Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
Local filmmaker creates documentary on community policing
by MACKENZIE HAWKINS
15 months ago, New Haven–based freelance writer and documentary filmmaker Steve Hamm set out to tell the story of policing in New Haven — a story of a transition from a police force reminiscent of the military to one that tries to build a strong relationship with its community.
Hamm's sixty-minute film, titled “Shift Change: The Future of Community Policing in New Haven,” will first premier this summer. In an interview with the News, Hamm said the film aims to start a conversation about community policing — a strategy that aims to foster relationships between law enforcement officers and residents — in the Elm City. For the film, he interviewed members of the New Haven Police Department, city leaders, academics and community activists in order to explain what community policing is, provide firsthand accounts of what it looks like in practice and evaluate its future as a viable method of law enforcement.
“I knew that a lot of people who think they know what community policing is or have a strong opinion about policing in New Haven … [but] I felt that perhaps that wasn't actually true,” Hamm said.
Hamm centered his documentary around a case study on community policing in Fair Haven. He accompanied officers as they patrolled New Haven's most populous neighborhood and observed their interactions with residents. Hamm chose Fair Haven because it has the highest proportion of Hispanic residents. As a result, the Fair Haven population has a heightened difficulty with the police due to language barriers and fears about immigration enforcement.
Hamm said that the state of community policing in New Haven and beyond has improved dramatically in the past decades. In the 1960s, he said, law enforcement in America became “militaristic, occupational and very adversarial.” In the city, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a group of officers — known among residents as the “beat down posse” — became notorious for randomly assaulting neighborhood youths.
Community policing emerged as an alternative strategy in the early 1990s throughout the U.S. Led by then-Chief Administrative Officer Douglas Rae, then-Alder and current Mayor Toni Harp and then-NHPD Police Chief Nicholas Pastore, New Haven was among the first cities to adopt the practice. Community policing, according to Hamm, has “waxed and waned” over the years — but returned in full force in 2011 when the city experienced an upsurge in crime and gang-related violence. That year, New Haven saw a decade-high homicide rate of 34 homicides and was named the “fourth most dangerous” city in the United States by Business Insider.
Central to the method's 2011 development was Project Longevity, an initiative which aims to reduce gang-related gun violence in three of Connecticut's major cities — New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport. The New Haven branch of Project Longevity, headed by retired NHPD Detective Stacy Spell, identifies gang members and encourages them to pursue positive lifestyles, such as by connecting residents with social services. Crime rates in the city have for the most part fallen every year since 2011.
“You'll see a significant drop in our crime — not just violent crime but quality of life crimes including robberies and burglary are down,” former NHPD Chief Anthony Campbell DIV '95 announced at a press conference in January. “When you walk around this city, you can feel the change.”
Today, community policing in the Elm City involves the NHPD's partnership with Project Longevity as well as internal department practices. Police officers are equipped with cell phones so that individual residents can contact them directly and, as of 2017, wear body cameras while on duty. All new officers now spend a significant portion of their first two years completing walking beats to interact and build relationships with people in their patrol areas, according to Hamm.
Throughout the filmmaking process, Hamm said, he encountered people with “very harsh attitudes” about community policing on all sides and attempted to include all perspectives on the history and current climate of law enforcement in the Elm City. He hopes that his documentary will serve as an “invitation to have a deeper discussion” about community policing — not just locally, but also elsewhere in the state.
“Shift Change” will premiere at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival on June 4 at 6:30 p.m.
APD touts results of community policing
by Brittany Costello
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Albuquerque officials believe community policing is helping fight crime.
'We want to break down the barrier being solely in our police vehicles or at a substation, we want to actually get out into the community and open that line of communication,' said Albuquerque Police Sergeant Brian Pitzer.
Officers are now holding briefings in plain sight, addressing concerns of residents.
'They give us information or concerns and you know that really helps us get ground level information from the source,' said Pitzer.
Sunday, their efforts paid off. Within 20 minutes of conducting high visibility patrols, they arrested repeat offenders, some with active violent felony warrants.
Rick Ballentine, who owns Red Hot Car Lot, said there's a need for more police in the area.
'Increased patrols would be very good,' Ballentine said.
Ballentine said he's experienced crime over the years. However, he said, lately, a more collaborative effort between APD and business owners is doing some good. He said, over the past six months, they've been meeting with officers regularly.
'It's slightly better than it was last year,' said Ballentine. 'It hit a low point last year. So its safer than it was last year if it keeps going, that will help.'
Meanwhile, APD says if people see them conducting briefings in their neighborhood, they are welcome to approach the officers and voice their concerns.
Austin Police Department Launches Riverside Togetherness Project
by Chelsey Trahan
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Austin Police Department launched a new program funded by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to make the Riverside neighborhood a safer place.
A review of crime in the area between 2013 and 2016 found that 4 percent of all crime in Austin happens in the 2 square mile area.
"Austin is the fifth-safest city when it comes to violent crime in cities with populations over 500,000. But I say often, depending on where you are in Austin, you may or may not feel like you are in that fifth-safest city because crime tends to cluster in certain parts of our community. This grant will allow us to address an area that has been a chronic problem for us in new and innovative ways,” said Police Chief Brian Manley.
The main goal of the project is to reduce crime, increase trust, build community, and position the neighborhood for revitalization. Through a variety of partners, the factors contributing to crime in the area will be examined and the data will drive different strategies to help combat the issue.
"One of the strategies we will deploy will be to focus on micro hot spots of crime and to engage in community policing and hot spot policing, so that we can target the officers in key areas that we know are more problematic than others," said David Spring with the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, a partner in the project.
The program is focused on community engagement to help drive their success. For more information, visit the Riverside Togetherness Project website.
Martinsburg police report continued decline in violent crime
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Violent crime declined in Martinsburg for a third consecutive year, with no homicides in 2018 and fewer robberies and burglaries, the city's police department announced last week.
The department also handled fewer reported cases of sexual assault and abuse and less crime involving weapons.
The lone increase in reported criminal incidents was motor vehicle theft, which increased by four, to 39, last year.
Among other incidents, the number of reported motor vehicle crashes increased by about 10 percent, jumping from 609 in 2017 to 672 in 2018.
Last year, city officers made 7,903 traffic stops, issued 8,092 citations and written warnings and made 55 arrests on charges of driving under the influence.
Though there were fewer reported violent crimes last year, the department still made about 11 percent more adult arrests (2,192) that resulted in a similar increase in criminal charges (3,349).
Juvenile arrests, meanwhile, dropped by about 26 percent and juvenile petitions dropped by 8 percent, according to the department.
In total, the department handled 32,157 calls for service in 2018. That was about 2,400 fewer calls than in 2017, but more than 2015 (27,631) and 2016 (26,566).
Among the largest drops in reported violent crimes were a 35 percent decrease in the number of crimes involving weapons, which dropped from 74 in 2017 to 48 last year. There were 60 in 2016 and 66 in 2015.
Prostitution crimes also dropped by more than 30 percent, with the number of reported incidents declining from 65 in 2017 to 45 last year, according to department figures.
Though not as sharp of a decrease, reported robberies and burglaries declined for a fourth consecutive year, according to the report.
Since 2015, burglaries have declined by more than half, dropping from 336 four years ago to 166 in 2018, according to the department.
The decrease in robberies was greater, decreasing from 40 in 2015 to 18 last year, according to the annual report.
Martinsburg Police Department Chief Maury Richards praised the work of the department's officers in announcing the annual report findings last week.
“We have been on a mission to knock down and prevent crime,” Richards said. “Our community-policing partnerships (make) every neighborhood in our city (a) safer place to live and a better place to raise families.”
Among other crime categories, the department also highlighted 7 percent declines in sexual assaults and abuse and in assaults and batteries, and a 13 percent drop in shoplifting, with 460 incidents last year.
The department also notched 326 drug complaints, about 15 percent less than 2017 (385) and also less than in 2016 (414).
Annual figures were not provided for last year, but the department also noted last week that the city's Drug House Ordinance had been used to shut down 42 drug houses since 2016.
Among other activities in 2018, the department reported that it hired five new police officers, created the department's first honor guard and conducted 2,400 hours of foot and bicycle patrol in addition to the downtown unit.
The department currently has 36 patrol officers.
The department's full annual report is online at www.martinsburgpd.org/resources
Safety in small numbers | Jack Dilles, mayor's message
by Donald Fukui
Scotts Valley faces its share of unusual crimes. Police officers are proactive and never know exactly what they will encounter when they go out on patrol. In particular, the community was abuzz about the circumstances surrounding one arrest in 2018.
In that case, a young woman from Santa Barbara drove a car through Scotts Valley and was stopped by officers because the front and rear license plates did not match. It turned out that the vehicle had been stolen earlier that day in Santa Barbara. A search of the vehicle revealed stolen credit cards, other stolen property and a dead owl. The woman was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, fraudulent use of a credit card and possession of a deceased bird of prey. Scotts Valley takes crime seriously.
There is not much serious crime in Scotts Valley. In fact, theft has consistently dropped in the past five years; and arrests increased by 43% in 2018 because the police department was brought back up to full staffing. Overall, crime remained relatively consistent in the last five years.
The city has clearly prioritized public safety. While the city reduced the number of employees for all departments combined from 86 to 66 in the last 20 years because of budget constraints, the number of police personnel, 28, is the same as it was 20 years ago. Despite being known as “Cops Valley” the city actually has fewer officers patroling the streets on a per capita basis than most other communities.
Since it can be challenging to hire high quality police personnel, Police Chief Stephen Walpole instituted a program to hire qualified local residents. He has been very successful in this endeavor. Recently the city hired Scotts Valley High School graduates Meredith Roberts and Patrick Ahrens. These officers know the city well and are in a position to provide great community policing to the city's residents and businesses.
Scotts Valley is also protected by five sworn reserve officers, which is the largest reserve force in the Monterey Bay Area. They patrol the city for no pay on weekends and during special events such as the Fourth of July. In addition, the city has a cadre of community volunteers who support the department.
The police department places a high value on protecting our youth. The city employs both a school resource officer and a juvenile detective. The department also teaches Drug Abuse Resistance Education (“DARE”), a drug awareness campaign, to all fifth-grade students in local schools. Annually, the department recognizes Red Ribbon Week with its anti-drug message and Public Works helps out by placing red banners along Scotts Valley Drive. The department also supports a thriving Police Explorer program for youth.
Scotts Valley is the only city in the county which has a police lobby open 24 hours a day because only Scotts Valley provides its own dispatch center. The emergency dispatchers act as 911 call takers and also serve as records clerks. All dispatchers are well-trained and very familiar with the entire city, resulting in quick response times. In 2018, Scotts Valley officers arrived on the scene of each emergency incident at an average of only 2 minutes and 6 seconds.
While residents and business owners watch out for each other in this small town, they know they can depend upon police personnel to be there when they need them. And the local owls are safer, too.
(video on site)
Lyra McKee: Killing has led to 'palpable change' in community sentiment towards policing
The killing of journalist Lyra McKee has led to a "palpable change" in community sentiment in support of policing, a senior detective has said.
Ms McKee, 29, was shot while observing rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate in Northern Ireland on Thursday night.
Two teenage men, aged 18 and 19, have been arrested and are being held under the Terrorism Act.
On Saturday, Det Supt Jason Murphy, who is leading the investigation, urged people to come forward.
He said there was a sense that what had happened to Ms McKee had marked a "real sea change".
Det Supt Murphy also warned that he had a broader concern about a "new breed of terrorist coming through the ranks".
"And that is very worrying for me," he added.
"Yesterday, my officers were on the ground and we identified a palpable change in community sentiment, particularly the community sentiment towards policing," he added.
"Yesterday we realised that the vast majority of communities across the whole of Northern Ireland support policing and support police and they support the peace process.
"What we saw yesterday was the visible demonstration of that within the Creggan community. A community that has been very frightened for a long time and for a large part has been held to ransom by terrorist organisations that claims to represent them."
CCTV captured her final moments in the crowd and mobile phone footage showed the suspected gunman.
In the video, the masked attacker leans from behind cover and appears to fire shots towards police and onlookers.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said a gunman fired shots towards police officers at about 23:00 BST on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, political party Saoradh - a group which police say are closely aligned to the New IRA - sought to justify violence on the night.
They said Ms McKee was killed "accidentally" by a "volunteer" after the PSNI raided houses in Derry.
Who are the New IRA?
The New IRA was formed in 2012 after a number of dissident republican organisations said they were unifying under one leadership and is believed to be the largest dissident republican organisation.
Saoradh, which means liberation in Irish, is a political group and has the support of prisoners from the dissident group referred to as the New IRA in Maghaberry and Portlaoise prisons.
It was founded in 2016.
According to its constitution, Saoradh's objective is to "effect an end to Britain's illegal occupation of the six counties" and establish a 32-county Irish Socialist Republic.
The party has been highly critical of Sinn Féin in the past, with its chairman describing members as "false prophets who have been defeated and consumed by the very system they claim to oppose".
There has been widespread condemnation of the killing.
At a vigil in Derry on Friday, Ms McKee's partner, Sara Canning, described her as a "tireless advocate and activist" for the LGBT community .
Ms Canning said her partner's dreams had been "snuffed out by a single barbaric act" and she had been left without "the woman I was planning to grow old with".
"The senseless murder of Lyra McKee has left a family without a beloved daughter, a sister, an aunt and a great-aunt; so many friends without their confidante," added Ms Canning.
"We are all poorer for the loss of Lyra."
Secretary of State Karen Bradley made a private visit to Londonderry to sign the book of condolence for Ms McKee.
Ms McKee's killing came 21 years after the Good Friday peace agreement was signed in Northern Ireland.
The 1998 peace deal marked the end in the region of decades of violent conflict - known as the Troubles - involving republicans and loyalists during which about 3,600 people are estimated to have died.
The Good Friday Agreement was the result of intense negotiations involving the UK and Irish governments and Northern Ireland's political parties.
Figures from across the political divide, including Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and DUP leader Arlene Foster, were among the hundreds of people to attend the vigil.
"Lyra managed to get Mary Lou McDonald and Arlene Foster into Creggan [for the vigil] without any high security or barricades.
'Power of Lyra'
"Those politicians stood amongst us today and that really is the power of Lyra."
Other leading world figures united to condemn Ms McKee's killing.
Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar said Ms McKee "changed lives" as a journalist and an activist and would continue to do so.
"We stand with you as strong as your walls and for as long as they stand," he added.
"This was an attack not just on one citizen - it was an attack on all of us, our nation and our freedoms."
Former US President Bill Clinton said he was "heartbroken".
Irish President Michael D Higgins signed a condolence book at Belfast City Hall and said there was "outrage" in Ireland.
"The loss of a journalist at any time in any part of the world is an attack on truth itself," he said.
"The circumstances in which it happened - the firing on a police force that are seeking to defend the peace process - cannot be condoned by anybody."
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted that Ms McKee's killing was a "reminder of how fragile peace still is in Northern Ireland".
"We must all work to preserve the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement," he said.
Gavin Buckley: I've learned about policing from the Annapolis community
by Gavin Buckley
April 4 commemorates the 51st anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who was called “a drum major for peace.” He was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee.
Two months after he was killed, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. In the aftermath of these two killings, amidst civil unrest, the federal government took decisive action to ban the so-called “Saturday Night Special.”
And so it was after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated that the federal government moved swiftly to pass massive Civil Rights legislation.
In those days, many states, counties and municipalities pushed back against the federal government's civil rights agenda to address racial injustice and inequality. Today, I find the opposite is true. It is up to leadership in localities to push for the changes we want to see in our communities while leadership at the federal level is going backward.
As part of my administration's directive for One Annapolis, we are actively recruiting people onto boards and commissions, hosting outreach events, and looking at how opioids affect all communities. Many of these issues are problems nationally as well as locally.
We are working in all wards of the city.
We have taken that approach to our search for a new Annapolis police chief and therefore have been hosting community forums to understand what residents want to see in a new chief.
We have had three sessions so far. The first, with 108 residents in attendance, was at the Cook-Pinkney American Legion Post on Forest Drive. The second, with 51 people, was at the Eastport Fire Station on Bay Ridge Avenue. The third, with 53 people, took place Tuesday at the “Pip” Moyer Recreation Center on Hilltop Lane.
Each session attracted a diverse audience. The panel got good recommendations because there was variety in opinions from participants.
I imagine King would be disappointed to hear that, 56 years after he called for an end to police brutality in his Washington, D.C., “I Have a Dream” speech, the community asked at nearly all of the forums that our Annapolis chief be a leader in ensuring that all Annapolitans receive equitable treatment by the police.
Of course, everyone wants a chief who is experienced, has integrity, is committed to the city and is trustworthy.
But some of what the 200-plus residents of our neighborhoods have come out to say, so far, aligns with what I have been talking about in a new leader of the Annapolis Police Department.
They want a chief who is in the community, not just for “special events,” but who is committed to building a model of community policing that reflects a humanizing of the police force and not the militarization of it.
Alongside residents, I want a police chief who values connecting and coordinating with nonprofits and agencies around things like mental health. Participants said they wanted a chief who will actively recruit young people from within our schools and neighborhoods with an eye toward an individual temperament that leans more toward resident interaction, cooperation and relationship-building.
What I am most buoyed by is that these forums are bringing about an honest and open dialogue with residents. I am thankful that they have taken the time to come out and discuss this very important topic with me and members of the search committee.
We have one more session, at 7 p.m. Thursday, at Mt. Olive AME Church. I hope everyone comes so you don't miss out on this experience. I've continued to learn at each session. I'm sure residents will continue to voice their concerns in letters to the editor and on social media.
Dept of Justice
USDOJ spotlights Bend PD efforts for officers' mental health
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Justice released two complementary reports this week focusing on the mental health and safety of the nation's federal, state, local and tribal police officers. The Bend Police Department was featured as one of 11 law enforcement agencies demonstrating a range of innovative approaches to safeguarding the mental health of both sworn and nonsworn employees.
The reports, Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congress and Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Programs: Eleven Case Studies, were published by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) as required by the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) of 2017.
The LEMHWA passed both chambers unanimously and without amendment and was signed by the president shortly thereafter. These actions show that its purpose and intended effects are uncontroversial among policymakers – law enforcement agencies need and deserve support in their ongoing efforts to protect the mental health and well-being of their employees.
Congress took the important step in improving the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services that will help our nation's more than 800,000 federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers.
“Serving as a law enforcement officer requires courage, strength, and dedication,” Attorney General William P. Barr said. “The demands of this work, day in and day out, can take a toll on the health and well-being of our officers, but the Department of Justice is committed to doing our part to help. I want to thank the men and women of our COPS office for their hard work to support our officers every day, and specifically for these thoughtful and insightful reports, which detail both the challenges facing our officers and some specific ways we can give them the support that they deserve.”
“We are incredibly proud of everyone at the Bend Police Department for the innovative steps taken to protect the mental health of all employees. Not only does this protect officer and staff wellbeing, but it also bolsters public safety. I am grateful to Chief of Police Jim Porter for his leadership and commitment to supporting the men and women under his command.” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “I hope that Bend PD's example will mark the beginning of a new era in policing where protecting the mental health of officers and staff is universally viewed as an essential element of effective law enforcement.”
“A damaging national narrative has emerged in which law enforcement officers – whether federal, state, local, or tribal – are seen not as protectors of communities but as oppressors,” said COPS Office Director Phil Keith. “In this environment, where an inherently stressful job is made more so by a constant undercurrent of distrust and negative public opinion, the risks to officer wellness are exacerbated. This report is an important measure and reflection in our ongoing commitment to protect those who protect us.”
Under the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, the COPS Office was required to submit reports to Congress that addressed:
1) Recommendations to Congress on effectiveness of crisis lines for law enforcement officers, efficacy of annual mental health checks for law enforcement officers, expansion of peer mentoring programs, and ensuring privacy considerations for these types of programs;
2) Mental health practices and services in the U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) that could be adopted by federal, state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies; and
3) Case studies of programs designed primarily to address officer psychological health and well-being.
The first report, Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congress, includes 22 recommendations to Congress ranging from supporting programs to embed mental health professionals in law enforcement agencies to supporting the development of model policies and implementation guidance for law enforcement agencies to make substantial efforts to reduce suicide.
The case studies report, Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Programs: Eleven Case Studies, is designed to provide an overview of multiple successful and promising law enforcement mental health and wellness strategies with the joint aims of informing Congress, state and local government officials, and the law enforcement field. The report includes 11 case studies from a diverse group of sites across the United States.
The Department of Justice is pleased to respond to the LEMHWA as officer safety, health, and wellness is a longstanding priority of the agency. The reports released today address some of the most pressing issues currently facing our law enforcement community.
The COPS Office has a near 25-year history of supporting the efforts of state, local and tribal law enforcement, including the management of the National Blue Alert Network. The agency awards grants to hire community policing officers, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.
Copy/paste won't lead to needed reforms on police profiling, traffic stops
by AMBER G. DUKE
If you thought Groundhog Day was in February, you might be surprised to hear it is actually in April in Louisville. Amidst the community outrage over a viral video of a Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) traffic stop involving a young black teenager, Tae-Ahn Lea, who allegedly made a wide turn while driving and ended up being frisked and put in handcuffs while his car was searched extensively, LMPD released their annual Vehicle Stops Report. I had no idea the report had been released until a reporter called me for comment on it.
When I sat down to read the report, it all seemed so familiar I logged on to LMPD's website to see if the reporter had sent me last year's version by mistake. He hadn't; the link was for this year's report. I pulled up the previous year's report and sure enough, the Introduction was exactly the same. “Do police officers engage in racial profiling? This is the million-dollar question being asked…by researchers, police administrators, court officials, citizen groups, and individual citizens across the county.” The report goes on, “While the term racial profiling is relatively new, concern over racial bias in decision-making by police is not…”
So I pulled up the 2014 report and found, “Do police officers engage in racial profiling? This is the million-dollar question being asked…” I closed it and pulled up the 2013 report and you'll be shocked to learn the first line reads, “Do police officers engage in racial profiling? This is the million-dollar question being asked…” I know you weren't shocked. That was sarcasm. And can we all agree that the term “racial profiling” wasn't relatively new in 2013 and certainly is definitely not relatively new in 2019?
I stopped pulling up old reports, but after that short exercise I learned that for at least the last several years the University of Louisville researchers that have prepared this report for LMPD have simply copy and pasted much of the document, filling in the Findings, Charts, and Tables with the new traffic stops data that was collected in the year of the study. That may not seem like a big deal, but in addition to the Introduction being the same year-to-year, the report's conclusion has also remained nearly the same from year-to-year, namely, “…analysis of the data cannot confirm nor eliminate a finding of biased policing within [LMPD]…” The report's recommendations have also remained identical across several years. The only updates I can detect are in the examples of actions taken by LMPD to “implement broad-based approach to biased policing,” like mandatory biased policing training (effective 2015) and training on the principles of community policing (effective 2016).
Don't get me wrong, I applaud LMPD for continuing to collect data to be analyzed, their transparency in releasing the report to the public (that hasn't always been the case), and the addition of new training for officers. These were necessary steps. The problem is that we still have black people, who live in West Louisville in particular, who are being stopped and searched as a consequence of going about their daily lives. More has to be done. I'll even suggest one avenue – a deeper dive into LMPD traffic stops, with researchers supplementing their data collection with an analysis of the body-worn camera footage LMPD officers are capturing during their interactions with the public. This might start to finally answer the “million-dollar question.”
Ultimately, if the community wants LMPD to take different approaches in their traffic stops, maybe a good start is demanding they use something other than a largely copy/pasted report as their roadmap to change.
Greenville police looking to diversify department by scouting black officers
About 9 percent of the department's 202 officers are black, officials say
by Dana Griffin
GREENVILLE, S.C. —
Greenville police are scouting potential recruits, particularly potential recruits who are black, as part of an effort to hire more diverse officers. It's taken police all across the state in search of new recruits, and it's not an easy task.
In February, officers traveled two and a half hours to Morris College in Sumter for a law enforcement recruiting fair. The historically black institution is a hot spot for competitive departments across the Southeast.
"Just getting them in the door is the biggest challenge," Capt. Stacey Owens said. “We think and feel that it's important to be reflective of the community.”
In April, the department invited students from other Historically Black Colleges/Universities, often referred to as HBCUs.
Students from Claflin University and Benedict College were invited to the Upstate for an interactive experience of what their future careers could look like. They also toured Greenville and met with city leaders.
The department conducted SWAT team demonstrations. The team has an upcoming test for new members. Saber the K-9 showed off his drug-sniffing skills. Then, students got an eye-opening lesson on intervention and when they should use deadly force.
The Greenville Police Department employs 200 officers, about 9 percent of whom are black. Other minorities represent another 5 percent of the department.
Greenville police officers by race:
202 officers total
1 American Indian
The diversity initiative started in 2018.
"The community feels that we need to reflect the composition and currently, we don't but it's not for a lack of trying," Police Chief Ken Miller said.
Officials say low pay, danger, work hours and a history of conflict with police in the black community, have made the job less desirable. The department is working to change that stigma.
Some students are eager to wear the badge.
"I love, like, the community policing thing,” Claflin University student Saevia Conyers said. “If you see my face and you see how I act all the time, you're going to start to believe-- Well, not everybody's like that. I've had interactions with her and it was positive, it wasn't always negative."
"Not a lot of police units do this with the HBCUs, so that definitely was an eye-opener for me,” Benedict College student csaid. “They're really trying to reach out to the black community."
This inside look into the department might just give a genuine reflection of Greenville police that can lead to more diverse officers and added trust within the community.
The Greenville police application process is currently open. Internships are also available.
The starting annual salary - based on a 43-hour work week - is $38,839.76, according the department's website.
The department also offers uniforms and equipment at no costs to officers, take-home cars, tuition reimbursement and retirement plans.
John Legend Takes Chicago Police Union To Task In Scathing Op-Ed
The musician isn't here for slander against Kim Foxx.
by Ricky Riley
Musician and activist John Legend called out Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in a recent op-ed for impeding criminal justice reform in the city.
Legend's op-ed in The Chicago Tribune titled "The FOP is a Threat to Kim Foxx-led police reform in Chicago" is co-authored by former police officer and current executive director of the advocacy group Law Enforcement Action Partnership Neill Franklin. They write that the popular police union has launched baseless forms of harassment against Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx.
"Since taking office in 2016, Foxx increased transparency in the office, stopped prosecuting marijuana possession, reduced the use of money bail, diverted more cases out of jail and prison and back into the community, and developed a conviction integrity unit that has vacated dozens of cases," Legend and Franklin wrote.
Recently, a slew of new attacks came after the fallout surrounding Jussie Smollett's alleged racist and homophobic assault.
Smollett was charged with lying to authorities and staging the assault. However, Foxx's office stepped in and dropped all 16 charges against the 36-year-old in late-March, igniting controversy.
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Tensions came to a head on April 1 when FOP protesters descended on Foxx's office, The Chicago Tribune reports. They claimed Smollett somehow "cheated" the system, and the 47-year-old state's attorney played a vital part in helping him get away scot-free.
Legend and Franklin do not agree. The duo defended Foxx, calling her leadership a step in the right direction for the Windy City. She has worked diligently with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to lower crime and commit to improving community policing.
Other initiatives such as expunging the records of marijuana offenders have become a major priority for her. Foxx has also facilitated mass exonerations of victims convicted from the arrests of corrupt officer Ronald Watts.
In the past, the FOP, according to the op-ed, supported officers that have committed heinous crimes while in uniform. One of those figures is Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014.
"The union is a relic of the past, with a commitment to protecting all officers, even those who give it a bad name," Legend and Franklin wrote. "The FOP makes the work of mostly good, honest and dedicated officers harder and communities less safe."
Legend, who is a vocal critic of the police brutality, understands how police protect their own in high-profile police-involved shooting cases. For the authors, the FOP embodies the blue wall of silence, and they want it gone for good.
"We're calling on all leaders — the mayor, the state's attorney, the police superintendent and the sheriff — to reject the politics of the FOP and relegate its destructive ideas to the dustbin of history where they belong.
Police in schools, gang database scandals offer Lightfoot first test on reform
While the Chicago Police Department ignores official recommendations for community engagement, students and communities of color continue to be criminalized.
by Curtis Black
Lori Lightfoot came to public prominence advocating for police reform, and when she's inaugurated as mayor next month she'll face some major items left undone by her predecessor. These include implementing the new consent decree, establishing a community oversight body, and negotiating contracts with police unions which promote accountability.
But these are fairly abstract. Two more immediate and concrete areas of difficulty have surfaced in the news in recent days: police in schools and the police department's gang database. These directly impact thousands of Chicagoans, particularly young people, and they'll offer the new mayor an opportunity for trust-building with her constituents.
Police serving as school resource officers have been increasingly controversial. Now newly-released surveillance video backs the story of a 16-year-old high school student, and undercuts the account of two school-based police officers who tased and beat her in a Jan. 29 incident at Marshall High School. They reported the student initiated physical contact, but video showed it was an officer who first pushed the student before all three tumbled down a staircase, according to the Sun-Times.
The cops had been called to remove the student from the school after she'd been kicked out for having a cellphone in class. According to the girl's father, school administrators acted in violation of the individualized education plan established for his daughter, who has an emotional disability. The student was initially charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery against a peace officer, but prosecutors later dropped the charges.
Not only does it look like the officers filed a false statement — it also looks like the Chicago Police Department learned nothing from the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation of patterns of excessive force against minorities.
The DOJ report, issued two years ago, listed a remarkably similar incident — another 16-year-old girl being beaten and shocked with a taser by officers who were removing her from school because of a violation of cellphone rules — as an example of CPD using unconstitutional force against children in response to “non-criminal conduct and minor violations.”
The Marshall High incident occurred several months after a review by the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety of CPD's management of school resource officers assigned to Chicago Public Schools. That review found that lack of standards for recruitment, training, and evaluation of cops in schools left students at risk of civil rights violations and unnecessary involvement in the criminal justice system.
The IG's report came a year after an outside report that found officers assigned to schools lacked proper training and faced little accountability, that “poor policing in schools puts students on a fast track to the school-to-prison pipeline,” that nearly a third of school-based arrests were of students with disabilities, and that between 2012 and 2016, the city paid $1.5 million for lawsuits charging excessive force by officers in schools. The report recommended that officers should not be permanently assigned to schools, but if they were, they should be covered by a memorandum of understanding protecting student civil rights developed in consultation with community stakeholders — a recommendation echoed by the IG last fall.
That recommendation is seconded by groups like POWER-PAC, an organization of parents that has worked on school discipline issues for years and calls for the removal of officers from schools in the long term, with guidelines to protect students in the meantime.
In response to the IG's recommendations, CPD promised to “undertake best efforts” to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with the school district next year and to develop policies, screening criteria, and specialized training for police stationed in schools.
CPD didn't display a great sense of urgency, promising that the changes would be implemented before the next school year as part of the consent decree. Now there's yet another lawsuit against police assigned to a school.
CPD did not agree to the IG's call for involving community stakeholders in developing the terms of the agreement with CPS or hiring guidelines for school resource officers.
That appears to be a pattern. In last week's IG report on the gang database — which like earlier media reports and research, found the database riddled with inaccuracies, and highlighted its accessibility to immigration authorities and other agencies — CPD declined to accept a recommendation that it collaborate with community members and organizations to assess the department's program. Instead, CPD reported it had already conducted an internal evaluation and was developing a new system for collecting and storing gang information, with new regulations on sharing information with outside agencies.
CPD said it was establishing a process for residents to challenge inaccurate gang designations, but it did not commit to directly notifying individuals of their listing in the new database. The IG noted that CPD's proposed appeals process “involves several substantive barriers.”
During her campaign, Lightfoot called on CPD to go further. She promised if elected, CPD would be barred from sharing gang information with immigration authorities, and criteria for listing names in a revamped database would be developed “with public input.”
Genuine community consultation is crucial for a city trying to overcome decades of problematic policing. But Lightfoot should go a step further and follow the IG's recommendation for a public process that asks the more basic question: whether collecting gang information “best serves violence reduction efforts in the city.”
The IG report explains that gang structures have changed dramatically, from large hierarchical organizations to small cliques without permanent names or exclusive memberships, which “may not constitute gangs in the strict legal sense.” This has led the department to overstate the role of gangs in street violence, “and may obscure a more nuanced and accurate understanding of violence in Chicago.”
This is underscored by commentary by experts in the Chicago Reporter this week. They report that, as a result of the fragmentation of traditional gang structures, “gangs today are not so much the cause of violence as one of the effects of distressed communities,” and “high rates of violence are correlated more to conditions of concentrated African-American poverty than to gangs or drugs.” The argue that the low clearance rate for murders in Chicago indicates that the city's “war on gangs” strategy is a failure.
Rather than help prevent violence, the gang database has served to criminalize communities of color, including many individuals with no criminal associations. A full examination, involving groups that have worked on this issue at the grassroots level, is likely to show that it is not only harmful, it is irrelevant.
Meanwhile, research shows there's no evidence that stationing police in schools reduces crime or violence — but it does increase the number of minority students who are arrested, and it appears to impact academic achievement negatively.
Lightfoot has an opportunity to bring community voices into the conversation on both these issues. Let's hope she grabs it.
School officers from across state and nation meet for training in Rapid City
by Matthew Guerry
Twenty-nine school resource officers from South Dakota and several other states gathered this week for training at the Pennington County Sheriff's Office in Rapid City.
The week-long program, taught by the National Association for School Resource Officers, served both as a primer for new officers and as a refresher for those with more experience under their belts. Officers said they were able to share tips and best practices with colleagues who traveled from Montana, Colorado, Oregon and elsewhere.
Cody Rhoden, a school resource officer of one year at Rapid City Stevens High School, said learning about the legal parameters of the job this week has helped to illustrate the basis of those practices.
"We know how to do things the right way," Rhoden said. "One of the big things is learning why we do things that way."
NASRO Instructor Todd Runyan said Friday that the consistent presence of school resource officers affords them a chance to build trust with students that is not often presented by busy patrol officers. Part of NASRO instruction focuses on community policing, which Runyan said is a key pillar of school work in addition to security responsibilities.
"If you're in a community where you're going from call to call to call to call, you really don't have the opportunity to create those relationships," Runyan said.
That approach differs from the one taken by officers who Thad Schmit remembers from his time at Stevens.
"I knew who our school resource officer was, but we never saw him. We only saw him in case there was an emergency," Schmit, a Stevens resource officer of several weeks, said. "Now, we're very much out there at lunch time talking to the kids, trying to build relationships in the classrooms.
Role of community police in security awareness highlighted
Doha: The Police College held a seminar in collaboration with the Community Policing Department under the title ‘Police and Society: Safety and Security are Responsibility of All', aimed at identifying the objectives and duties of the community police and its role in spreading security awareness.
The event is being held under the patronage of the Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.
The Director-General of Public Security Staff Major General Saad bin Jassim Al Khulaifi attended the opening event.
The two-day event is attended by representatives of a number of General Directorates and departments of the Ministry of the Interior, Qatar University and the Protection and Social Rehabilitation Center (Aman).
At the opening of the seminar, Brigadier Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al Mahna Al Marri said that this seminar aimed at identifying the objectives and duties of the community police and its role in spreading security awareness that contributes to the reduction of crime and the stability of the society as well as the tools to achieve social security from its comprehensive perspective.
The seminar focuses on the interactive role of the civil society with the security services in the field of community awareness and protection from the spread of destructive ideas and prevention of crime, reviewing various activities of the Police College and the Community Policing Department in the consolidation of the concepts of community police, he added.
For his part, Col. Sultan Mohammed Al Kaabi, Director of the Community Policing Department, said: “Through the seminar, we seek to strengthen the close integrated relationship between the police services and the society in all its segments.”
The first session of the seminar was chaired by Brigadier General Dr Mohammed Abdullah Al Mahna Al Marri, Director General of the Police College. Lt. Col. Hussain Aman Al Ali, Assistant Director of the Community Police Department presented his paper on “Tools for Achieving Social Security - From an Islamic Life Perspective”.
The second paper was presented by Lt. Col. Jaber Mohammed Odaiba, Assistant Director of Traffic Awareness Department entitled “The Impact of Traffic Awareness on Achieving Road Safety.
The door to a safer, healthier community Is wide open, Salinas police chief says
In a recent Californian op-ed, representatives of two local activist organizations argue that instead of police using force, our city should rely more on prevention.
I couldn't agree more.
In their piece, the authors recommend a list of measures that would build a healthier community with less need for law enforcement. For example: avoiding militarization of police; investing in parks and after school programs; working with mental health professionals and community advocates; and better lights, sidewalks, and bike lanes.
To which I say yes, yes, yes, and yes.
What they are describing is the community safety strategy of the City of Salinas. It has guided the City's approach to violence reduction since 2010, in partnership with the members of CASP, the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace.
The strategy is often summarized as PIER, for Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement, and Re-Entry.
The authors of the recent op-ed say this strategy has failed.
But what they recommend as an alternative is in fact the exact same approach..
The City and its partners have been hard at work creating and improving parks, including Closter Park, which is now much safer; partnering with mental health practitioners; improving lighting and sidewalks; new bike lanes; renewing and strengthening our commitment to community policing and transparency; and much more. All of which was recently recognized when the Salinas Police Department was awarded the James Q. Wilson Award for Excellence in Community Policing.
And far from failing, the PIER strategy has been proven to work. One example can be found in San Jose, which went from being one of the most violent big cities in America to one of the safest. San Jose was a model for our strategy in Salinas.
And PIER has been working here, too. Despite severe resource constraints, we've seen a reduction in violence — and importantly, a steady reduction in the number of young people becoming involved in violence.
But what of use of force by police?
As the PIER strategy makes plain, enforcement should be a last resort — and re-entry services should reduce further need for it.
Prevention comes first, because prevention addresses crime and other social instability at their roots.
Intervention comes second. That means spotting risk factors early and stepping in to offer appropriate help, like mentoring, counseling, after school programs, or sports.
Enforcement should only be used when prevention and intervention have failed: someone has gotten into such trouble that they're creating a threat to others.
There is no “us and them” about this. If any officer ever violates the standards of our department, they violate the standards of our community, and we stand with the community. Our officers know these standards well and are proud to meet them.
Our police don't want to use force. In the rare instances they use lethal force, they see it as a tragedy.
It's a tragedy in which our whole community has played a part.
That's because by the time someone is in an armed stand-off with police, they have been failed many times by many people. We all need to take responsibility for that.
So our door is wide open. And we are glad to walk through the doors that have been opened to us.
The door is wide open for everyone of good will to join in the work of CASP and our other community-building efforts. Along with the City, a number of local organizations are charter members of the Governing for Racial Equity initiative. For years now, GRE has meant they have seats at the table with our City's top leadership, with the opportunity for a true partnership in working to achieve equity for everyone.
My door is wide open, as are those of other police leaders — for those new to talking with us, an easy way to start is to call or drop in to set up a meeting, or click the Here To Hear/Aquí Para Escuchar button on the front page of our website.
When a door is wide open, there's no need to pound on it. Instead, we should all take the risk of walking through, and taking a share of the hard work, and responsibility, that comes with trying to make real progress. Meanwhile, in seeking to heal our community, maybe we can model that healing in our interactions with each other.
To these ends, we are eager to be partners with anyone who wants to work in good faith towards our shared goal: never needing to use force against anyone.
Murad says police seminars must for brainstorming, community police
The chief minister said that it becomes the responsibility of the provincial government to maintain law & order to ensure security of the citizens.
Karachi -- Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that maintenance of law and order and ensuring security of the citizens was his government's top priority.
This priority could be be achieved in true letter and spirit when the Police would formulate short-term & long-term goals in consultation with various stakeholders, and present them for the consideration of the the government.
This he said on Thursday while speaking at RETREAT- a strategic workshop and exhibition organised by Sindh police at a local hotel. The seminar was attended by CM Advisor on Information Murtaza Wahab, sitting a retired senior officer, particularly by IGPs and members of civil society.
The chief minister said that it becomes the responsibility of the provincial government to maintain law & order to ensure security of the citizens. He added that for achieving this objective the police organization has to formulate short-term and long-term goals in consultation with various stakeholders and present them for the consideration of the government.
Mr Shah said that the workshop (Retreat) appeared to be a constructive step in that direction.
The chief minister said that this workshop would help the Sindh Police to assess its capacity, resources, and effectiveness, and its strengths and weaknesses. He added Policing, the world over, was a challenging profession. “Police is the primary agency responsible to reduce and control crime and ensure public safety,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah said that such strategic workshops provided an opportunity for officers and stakeholders alike to engage, consult, introspect, and coordinate towards formulation of strategies to help achieve key policing goals.
“I am sure the agenda for the workshop has provided the basis for brainstorming by the participants,” he said and added “coming together and sharing of such rich experiences ranging from hard core policing functions to different thematic areas, augurs well for the utility of this retreat exercise.”
He said in a lighter mood that the entire police force had been invited in the seminar and there was no policeman on the street of policing. He added further that on Thursday (today) only one murder has been reported from all over Sindh. “This is the lowest in the resent trend and I am sure this law and order be maintained in this way,” he said.
Mr Shah advised the IG police to visit all the police regions and meet with his juniors and encourage them for better policing and also involve civil society to the development of the community police.
The chief minister said that the Inspector General Police Sindh and his team would benefit greatly from this two day exercise. “A meaningful dialogue must lead to achievable targets, and an increased efficiency in the performance of Sindh Police,” he concluded.