflict-resolution skills.
“They [schools] are not teaching that anymore. We're teaching people how to take a test. We're not teaching our people social skills,” she said, adding that children in school cannot talk in class, in the hallway or the lunchroom.
At what point, she asks, do young people learn how to communicate with each other?
Lumumba gives an example of the scenarios that may cause people to live in a constant state of suppressed anger. She refers to a study on Mississippi's economic conditions by Operation Hope.
“It said, in Mississippi that you need to make $14.84 an hour in order to pay your rent. That's on average for anybody. So people are stressed, people are tired, and people are on edge,” she said, pointing out that most people in Jackson have to work two to three jobs to be able to afford a place to live.
Once the program is fully implemented, Lumumba predicts tangible results in one to two years. In the meantime, she reiterates that using the same methods as now will not work.
“If we replicate the same behavior it becomes part of our normal way of functioning. It's transmitted just like a disease is transmitted. It becomes part of our DNA,” she said. “We have to shift the way we deal with it. Locking people up has never proven to be the answer. It does not get to the root of our issue and it does not treat the epidemic in the proper way.”
‘This is an issue that we can't just outpolice'
These violence programs, developed at the grassroots level by community activists, scholars and medical professionals, have shown success at preventing interpersonal or domestic violent crime.
Similar to other cities, a majority of Jackson homicides — about 80 percent — are characterized as interpersonal or domestic, where an argument escalates to murder.
The John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center, along with help from the New York City Police Department and that state's department of health, studied the effect of a similar program called Cure Violence.
The 2017 study tracked gun injury data in New York City neighborhoods for 72 months before and after the program's implementation. It found gun injury rates fell by half while the matched comparison area experienced a 5 percent decline in the same time period.
The study also found the program didn't just reduce violent crime but helped change the attitudes of the community in a positive direction — a difference of about 30 percentage points between communities with a program and those without, according to a 2016 study in Baltimore.
“One of the keys is to look at neighborhoods with similar demographics, the same economics, and if they don't have the same rate or kind of violent crime, then to mimic those neighborhoods, find out, study, research what they do and do that,” said Juan Cloy of Jackson, an advocate for juvenile justice and criminal justice reform.
“This is an issue that we can't just outpolice,” said Cloy, who is running for sheriff of Hinds County, where Jackson is the county seat. “It took more than 20 years for me to realize that the police serve a very important role, but it's one that is reactionary. We're dealing with a virus and you need more than the police, you need medical professionals to prevent its spread.”
No national study of data
It goes back to gathering data. Jackson has started that process.
Last summer, Jackson officials approved an agreement between the Jackson Police Department and Jackson State University to study gun violence. The first step is to gather data, something the city has had problems with until recently, when it unveiled a new online data compendium that tracks crime all the way down to the street level. The premise is that by identifying where crime is most likely to occur, organizations can mobilize to prevent it from occurring.
Henderson, the Texas Southern professor, is tracking statistics himself in the absence of a national study that has languished for years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks firearm deaths nationwide. However, the agency has been hamstrung from conducting research into the underlying causes of gun violence since 1996. An amendment to the annual appropriations bill for the CDC stipulated that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the [agency] may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” It has appeared in every CDC spending bill thereafter, despite the agency's statistics that show firearm fatalities are continuing to increase.
Since 2005, firearm fatalities in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee have been about twice as high as the national average. Statistically, residents of these states are about twice as likely to die by firearm than other regions of the country, whether it's an accidental shooting, suicide or homicide.
As with the CDC, there is no funding devoted to examining gun violence and firearm deaths at the Mississippi Department of Health. Similarly, there's no educational campaign by the state's Department of Public Safety. Instead, a Google of firearms deaths on the DPS website brings up what you need to know about concealed carry and firearm permitting, or how to carry a firearm in Mississippi.
Think seat belts.
The federal government used a multipronged approach, one that involves technology, education and the law to reduce the public health risk of traffic deaths.
It first studied the issue from every angle, to see what human, environmental and vehicular conditions might be at play that would increase the likelihood of a traffic fatality.
A national educational campaign ensued to educate the public on what could be done to prevent traffic deaths, followed by legal efforts across the country to increase seat belt use. It worked. Seat belts save approximately 15,000 lives a year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Motor vehicle deaths have been on a steady decline. The opposite has occurred with firearm deaths.
In 2017, firearm deaths surpassed the number of traffic deaths in the country, by increasing to 12.2 per 100,000 residents, compared to a rate of 11.9 traffic deaths per 100,000 residents, according to the CDC.
In the effort to follow a similar approach on gun violence, a lot needs to be done, Henderson said. He is digging into statistics himself with the ultimate goal of creating a national database to educate the public on the causes and symptoms of gun violence.
Jackson could be the test case for the South.
“You can say Jackson is the capital of gun violence in the South,” Henderson said. “The problem has always been that nobody is stopping the bleeding. You've got to stop the bleeding at some point. Otherwise, it'll continue to be an epidemic in our country without a cure.”
This story was produced in conjunction with the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. It was also published by the Clarion Ledger.
It is part of the JJIE's project on Targeting Gun Violence. Support is provided by The Kendeda Fund. The JJIE is solely responsible for the content and maintains editorial independence.
Teamwork helps woman get to hospital during blizzard to deliver baby
The woman was transported by ambulance from Forest City, with trucks and snow plows driving ahead to clear a path
by Mary Pieper
FOREST CITY, Iowa — Getting a Forest City woman to MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City during Sunday's blizzard so she could give birth took an enormous group effort.
The woman was transported by ambulance from Forest City, with trucks and snow plows driving ahead to clear a path.
The trip to Mercy, which normally takes 45 minutes, took almost two and a half hours, according to driver Clair Olson with the Forest City Ambulance Service.
He said in his more than 15 years in ambulance service, Sunday's road conditions were the worst he's ever experienced.
Fortunately, "There were a lot of people involved to make it (the trip) as smooth as possible," he said.
In the end the woman made it to the hospital and gave birth to a healthy baby boy, so "it was a good outcome," Olson said. "That's our goal, that everyone turns out being healthy."
The mother of the baby declined a request for an interview from the Globe Gazette.
It all started early Sunday morning when Mike O'Rourke, superintendent of the Forest City Street Department, was sanding the streets and encountered a man trying to shovel out an SUV stuck in the middle of road.
He said the man told him, "You have to help me. My daughter is in labor."
O'Rourke and another street department employee were able to get the SUV unstuck, but O'Rourke said he told the driver, "There's no way you are going to Mason City in that vehicle," and advised him to call 911 for an ambulance.
O'Rourke continued to sand the streets. Fifteen minutes later, he got a call from Dale Rayhons, paramedic supervisor for the city of Forest City, telling him the pregnant woman's water just broke and asking him to provide a snowplow assist for the ambulance.
O'Rourke went south on U.S. Highway 69 in the lead, followed by the ambulance with a crew of four and the woman in labor inside, a Winnebago County road grader and the SUV driven by the patient's father.
The goal was to make it to the Miller turnoff, where Iowa Department of Transportation vehicles were to take over as the ambulance escort.
O'Rourke said his truck busted through so many drifts that his windshield wipers froze.
"It was awful," he said.
When the vehicles got close to the Miller turnoff, the ambulance got stuck in a drift. Marcus Jensen, the road grader driver, was able to pull it out.
Olson said Jake Bruncheson, the crew member who rode in the front passenger seat of the ambulance, acted as "a second set of eyes upfront" to watch for blowing snow.
EMT Mike Williams and paramedic Jason Sturgal were in back with the patient.
"There were times I could barely see out of the windshield," Olson said.
The return trip took even longer than the journey to Mason City.
Olson said the ambulance crew had to stop at the Clear Lake Station on the way home because the road conditions were still so bad.
"They (the firefighters) were very gracious," he said.
The crew would have had to spend the night there if a westbound DOT plow hadn't been available to drive in front of the ambulance on U.S. Highway 18, according to Olson.
They finally made it back to Forest City at 9:30 p.m.
Handcuffing of Cyclist by USC Public Safety Raises Questions about Tactics, Oversight, Accountability
The man was riding without a light on his bike but was cuffed, questioned about warrants, and told LAPD would be asked to come out and run a check on him
by Sahra Sulaiman
Although the University of Southern California (USC) recently instituted a certificate program aimed at improving law enforcement's ability to conduct community policing, its own public safety officers still appear to struggle on that front.
At least, depending on the community they're policing.
As Estuardo Mazariegos left his office just after 8 p.m. on February 11, he came upon a non-USC student handcuffed and seated on the curb next to his bike and other belongings.
Riding without a light. [Find the video here, if it doesn't appear below. According to the officer conducting the stop, the man apparently asked to sit down because of a bad back.]
Mazariegos was upset to see someone dehumanized this way; he had grown up experiencing similar treatment from law enforcement. Particularly galling was that this wasn't even an LAPD stop – it was conducted by a private force on public streets well over a mile from the north end of the campus.
In between Mazariegos' comments, some of the exchange between the officer and the detained man can be heard. At one point, the officer asks the cuffed cyclist about outstanding warrants. When he hears the man has a felony warrant that had been dismissed, the officer says they're going to call the Southwest division and have them send someone out to check.
Then, in response to something the man asked regarding his probation officer, the officer says that they will call probation and that the next time the man goes in to visit his parole officer, he'll have to let them know he got stopped for this violation.
Stops as Surveillance
The man's parole status, of course, has nothing to do with his bike light situation, which is what makes these stops so insidious.
Were the stop truly out of concern for the man's well-being or were he a USC student, he might have been handed a flyer and educated about safety. That has been the practice of USC's Department of Public Safety (DPS) with students openly flouting the biking ban in the USC Village, where citation is considered “a last resort." [USC's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the LAPD grants DPS officers the power to write parking, bike, and pedestrian citations and make arrests within the patrol area, when they have probable cause. They cannot cite motorists or initiate vehicle pursuits for any reason.]
Instead, this encounter reads more like a pretextual stop – a stop for a minor violation that gives an officer the chance to investigate an unrelated matter.
A common and highly questionable approach to crime suppression – LAPD's Metro division made the news recently for disproportionately targeting Black residents with pretextual stops in response to a surge in violent crime – it is also a tactic that generally backfires. The blatant criminalization of residents of color and potential for real abuses of authority tend to further erode trust between law enforcement and the community, making it that much more difficult for officers to enlist the community's help in addressing the crime they're trying to curb.
Yet, USC's public safety officers have a history of conducting precisely these kind of stops.
I first wrote in-depth about the harassment of area residents in 2013, after a friend who worked at a coffee shop serving USC students voiced frustration over being stopped and questioned while going back and forth to work every day.
Area youth had already considered getting hassled by either LAPD or DPS a “normal” part of growing up around the campus.
But in 2012, an on-campus shooting and an off-campus botched carjacking that left two graduate students dead changed USC's security calculus.
Where concern about spooking parents had previously meant that DPS kept a slightly lower profile, visibility now signaled vigilance.
Security fences were put up around the perimeter of the campus in early 2013 and it was made off-limits to non-students overnight.
Off campus, the introduction of more cameras, more license plate readers, stepped-up DPS patrols, and an additional 30 LAPD officers to conduct “high visibility” patrols and “more frequent parole checks on local gang members” made the community feel like it was being put under a microscope.
Black and brown youth now reported being stopped and forced to justify their presence in the neighborhood on the daily. Sometimes more than once a day. And sometimes it involved an unlawful search. It didn't matter whether they were on their way to school, sitting in their front yards, going to work, or running to the corner market for milk – they were fair game.
The LAPD's behavior was already troubling enough. With dash cameras having just been put in South L.A. cars to curb racial profiling , officers were doing what they could to get around turning the cameras on. Instead of getting out and conducting a full stop (instances in which they were expected to manually trigger the cameras), youth reported it was not unusual to have an officer pull up alongside them and harass them from inside the car. Officers almost always asked about parole status, I was told, and often aimed racist remarks at the youth or insulted their appearance.
But DPS, the youth maintained, treated them much worse.
Not endowed with all the powers of a full police force, DPS officers would assert their authority via intimidation. A 16-year-old reported he and his friend were handcuffed – a common complaint – to a neighbor's front gate and told that the officer didn't want to see them hanging out on their own street. A group of youth ranging from ages 14 to 16 spoke of a DPS officer who they say pulled up while they were chilling in their front yard, demanded to know what they were doing there, and said, “If the mailman can come up into your house to deliver the mail, then I can come that far up into your house.” Still other youth spoke of having their private parts jostled during invasive searches and of never being told why they were being detained. And if DPS decided to escalate the stop and call LAPD to run a warrant check or cite the youth, their detention could last for some time.
Of the approximately 50 male youth between ages 14 and 25 I interviewed over the course of a month and a half for that story, there was not a single one that had not had some kind of negative encounter with DPS, including kids who were hassled while waiting on campus for parents who worked there. And because DPS' sole purpose seemed to be to make them feel alienated in their own neighborhood, the harassment stung all that much more.
It sent the message that USC was not for people like them.
And it sent the message to USC students – who would see these stops as they walked or biked to and from campus – that their neighbors were a source of danger and not part of the USC community.
Or, at least, it sent that message to non-Black students.
Black students still reported having to dress in USC gear to avoid being harassed on and around campus.
At the time, DPS Chief John Thomas expressed great concern about the possibility that his officers were racially profiling youth in the community. He had grown up in South Central and had his own memories of being mistreated by law enforcement as a young man. And he remembered being discouraged from coming onto USC's campus to use the library by overzealous officers who made it clear they did not think he belonged there. He had joined the LAPD, and later DPS, in the hopes of changing the way his community was policed.
Aside from Chief Thomas, however, USC appeared to have little interest in hearing about the way the non-student population was being treated.
Questions about DPS' mandate or how their operations were being overseen were met with defensiveness or vague answers. I was even told by a white media relations representative that I needed to “broaden” my “circle” because he had never heard concerns about racial profiling raised in his “circle.” The only clear answer offered regarding policing was the outright rebuttal of an LAPD officer's claim that USC officials had visited Southwest and requested officers engage in what essentially amounted to profiling.
It took viral images of dozens of LAPD officers showing up in riot gear to shut down an end-of-the-year party thrown by Black students a few weeks later to get USC to engage more meaningfully on this issue. But even then, they only did so in regard to the students' claims.
Who Is Watching the Watchers?
Since that time, USC has committed to pursuing diversity and inclusion more broadly, including the creation of a Community Advisory Board (CAB) in 2016.
The purpose of the CAB, according to the Provost's office , was to “assess campus safety and profiling issues” and ensure that DPS held to both its plan to use California's Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) of 2015 as a “guide to its practices in community policing” and its promise to “voluntarily to comply with measures that address race and identity.”
Well-meaning as the launch of that effort may have been, it appears there has been little to show for all the fanfare.
For one, although Thomas had welcomed the formation of the CAB, they have only met with him twice (that he recalls) in the intervening years, leaving him to assume that there are no major issues with how the department is operating.
Even if the CAB were to meet regularly, it isn't clear that they would be of much assistance.
The two “community” members on it are involved in real estate and were chosen by the Provost. Neither are regularly on the ground or in contact with youth in the area. Which is not to say they couldn't have residents' best interests at heart – Danny Bakewell, Jr. (also Executive Editor of The L.A. Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times ) has a long history of fighting for civil rights. But the twitter feed of South Pasadena's Mario Marrufo raises questions about why such an ardent fan of voices that peddle negative stereotypes about the Black community, and communities of color more generally, might be tapped to monitor discrimination.
It also is not clear what information the CAB would rely on to assess DPS' performance. The link on this outdated page to “Bias Reporting” – the only reference I could find to possible bias data – just takes you to an empty web page.
And while USC won't have to be in formal compliance with RIPA until 2023, it doesn't appear to have put in place any of the infrastructure necessary to properly capture, track, or assess that data to approach the voluntary compliance it aspires to in the meanwhile.
RIPA requires that officers collect data on the perceived race or ethnicity, gender, and approximate age of the person stopped, as well as other data, including the reason for the stop, whether a search was conducted, and the results of any such search.
It's a highly imperfect approach – relying on self-reported data and offering little in the way of information about how a stop was actually conducted or the power dynamics at play.
Knowing the race and gender of the person stopped, for example, would not tell you how they felt about being cuffed just for trying to get home. Or what kind of panic they might have experienced at the idea that, regardless of whether they had done anything wrong, the LAPD could be summoned or their parole impacted.
The data also wouldn't tell you whether the stop was truly justified. And because it is self-reported, it gives officers the incentive to leave out crucial information that might point to misconduct.
But even voluntary compliance with RIPA would at least provide USC a place from which to begin to oversee DPS.
One could look at the frequency with which cyclists are stopped for infractions like missing bike lights – something youth and men of color complain is regularly used by law enforcement to justify an unlawful stop and search – as a percentage of all stops, for example. Any patterns discerned in the logs could offer entry points for a deeper look into how the community is being engaged.
Assuming USC tightened up its present system for tracking stops, that is.
According to Chief Thomas, the best source of stop data is via call logs – the record made when officers first call dispatch and offer their location, a description of the person being stopped, and any other relevant information. Officers often fill out an interview card during the stop, as well, he said, although these are not always turned in at the end of a shift, and therefore offer a less complete record of the engagement.
Also of note is what appears to be the absence of any kind of mechanism by which even the most obvious breaks with policy are flagged.
Chief Thomas was very troubled to learn, for example, that DPS officers were spotted with four Black youth up against a fence at Expo/Crenshaw back on November 20. If the stop was called in that night, no investigation was triggered into why half a dozen cars were posted up so far outside DPS' jurisdiction or how they got there, given that DPS is both prohibited from initiating pursuits and unable to safely conduct pursuits (their cars are not equipped with red and blue lights).
And because the chief hadn't seen my November tweets about the incident, nothing in the incident log from that evening suggests the young men stopped were involved in any of the reported crimes that evening, and none of the youth who were stopped filed a complaint, it's quite possible that it might have gone completely unnoticed if I hadn't called.
Which brings us to the crux of what is wrong with USC's passive approach to oversight and accountability: it banks on the community's silence.
Being a Good Neighbor Requires More than Good Intentions
Although profiling complaints like the one I made regarding the cyclist are immediately kicked up to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) for independent investigation, the burden still lies with those who are harassed or otherwise mistreated to initiate that process.
That requires that residents know who to complain to about DPS' actions or how.
And few are likely to complain, anyways, as those profiled are often young, fear retaliation, assume nothing will come of it, and/or are so accustomed to being stopped and harassed that they view it as “normal.” [DPS does have a link to an online complaint form people can use on their “feedback” page and a way to report anonymously.]
And open as Chief Thomas is to talking to concerned community members about profiling – even giving them his own cellphone number to call should they encounter trouble with his officers – he is still part of an agency and institution that prioritizes its students over the larger community. If I – a reporter and an alum – can't get USC's OED to return my call, why would an area resident ever expect to be heard?
USC at least has the good fortune of having an experienced and candid chief in place who knows the community, cares about community relations, and understands that occasional implicit bias trainings – while valuable – aren't a substitute for lived experiences. He knows the unlearning of biases requires active practice, a better understanding of the history of the community and structural injustices, and more investment in opportunities for officers to get to know residents as people (e.g. via foot patrols).
But unless the university is willing to put the level of resources into building trust with the community that it has poured into beefing up its surveillance capabilities, things are unlikely to change much in that regard.
And given that USC's footprint has only continued to grow, unless it is willing to make a real investment in the infrastructure necessary to address accountability, things are only likely to get worse.
The university already boasts one of the largest campus forces in the country with over 300 employees, approximately 120 of whom are armed. It now sends new recruits through the police academy. And in order to be better able to respond to sexual assault cases and active shooters, it successfully lobbied for the modification of the California penal code in 2016 to allow qualified DPS officers to be deputized or appointed as a reserve deputy or peace officer (once the updated MOU with the LAPD is finalized). Chief Thomas even mentioned the potential for officers to be equipped with tasers and body cameras at some point down the line.
But officers appear to be aware they are no more likely to be monitored and held accountable for their actions than they were when I first complained about the treatment of youth of color six years ago. And judging by the handcuffs placed on the cyclist, they still view the non-student population as a threat.
Chief Thomas agreed this was troubling, but said he was still grateful for the call because of the investigations it would set in motion. Not just into the incident itself, he said, but also the department's current policies and practices. Sometimes, he said, “the only way that [the system] gets better, more accountable, and more transparent – I hate to say it – is if it's made to.”
He also acknowledged addressing accountability won't be easy – the gap between what was relayed to dispatch and written up on the interview card and what was seen in the video of the handcuffed cyclist underscored the difficulty in monitoring profiling. But he was committed to continuing to push for the kinds of changes in the culture of policing that lead to these kinds of engagements, he said. And he hoped the community could be recruited to help with that process.
“I do want to talk to members of the community,” he said. “I do want to know how they see us. I do want them to know we have ways to hold people accountable… And I do want community members being involved in some of the trainings.”
As far as the specific incident involving the cyclist, he said, he would have to wait for the Equity and Diversity office to conclude their investigation before he could begin his own. But he reiterated that he remained committed to helping USC be a good neighbor and ensuring his officers acted constitutionally and treated all University Park residents with the same courtesy and respect.
“I truly believe in accountability,” he said.
Cleveland Public Safety holds recruiting event at beauty salon
CLEVELAND — Cleveland police are looking to hire 250 new officers, and to help reach that goal, they joined fire and EMS officials, who are also making a push for new recruits, at a beauty salon last month.
There was a full house at Uniek Kreations on Saturday, Feb. 16 for the “Beauty, Badges and Bonding” event hosted by Cleveland Public Safety Recruitment. They have run similar events at rec centers and at the station, but finding a place where folks feel at home is what Sergeant Charmin Leon says is key.
“The beauty shops, hair salons and nail salons are places where the communities converge,” Leon said.
Leon says there's plenty of people in Cleveland who are interested in becoming officers, firefighters and EMTs, but they don't always pursue that interest.
“We're coming in and listening to the community's concerns about police and the community, firefighters and EMT's - just have an open discussion,” Leon said.
Leon is hoping this event, and going directly to the source, will drive up recruit numbers.
Cleveland police say they'll set up shop again soon in hopes of keeping the conversation going.
Public Safety: Yuba City schools prepare for the worst
Neighborhood speed enforcement to cover nine streets in March
by Rachel Rosenbaum
For the past four weeks, the Yuba City Police Department has been hosting active shooter trainings for staff at each Yuba City Unified School District school.
The presentation started with a recorded phone call from the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. School staff took in an hour-long Powerpoint presentation, followed up by 30 minutes of running through a number of scenarios illustrating responses and situational awareness.
This is the first year the department has conducted this training at each YCUSD school. Eight officers used airsoft or Nerf guns, Lt. Jim Runyen said, and used curriculum from on-the-job experience as well as from the ALICE Training Institute (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate). The presentation and scenarios took place after school hours.
“We know there's some apprehension going into this because of the sensitive topic, but we've found that most come out of it with a positive attitude and understanding that you have to do something in an active shooter situation,” Runyen said Friday. “Obviously a priority for our police department and any parent is to keep our kids safe.”
Runyen said the choice to use a recording from the Columbine mass shooting nearly 20 years ago was to show how long school shootings have been an issue in the U.S.
“It's taken us that long to finally accept that this is not going away,” Runyen said. “These incidents are not just at schools nowadays, and awareness is something you need to carry with you in your daily lives.”
In the 50 years before the 1966 University of Texas shooting, there were just 25 public mass shootings in which four or more people were killed, according to the Washington Post. Since then, the number has risen dramatically with many of the deadliest occurring in recent years: 28 people, including the perpetrator, were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012; 12 were killed inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater in 2012; 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Florida in 2016; 59 people were killed at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas in 2017; and 17 were killed at a Florida high school last year.
The Washington Post reports that mass shootings are most common in offices and retail establishments like stores and restaurants, and that California has had more of these public mass shootings than any other state, with 25.
This month, the Yuba City Police Department will focus its speed prevention efforts on nine city streets, according to a department press release.
The Neighborhood Speed Awareness Program aims to reduce speed in neighborhoods with enforcement and education – violators cited under the program attend a class presented by the department, which can nullify a citation.
Attendance in the class requires participation during the two-hour session, where motorists will learn about braking distances, vehicle load dynamics, vehicle versus bicycle/pedestrian injuries and collision prevention. Upon completion of the class, the citation is nullified.
Drivers can choose to attend court or handle the citation traditionally, though the program provides an economical alternative for drivers.
For the month of March, officers will be focusing enforcement efforts on the following streets: Sutter Street, Teegarden Avenue, Northgate Drive, Hooper Road, Teesdale Road, Park Avenue, Railroad Avenue, Tharp Road and Spirit Way.
Public art slated for new public safety policy
by MIKE DONAHEY
“Echo” In West End Park.
“Drills” at Marshalltown High School.
Those are two of the more prominent pieces of public art the Marshalltown Public Art Committee (MPAC) and other supporters have successfully installed.
Their next opportunity is to place public art in the new, joint Marshalltown Police Department/Fire Department facility under construction in the 900 block of South Second Street, where occupancy is expected in June.
Councilors discussed the matter at Monday's council meeting, voting 6-1 to begin the process of selecting an artist with assistance from MPAC and others.
Earlier in the meeting, Marshall County Arts and Cultural Alliance Director Amber Danielson recommended they spend $55,000 budgeted from taxpayer funds earmarked for the facility.
Danielson recited a host of reasons why the council should spend that money.
“Art strengthens our economy, drives tourism and sparks creativity,” Danielson said. “It connects people of all ages and ethnicities.”
The subject of public art at the new facility is not new.
At three council meetings last year, the council discussed spending $55,000 on art, according to a memo by City Administrator Jessica Kinser to council.
She said the money for the project is available.
“Now that we know where we are at (with MPD/FD budget currently at $1.3 million available), we are requesting $50,000 for a budget to advertise in a call to artists,” Kinser's memo said.
“The remaining $5,000 would be utilized for stipends to the potential artists as well as site preparation items, which could vary depending upon an installation inside or outside. Like with Echo and Drills, we could utilize MPAC along with no more than three councilors and staff from police and fire. A selection process could take up to four months, which means nothing would be in place when the building opens. Authorizing this budget now would allow the process to start.”
Kinser said the city has a history of supports art and cultural initiatives.
Recent crimes prompt La Salle University to create public safety action plan
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It didn't take long to find students at LaSalle University who have impacted by recent crimes near campus.
"It being Philadelphia and it being a city, you just have to take in that into account and the risk that something could happen at any point and time," said LaSalle student Luke Fey.
"I think that there is an issue, I should not have to be looking around my back and just hoping that no one is going to come behind me and hurt me take anything from me," said student Nicole Vicci.
While some admit they are concerned about safety, others tell Action News despite recent reports of robberies, home invasions and thefts, they are not cornered about safety.
"So, I kind of go against everybody else, a lot of people are complaining about the crime and what not. I personally feel safe on campus," said student Makayla Brant.
Security concerns are not going unnoticed. In response to what the university calls an uptick in off-campus incidents involving students in recent weeks, it is creating a Public Safety Action Plan.
Immediate actions include, among other steps: adding a second Philadelphia officer. One will patrol on a bike the other in a car. The school is also adding another public safety vehicle to patrol in and around campus and offering motion sensor lighting to students off campus at no charge.
School leaders say safety is a top priority.
"Since all of this has happened and since our town hall, that we had with students, there is probably not an hour of the day that myself, our staff, and our president haven't been talking, planning, reaching out and working with the Philadelphia Police Department to find ways to make sure our students are having the best experience that they can here," said Dr. Dawn Soufleris, Vice President of Student Affairs.
Students are on on board with the new security upgrades and believe crimes will decrease.
"Definitely for people who live off campus because I live in a dorm and I am protected. You have to swipe to get in but for my friends off campus, I think it is better for them," said student Haley Sebert.
The university says it will continue to work hard to make sure students feel protected and also remind them that they are sometimes, their best defense against crime.
"Always go with a buddy. Ear buds are probably the one thing that makes us crazy. This is the generation where you pop your ear buds in, and off you go. Take those out so you can be very aware of anything that is happening around you. If you are by yourself, call for someone, our escort service, call a friend," said Dr. Soufleris.
Drone Training For Public Safety
by Jayne Ann Bugda
(WBRE/WYOU-TV) -- Unmanned aerial systems or drones as you may know them as are becoming more popular these days.
So much so that public safety departments are using them for emergencies instead of sending people into potentially dangerous situations. On Friday, the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Campus in Lehman, a company that provides drones and drone training showed off some of the systems you could see at a scene.
"I think it's an amazing tool for us. We've had thermal imaging cameras that can work on the ground but to put something up in the air and cover more ground it would be a great asset to not only our police department but the whole back mountain" Explained Harold Cain, Lehman Township Police Officer.
The six drones on display range from a $20 small basic one to a big drone worth $30,000.
Tiarzon brings community policing to Cactus
by John Key City
As the only female police chief in the Texas Panhandle and one of only a handful in the state, Cactus Police Department Chief Maribel Tiarzon is used to having to prove herself. As a patrol officer at the beginning of her career and later as an investigator in the diverse city of Cactus, Tiarzon had to overcome challenges from day one that her training had not really prepared her for.
"It was challenging at first with the different cultures, especially the Burmese, Sudanese, Somalis, and Guatemalans. I used to work by myself from 6pm to 6am. I was the only officer out in the city."
"I did have the backup of the Moore County Sheriff's Office, but they had the whole county to cover. In those days, we had a lot of domestic violence calls, and I would get to the home and tell the man to step outside, and he would say, 'No, you are a girl.'"
"I did get in a lot of struggles, and I was by myself. There were days when I thought maybe this isn't for me. My parents and husband would tell me, 'You really shouldn't be a police officer. You are a girl, and you are too small … that is not a job for you.' That always made me want to show them that I could do it. That was what kept me coming back every day."
She did keep going back, and after wrestling enough men to jail, they gradually came to understand that she was someone who had to be taken seriously.
"They knew that even though I was a female, I was going to take them to jail and that I was still going to put cuffs on them and still going to tell them what to do," she said.
Being the only police officer on duty at night made her use a form of "community policing" to try and keep conflict at a minimum.
"I would always try to be calm and respectful, because I was out there by myself. I would try to make friends. When I was patrolling the city, I would stop and introduce myself to people, because I thought 'if I get into a struggle, maybe this guy will help me.'"
Understanding bias and power in community policing
Police-community relationship often fail because the law enforcement officer is unaware of a fact the community constituency knows all too well
by Shaun Ward
Effective law enforcement leaders constantly find themselves searching for opportunities to improve police-community relationships. Although leaders develop and implement strategies to achieve this goal, it is a difficult task.
The primary reason strategies fail to improve the police-community relationship is that law enforcement officers may be unaware of a fact the community constituency knows all too well: both leaders and their officers always bring their tacit bias and power to every call for service.
An officer is often the only person on-scene to carry multiple lethal weapons. An officer has a certain bias based on his or her previous experiences. An officer has the legal authority to vastly change the lives of all persons on a service call. Thus, the on-scene position of power is definitely one-sided, of which the public can be angrily aware. However, there are strategies officers can deploy to vastly improve this dynamic and subsequently improve community policing.
STRATEGY 1: BUILD AN INTERNAL COMMUNITY
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) defines community policing by three components: relationships, organizational transformation and problem solving. Each component expresses the importance of building a community both internally and externally.
In order for community members to feel their police department cares about them and their communities, leaders should build and sustain an effective internal community first. This is accomplished through leaders involving their officers in every part of the decision-making process. Even though final decisions are made by the executives of an organization, involving officers enables them to feel connected to the overall mission of the organization and empowers them to be a stakeholder rather than an employee.
Police leader tip: When police officers accept leadership positions, their priority is their subordinates. If police officers are expected to serve their community, leaders should also serve their subordinates by embracing the practice of servant leadership.
STRATEGY 2: UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE CONNECT
The concept of positionality, which is supported by the reticular activating system of the brain, attempts to explain how humans, consciously or unconsciously, connect with people with whom they share commonalities and interests. Our reticular activating system plays the role of gatekeeper of the information that travels into our conscious mind and how we perceive sensory information every day.
Although police officers, like all humans, have biases based on their background, experiences and what interests them, they must not apply those biases during their decision-making process.
Police leader tip: In order for decisions to be made without bias, leaders must constantly remind officers to focus on the facts and circumstances before them and make decisions as a result of that information.
STRATEGY 3: RECOGNIZE POWER DYNAMICS
Sworn law enforcement officials have a certain degree of power and influence. It is essential for a sworn officer to understand a power dynamic always exists when he or she responds to a call for service. Knowing that, officers should not focus on exercising that authority as a tool, but rather use facts and circumstances to guide their use of power.
Police leader tip: Leaders may want to consider training strategies that encourage influence to be used proactively and not reactively. For example, letting a person know why they are stopped or why you are at their home encourages transparency. Although the officer has the authority to conduct the vehicle stop or be in someone's home, being transparent invites cooperation and can show the officer is not abusing their power, thus potentially improving both officer and civilian safety.
Effective community engagement strategies for law enforcement leaders:
About the Author
Shaun Ward, D. Mgt., is a law enforcement professional with over 15 years of strategic and leadership experience who received his Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership degree. Dr. Ward has contributed extensively as a program manager of community policing initiatives and professional development. He is dedicated to researching occupational health and safety, relational process, and employee well-being to produce evidence-based best practices that are meaningful to scholars, practitioners and communities at large. Connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shaunlward.
I-Team: Community Policing on a Musical Level
by Andy Mehalshick
Lizbeth Felix owns the "Biaggo" nightclub and shows everyone she can video of Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale and Officer Eric Hernandez playing music inside the club Sunday night. It all began with a call about an illegally parked vehicle outside the club on Broad Street. The chief says they ticketed the vehicle but.
"Rather than see someone get a $400 dollar tow bill we decided to go in to see if we could just locate the owner.." Chief Speziale said, the owner of the car came forward and moved it to a legal parking spot-- Speziale and Officer Hernandez decided to ease some of the tension inside the club. And took to the stage to entertain its mostly Hispanic patrons.
"It was only a parking ticket you know what I mean? So from such a simple situation, it could have been an inflammatory situation that looks like your picking on a certain segment of the community. We would do it for anybody else" Said the Chief.
Through an interpreter, Felix says it was just the right thing to do
"You have to embrace culture especially in a culturally diverse community" Noted Chief Speziale.
Ben Medina is a leader in the Hazleton Latino community. He believes this 5-minute jam session will go a long way in building a bridge between Latinos and the police.
"It's to break a wall between the Hispanic Community and the police because we are not criminals like a lot of people think and having him here so he can see for himself what we do here is awesome,” Said Ben Medina.
'So peaceful now': Community policing changing Hattiesburg's once-violent Dabbs Street
by Ellen Ciurczak
Christine Lane had gotten tired of the crime in her Dabbs Street neighborhood, especially after one day in October, when a police officer pursued a suspect through her yard.
"I had never seen it like that," she said. "Somebody had run into our yard.
"The police pulled a gun on my son. They pulled a gun on me. They accused my son of wrongdoing."
Lane said her son was wearing the same white T-shirt as the suspect and police were making sure they had the right man. She had to walk the officer through her house, with a gun at her back, to prove the suspect wasn't hiding inside.
The Dabbs Street neighborhood is a lot quieter these days, after Hattiesburg Police officials began "Operation Quality of Life" there. Police Chief Anthony Parker announced the initiative at a community meeting in October, following a murder and triple shooting in the neighborhood.
The program frees two patrol officers from each shift, around the clock, to roam areas in the city to reduce crime.
Take the Test: Is Albuquerque doing community policing and is it the answer?
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Coffee with a cop.
Junior police academies.
And cops shopping with kids.
For decades mayors and police chiefs have said these are all examples of community policing.
“It is not much. It is not directly addressing the things that cause the people to need the police in the first place,” said Arizona State University professor Michael Scott, who is considered one of the leading experts in community policing in the country. "
“The simple version of community policing that simply focused on the relationship between officers and the citizens that really died out in the 1980s,” Scott said.
So what is modern community policing and is Albuquerque doing it?
“It is a term that is often misused and misunderstood by politicians, “Scott said. “A strong version is being able to build a relationship with the community with a problem in mind and being able to work together to solve a problem and ultimately address crime.”
APD has launched several projects they have called community policing.
Such as making officers more visible and forcing them to talk to people.
Like Mandy Hopkins who has lived on the streets for the past five years. Officers found her sleeping on a downtown sidewalk and told her where she could find a bed and a meal.
“I like it when they give me attention,” she said. “As long as they don't….hurt me.”
APD also created a new position in the Police Department, when they hired former state police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo. They made her the chief's deputy chief of staff and put her in charge of all of APD's community policing efforts.
"Community policing is a relationship,” she said. “It is a relationship between the department, the community and it has to be built on trust and it is about solving problems and reducing crime. It's that simple.”
Other APD projects they have called community policing efforts include working with churches to create database of services they provide to the community that it has drug abuse counseling and meals for the homeless
So when an officer comes in contact with someone, their phone tells them there are social services nearby.
APD is equipping every officer with a cellphone. And neighborhood associations have the number if they need to talk to a cop.
So, instead of calling 911, the neighborhood block captain can call the local cop.
Security manager William Epps has called his cop dozens of times.
"Community policing works because they are visible. Not part of the time but all of the time,” said Epps who manages a building downtown near Civic Plaza.
Armijo agrees that everyone says they are doing community policing.
“It's this flag that we wave,” she said. “There is not one police department in the country. There not one administration that is not going to tell you that they are pro community policing.”
Scott says to know whether we have community policing in Albuquerque and it's reducing crime, all of us should ask ourselves these four questions:
- Do you know who your police officer is?
- Do you know how to get a meeting with one?
- Do you have confidence the cop knows how to help?
- Would you work with a cop to solve a problem?
"If the answer to all of that is yes that's a pretty good bet that you have good community policing and you have reasonably a strong version of it,” he said.
In January 2018 about 5 percent of APD's calls for service in the southwest area command came from officers who spotted a potential crime before anyone could call 911. A year later it was 50 percent.
When APD reached a settlement agreement with the department of justice in 2014 there were 15 community policing mandates the department had to meet.
So far, the department has met most of those mandates.
Armijo said APD is taking a step further than the mandates.
“It is not a bunch of check-boxes that you do,” she said. “It is not operational plans it is something that is a sincere effort and it is that relationship between the community and the police department. What we are doing is about solving those problem that effect everyone and we do it together.”