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Crime Rate Rises As Prison Realignment Moves Ahead

We're taking a look at California's effort to ease the prison population. It's happening while the cash-strapped state tries to save some money, without jeopardizing public safety.
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Police Problems and Policy
Examining the possibilities of abuse of power without the constraint of New Public Administration.
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Corrections department irks lawmakers as they search for savings

Corrections department irks lawmakers as they search for savings | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
As the Alaska Legislature begins audits of 18 major state agencies, it has encountered difficulty with the first agency to be examined, the Department of Corrections, which failed to identify programs to auditors that could help cut 10 percent of its operating budget.
Rob Duke's insight:

Hmmm....hard to see how you can't trim just 10% without closing down a facility.  I can understand why the legislature might feel DOC is unresponsive.

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Antonio Martin shooting: surveillance video shows victim raising a gun — live updates

Antonio Martin shooting: surveillance video shows victim raising a gun — live updates | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Follow the aftermath of a fatal shooting of a black teenager by St Louis County police
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The Sneakiest Way Prosecutors Get a Guilty Verdict: PowerPoint

The Sneakiest Way Prosecutors Get a Guilty Verdict: PowerPoint | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
In Washington state earlier this month, an appeals court threw out a murder conviction based on shoddy work by the defense. But the court also took the prosecutor to task for something even stranger: a bad PowerPoint presentation.

Via Jocelyn Stoller
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How to Regain Control of Your Local Police - The Solutions Institute

How to Regain Control of Your Local Police - The Solutions Institute | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
The Solutions Institute. Expert help for activists.
Rob Duke's insight:

Not a bad start:

The author suggests:

To the individual citizen= get involved, go to board meetings, and make your voice heard.

To the administrator=reach out to interest holders and strive to create dialogue.

To the individual officer=lead the move back to Community Policing from the bottom of the hierarchy.  Engage the citizens on your own beat.

 

I'd just add that both officers and admin must also work to create capacity within their communities to get involved.  Often these communities don't know how to engage the system, are afraid of the system, don't know how to overcome the hundreds of small barriers of which we are often unaware.

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CNN expert indicts ‘social justice’ for cop killings: Advocates feel ‘entitlement to violence’

CNN expert indicts ‘social justice’ for cop killings: Advocates feel ‘entitlement to violence’ | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Forensic psychologist Michael Welner told CNN on Tuesday that two New York City police officers were murdered over the weekend because the social justice movement emboldens advocates with an “entitlement to violence.” Welner, who prosecutors claim...

Via Jocelyn Stoller
Rob Duke's insight:

It's too bad we can't just have a dialogue.  A week ago, there was a moral panic over cops' tactics vis á vis minority communities and now there's an attempt to create a moral panic over the tragic shooting of officers.

There are legitimate issues to be discussed on both sides.  Something's happened in the last decade or so.  Even police departments that embrace community policing have been criticized for covering the "iron fist" with a "velvet glove" (see Barlow and Barlow, A Political Economy of Community Policing in Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategy & Management, 1999).  In addition, as a result of the terror attacks of 9/11, Federal funding has emphasized Homeland Security at the expense of Community Policing and this has exacerbated the slide away from Community Policing.  On the other side, there's been a steady decrease in crime that law enforcement likes to think is correlated with the use of COMPstat evidence-based policing that pinpoints crime hotspots and targets law enforcement towards these areas [NYPD has notoriously used tactics like "stop and frisk" and Zero Tolerance because commanders and troops were held responsible for crime in their areas.  In sharp contrast, the West Coast tends to reward Community Policing supported by a a rival computing system created by the ESRI (ESRI beta tested, incidentally, at my old department in Redlands, Ca).  ESRI systems tend to be built with a bias toward using data to inform the public and seek its help in solving crime and identifying solutions to social problems.  The point here is that one person;s treasure is another's garbage.  COMPstat's vision has generated significant community distress while the ESRI, and West Coast Community Policing tends to enjoy popular support--not that the West Coast is universally loved, nor that the East Coast doesn't "do" Community Polcing.]  It is by no means clear that this correlation is causation, but the law enforcement community refuses to believe that there's something else at work (e.g. the Donahue-Levitt Hypothesis concerning abortion legalization, the impacts of lead on violence, etc.). In addition, cops working the street perceive that life on the street is getting more dangerous (perversely as crime trends downward); they have as little as a few seconds to decide if a person is a friend or foe; they don't think their use of force is unreasonable (even when in hindsight tragic situations seem avoidable); and, they feel under siege with demands for officers' prosecution (or worse).

As long as we define the dialogue as a dichotomy: either 1. cops are racists; or 2. thugs and criminals just don't want to be policed, then we can't begin to discuss issues such as, whether the social and economic structure lacks the capacity to deliver fair outcomes for all those who deserve success by the fruits of their labor (see Robert K. Merton's Strain theory for more on this idea, but the short version is that there's not enough "American Dream" to go around for all those that follow the rules, but we value this end so highly (and don't seem to really punish those that cheat a little) that some "innovate" with crime (e.g. exploiting black and grey markets).  These segments of society also have stratification where a few big guys are usually insulated from violence and arrest, while their "soldiers" do all the work, take all the risk and only occasionally reap the rewards (See Sudhir Venkatesh's work on the "underground economy").  The Chicago School of Sociology would further suggest that these segments of society develop "deviant subcultures" that accept (and maybe even lift up values wholly or partially tolerant of crime).  Another issue not yet accessible in this discussion is whether there's a way to exercise "hard" power that is rarely used, but is bolstered significantly by a "soft" power that is shared by many stakeholders (see Jeffrey Pfeffer on power; and, Joseph Nye for a discussion of hard vs. soft power, note neither of these authors write in the Justice field).  Similarly, we don't yet talk about the recurrent issues in policing related to the use of power.  Are there elements of power that seem inevitably to lead to abuse? (see William Ker Muir's discussion on the many paradoxes inherent to the use of power).  Finally, (at least on my list) is the dichotomy between the street cop's belief that they just follow orders  [Indeed, if you want to change the system, they may be supportive of your ideas, but CANNOT act unless the political overseers act within a rule of law to change the system)]; with the idea that "beneficial" corruption (see Nas, Price, and Weber, A Policy-Oriented Theory of Corruption in the American Political Science Review, 1986) allows officials to ignore policy and the law in cases where micro or macro injustices occurs (see also Amartya Sen's discussion on "niti" and "nyaya" that mirrors this idea of legitimate justice interest in correcting little injustices wherever you find them).  The New Public Administration advocated by Dwight Waldo, H. George Fredrickson, and my mentor, Chester Newland (to name just three, though iconic, authors) also advocates a "search for reasonableness" and "human dignity", in other words giving "equity" equal stature with "efficiency, effectiveness and economy".  These aren't easy issues: Do we really want officials to be able to choose which laws to enforce?  It doesn't take much imagination to see a slide back into "Jim Crow" or something else equally biased.  Even if implemented fairly, perhaps with a system that demands a report with certain findings to be produced before a rule or law is ignored or bent, do we have any right to derail issues that are ripe for court review?  In other words, would it have been more right for a cop to arrest Rosa Parks, or to have refused to have made that arrest?  If our 1955 officer had been capable of refusing to arrest Ms. Parks, would we have been deprived of the changes brought on by the Civil Rights Movement that followed?  My own personal guess is that officers and officials could make little (niti) corrections where they find them and not significantly derail the underground dialectic of changing social norms, but that's just one man's opinion and I'm sympathetic to the idea that it might not be my right to "play God".

That's about as succinct as I think I can be in illustrating what I think would be a more beneficial dialogue on the issues of police use of force.  I hope we can move past the idea of scapegoating through moral panics of any variety--these only benefit rent-seekers that would hijack political systems for their own benefit rather than create opportunities for interest-holders to identify conjunctive interests that may point to mutually beneficial solutions.

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The Big Lie of the Anti-Cop Left Turns Lethal by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal 22 December 2014

The Big Lie of the Anti-Cop Left Turns Lethal by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal 22 December 2014 | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
The real story behind the murder of two NYPD officers
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Rob Duke's comment, December 23, 3:56 PM
Of course, it's more complicated than this, but this is an important aspect of the problem. I haven't figured out the application yet, but Nate Silver's ideas about using Bayes' statistical model to solve complex social problems seems relevant here. A human characteristic is that we can quickly categorize facts and draw reasonably accurate conclusions; however, this also means that we tend to over-generalize. Quite often, this gets into trouble with latent race and classism, but, in this case, I think it's worked against the police as a concept. What I mean is that we tend to love our local beat cop and hate the concept of the police.
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Instagram and others battle anti-cop posts

Instagram and others battle anti-cop posts | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Social media companies respond to threatening posts following the killing of two police officers this weekend.
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New York Police Killings: The Politics of Race and Police Use of Force - US News

New York Police Killings: The Politics of Race and Police Use of Force - US News | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
The roots of this new chapter on race relations, politics and police brutality stretch back decades.
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The Thing About White Privilege

The Thing About White Privilege | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about sexual harassment. I was struck by a comment by one of my male friends after reading it: “I’ve never really thought about this kind of thing before, but I’ve been asking my women friends, and every single one of them has stories. One even kinda has a stalker, and I had no idea. It’s like this whole other world exists that I knew nothing about.”Technically, he and I live in the same world. We shop at the same grocery stores. We take the same subways. We wa
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Rob Duke's comment, December 22, 9:49 PM
...and, she's just as blind to life as a cop.

Warning! Rant ad nauseam ahead:

Cops don't go around saying to ourselves: "hmm, how can I trump up some reason to go harass people of color today". You work your beat and you try to stop the crime that goes on in that beat. In doing that, you mostly arrest people who live, work, or pass through the beat. In affluent beats much of the socially disorganized crime goes on in private places (alcohol and substance abuse, family violence, sexual assault, etc.), thus, you mostly arrest those who pass through the beat unless called into a private place by someone who can invite you in or tell you about exigent circumstances. We know that middle class white kids are doing drugs and being delinquents, but much of this behavior occurs in protected spaces. In contrast, cops that work in poor neighborhoods, see a good bit more crime and probable cause related to crime right out in the open--in cars and on streets. These folks aren't protected by private spaces, but that doesn't mean that there's inherent bias on the part of the police.

..as for the violence that we commit? A cop has seconds to react; and the rest of the world gets years to second guess his or her actions. In my years as a cop, I came under fire a few times and fired my gun at suspects twice. I would have been justified to have done so a dozen or more times, but something prevented me [civilians or homes behind the person, I wasn't sure what the suspect(s) were reaching for, gut instinct, etc.], but in each and every time, it all happened in seconds, and I was almost immediately filled with regret: What happened when I fired my weapon? In one instance someone shot at me first, and the other time, the person ran down my K-9 with his car (I jumped back out of the way in time)--despite being justified, I still wished that I hadn't fired my weapon; and, I was fortunate not to have killed anyone.

In addition, my wife reminded me just yesterday that she had been riding along with me in the late 1980's when I handcuffed an agitated man--the man complained that he couldn't breathe. Later, at the hospital, the man died. I don't remember if he was asthmatic or diabetic, but I did the best that I could and the man died! Do I wish it hadn't happened? Hell yes! Did I deserve to be indicted by a Grand Jury? I don't think so, but by today's standards? Maybe...

I spent 16 years as a Chief and spent so many years in school learning about and thinking about these issues; and, yet, I can't tell you how to solve the inherent paradoxes in the business. If you solve it, I'd nominate you for a Nobel or something....
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Bratton Says Killing of Officers Is ‘Spinoff’ of Issues Raised by Protesters

Bratton Says Killing of Officers Is ‘Spinoff’ of Issues Raised by Protesters | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said investigators had concluded that Ismaaiyl Brinsley used the protests that have roiled the nation as the inspiration for killing two police officers.
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French police raise security after weekend attacks

PARIS (AP) — French police are boosting security after an attack on officers in central France, and the country's top security official is visiting the city where a driver ran down 11 pedestrians.
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Inside Drone School: How to Fly an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Federal regulators are still working on new rules for the safe use of drones over American soil — but customers haven't been waiting around.Unmanned aerial v...
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Major Chicago study finds red light cameras not safer, cause more rear-end injuries

Major Chicago study finds red light cameras not safer, cause more rear-end injuries | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
"This entire program is strictly to generate revenue and always has been," alderman says.
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Berkeley Officer-Involved Shooting 12-23-2014 - YouTube

Surveillance video from officer-involved shooting in Berkeley, Missouri. This video shows the suspect pointing a gun at the officer. More information on the ...
Rob Duke's insight:

1. the guy's gate appears to be unsteady.

2. first thing you do, control the situation: pat down, get identification, run for warrants; it's hard to second guess, but it looks like the victim is not under control and is able to walk back up to the officer and pull the gun.

3. this appeared to be a routine non-emergency call so the officer doesn't activate his camera--this is going to be a problem with body cameras, too.

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Violent protests after St. Louis County police officer kills man who pulled gun, authorities say

Violent protests after St. Louis County police officer kills man who pulled gun, authorities say | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Police in St. Louis County, Mo.
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Urban Transportation CHOICES and Resources | Sustainable Cities Collective

Urban Transportation CHOICES and Resources | Sustainable Cities Collective | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Julius Caesar, Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, Adam Smith, and Abraham Lincoln lived in cities and never drove an automobile. They didn’t need one, or thought to need one. And you wouldn’t need one either if we could arrange our lives such that you can get where you need to go without a car.

Via association concert urbain
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LAPD Chief Says Body Camera Footage Won't Be Released to the Public! -


http://www.undergroundworldnews.com

As the Los Angeles Police Department prepares to outfit its force with body cameras during interactions with the public, civil rights groups are concerned over the idea that footage won’t be made public outside of court proceedings.

http://rt.com/usa/216883-lapd-body-ca...


Via Darcy Delaproser
Rob Duke's insight:

It'd be expensive to do, but once the genie is out of the bottle, it may be better to make the footage available.

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NYC mayor urges halt to ‘political debates and protests’ until officers are laid to rest

NYC mayor urges halt to ‘political debates and protests’ until officers are laid to rest | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Bill de Blasio called for calm and unity among angry New Yorkers after the shootings of two NYPD officers.
Rob Duke's insight:

de Blasio is an astute political player and this is a shrewd symbolic move, but it remains to be seen if it will be enough to win back the NYPD.  Sometimes that isn't necessary, see Calvin Coolidge and his breaking of the police/fire strikes....http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1348.html

Coolidge famously said: "There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time."

The public obviously agreed.

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Jon Stewart: You can have great regard for law enforcement and still want them held to high standard

Jon Stewart: You can have great regard for law enforcement and still want them held to high standard | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Bravo , Mr. Stewart:

He got it exactly right.

Jon Stewart offered the perfect rebuttal to the vicious, ...

Via Jocelyn Stoller
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Rob Duke's comment, December 23, 4:04 PM
I generally agree with Jon Stewart (even though he relies too heavily on hyperbole). I think he's got this right, too, but one thing that's missing is that this isn't only about American cops, but even the poster ideal "British" cops; and, those French cops operating in an inquisitorial system with layers of checks and balances including having inspector judges accompany officers on serious investigations. So, what is the cause of our angst with police, if the problem crops up again and again across time and space? Here's two potential answers: 1. we don't have effective systems of dispute resolution between police and the communities they represent; and 2. we spend little or no time training officers on concepts related to power and the paradoxes inherent in the exercise of it--whether that power is the soft or hard varieties. Those are, of course, just my two pet ideas. As Dennis Miller said at the end of his monologue, "that's just my opinion, I could be wrong".
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NYPD Deaths and the Changes Facing U.S. Police - US News

NYPD Deaths and the Changes Facing U.S. Police - US News | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Fearful reaction and the blame game following the deaths of two NYPD officers will only derail an already fragile debate.
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After New York police officers' killings, mayor seeks halt to protests

After New York police officers' killings, mayor seeks halt to protests | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Mayor Bill de Blasio, trying to stanch the bitter fallout from the slayings of two policemen, called Monday for an end to angry rhetoric and protests alleging police brutality as all sides work to “knit our city together.”
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Woman Catches Police Officer Doing Something on Side of Busy Roadway That Compels Her to Stop and Snap a Pic

Woman Catches Police Officer Doing Something on Side of Busy Roadway That Compels Her to Stop and Snap a Pic | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
It was cold out, but he didn't think twice about going above and beyond.
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