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Security cameras at Vallejo downtown park linked to police oversight - Vallejo Times-Herald

Security cameras at Vallejo downtown park linked to police oversight - Vallejo Times-Herald | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Security cameras at Vallejo downtown park linked to police oversight
Vallejo Times-Herald
Security cameras at Vallejo downtown park linked to police oversight. By Jessica A. York Times-Herald staff writertimesheraldonline.com.
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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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Gov. Greitens meets with spouses of police on protest detail

Gov. Greitens meets with spouses of police on protest detail | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens took time Tuesday to meet with the St. Louis Police Wives' Association.
Governor Greitens made it clear that he fully supports law enforcement officers as they work long, stressful hours monitoring the protests that have been popping up throughout the St. Louis metro area after a former police officer was acquitted Friday in the murder of an African-American man.

Greitens said it's important that the officers' spouses and families know that they are also supported.
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Harrowing Story of CHP Officer Stabbed Seven Times Saving Suicidal Man From Death

Harrowing Story of CHP Officer Stabbed Seven Times Saving Suicidal Man From Death | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – This is a harrowing story of a California Highway Patrol officer stabbed seven times while saving a suicidal man from certain death.
Harrowing Story
CHP Officer Dane Norem rushed out of his car, sprinted to the curb, jumped and grabbed the suicidal man by the ankle just as he straddled the top of the overpass fence. A busy highway roared beneath them.
If Norem let go, the jumper would die. Cars would swerve and crash. Others might die too, reported Brett Kelman for the Desert Sun.
But a determined Norem wrapped the man’s leg in a bear hug and lifted his feet, using his body to anchor the jumper to the overpass. Unfortunately, the man had too much leverage for Norem to pull him off the fence, but Norem – a big cop loaded with gear – was too strong and too heavy for the man to yank free.
Suddenly, it was a tug-of-war between life and death.
Yet the jumper was armed with a knife, and in violent, desperation, he began to stab downward, slicing Norem in the process.
“When I got struck in the face, it didn’t really hurt,” Norem said. “It felt like I had been punched and it felt wet, like a water balloon had popped. I came to figure out later that was my eye.”

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Stamford police union files complaint about officers carrying Narcan

Stamford police union files complaint about officers carrying Narcan | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
STAMFORD - The city's police union has filed a labor complaint because officers are now required to carry a life-saving drug that's not included in their contract.

Members of the Stamford Police Department began carrying Narcan in July after the city experienced a spike in overdoses, including three in one day over the summer.

The unfair labor complaint was filed last week with the state Board of Labor Relations, but Police Union President Kris Engstrand said his members do not object to carrying Narcan.

"We welcome carrying a new tool that can help out not only our members, but the public, too. We welcome the opportunity," he said. "But this is an additional workload and so it is the subject of bargaining.
Rob Duke's insight:
In one of my departments, we did not have a paid fire department, thus my officers were also trained as first responders and they were paid a small stipend each month to perform those "extra" duties, keep up their certifications, and maintain their medical bags.
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Jessica Obermiller's comment, September 17, 12:16 PM
As someone who takes narcotics (legally, of course) on a daily basis just to survive, There is always a fear of an accidental overdose. Accidents happen, they do. And if I were to accidentally OD, I would want as many trained people carrying Narcan around as possible. In response to Gregory above, I agree. As long as you are being paid on a regular and fair basis, people shouldn't cry every time something new is asked of them, such as learning to use and carry lifesaving medication.
Hope Allen's comment, September 18, 1:00 AM
While I understand what Gregory is trying to say in his comments above, I have to disagree a little bit. While implementing this new tool into the police force is definitely a good idea, it was not listed in the contracts that they signed. Since this type of thing would require extra training and more responsibility than they signed up for it makes since for them to want an extra stipend.
Jessica Obermiller's comment, September 18, 3:22 PM
Just as a reply to Hope, there is really no "special training" for how to use this. No more than learning to use nasal spray from over the counter. Spray half up one side, half up the other. It' as simple as that. So yes, other new items may require special training, this life-saving medication does not.
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Anchorage mayor apologizes for remark about city’s safety after shooting

If you're not engaged in drug trafficking and not out after midnight, it's a very safe city, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said, triggering confusion and backlash on social media.
Rob Duke's insight:
Shooting the messenger instead of acknowledging a growing problem in Anchorage....
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Gregory Foster's comment, September 16, 11:48 PM
*sigh* This is a real annoying trend. The fact is, if you aren't out breaking the law then you are a lot less likely to be hurt or killed. Illegal activity has a much higher chance of getting you injured. This is a simple truth.
Hope Allen's comment, September 18, 1:11 AM
While staying away from illegal activity is definitely a must for staying safe, there should still be some sort of plan to try and at least move Anchorage toward a safer place. Especially if something as simple as being out after midnight is the thin line that can put some in an unsafe situation.
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Orlando officer seen smiling after Kevlar helmet saved his life

Orlando officer seen smiling after Kevlar helmet saved his life | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Michael Napolitano responded to the attack at the Pulse gay nightclub.
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Riley Westfall's comment, September 16, 6:39 PM
Riley Westfall's insight: Giving the police items usually associate with the military just makes sense.
Jessica Obermiller's comment, September 18, 3:32 PM
I agree with Riley here, it just makes plain sense that police officers should have access to the same body protection we give our military. Gunshots are no joke and this guy's life was saved by that helmet. They may be hella heavy, but they save lives. I'm glad this officer was wearing the right gear. I can't imagine what must have gone through his mind when the shots rang out in the nightclub across the street from where he was. It's nice to hear of an officer who is in the right place at the right time and was able to call in back up right away. We don't see many positive stories about officers who have been shot, so this was a pleasant read.
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Third Degree Lite: The Abuse of Confessions

Third Degree Lite: The Abuse of Confessions | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
The “Reid Interrogation Method” was developed in the mid-20th century to eliminate abuses in police interrogations. But it hasn’t eliminated concerns about false confessions and should be shelved, writes a University of Virginia law researcher.
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Police K-9 injured, suspect shot after crime spree in Sacramento

Police K-9 injured, suspect shot after crime spree in Sacramento | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
A Sacramento police K-9 officer was injured Monday night in the Del Paso Heights area of Sacramento; one suspect was shot by officers.
Rob Duke's insight:
5 cops shot here in two weeks and now a k-9 stabbed...Sacramento is burning up....
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Jessica Obermiller's comment, September 17, 12:18 PM
I have to agree with you Rob, Sacramento is going to hell in a hand-basket. It's terrible anytime a service member of any kind gets wounded, and that goes for the four-legged ones. My sympathies to all those involved.
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VIDEO: Dashcam footage of St. Louis County officer getting attacked

VIDEO: Dashcam footage of St. Louis County officer getting attacked | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KSDK) An encounter that could’ve turned deadly for a police officer in St. Louis County, Missouri was caught on police dash cam video. The video shows a suspect assaulting an officer in Calverton Park and nearly getting a hold of the officers gun during a traffic stop Wednesday morning.

“For law enforcement, it’s one of the least routine assignments that we have,” said Calverton Park police officer Chris Robertson.

Officer Alex Bowes, a two-year veteran on the police force, clocked Markarios Kirkwood, 43, of Ferguson, speeding 40 mph over the limit at 2 a.m. Wednesday on New Florissant Road.

“You are typically on a heightened sense of alert on every traffic stop,” said Officer Robertson.

Before Officer Bowes approached the car, he suspected Kirkwood had been drinking because he hit the curb before pulling over. Once Officer Bowes got to the car, he asked for license and insurance. Kirkwood could not produce a license. Police said Officer Bowes also smelled marijuana in the car–something Kirkwood said he had been smoking. When Bowes told him to get out of the car, he said Kirkwood displayed a knife.
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Gregory Foster's comment, September 16, 11:57 PM
I'm glad this type of video is shown and I wish it would get more play. Unfortunately, the officer made a few tactical mistakes but it happens. The suspect does not have the right to assault the officer because of a tactical mistake. We as a society need to be educated as to the dangers that these offices face on a daily basis. We need to thoroughly understand this so we can take an objective look when actual misconduct occurs. Exposure to situations like this may help us explain officer's actions and help in training to prevent excessive use of force cases where it is not warranted.
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7 reasons I'm still a police officer

7 reasons I'm still a police officer | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
The list of things I enjoy could be much longer, but I'll keep it to these seven
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Sam Unruh's comment, September 18, 1:13 AM
I noticed a couple of similarities between this and the CSO job. Most of the time, each day is pretty different than the last, and I work with some great officers.
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How the War on Terror Has Militarized the Police

How the War on Terror Has Militarized the Police | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it

At around 9:00 a.m. on May 5, 2011, officers with the Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff's Department's Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team surrounded the home of 26-year-old José Guerena, a former U.S. Marine and veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, to serve a search warrant for narcotics. As the officers approached, Guerena lay sleeping in his bedroom after working the graveyard shift at a local mine. When his wife Vanessa woke him up, screaming that she had seen a man outside the window pointing a gun at her, Guerena grabbed his AR-15 rifle, instructed Vanessa to hide in the closet with their four-year old son, and left the bedroom to investigate.

Within moments, and without Guerena firing a shot--or even switching his rifle off of "safety"--he lay dying, his body riddled with 60 bullets. A subsequent investigation revealed that the initial shot that prompted the S.W.A.T. team barrage came from a S.W.A.T. team gun, not Guerena's. Guerena, reports later revealed, had no criminal record, and no narcotics were found at his home.

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Brianne Frame's comment, September 14, 6:20 PM
I think this article brings up an interesting point in the sense that cops are becoming more action focused. Perhaps arguably responding more like soldiers then cops. I think however there also has to be considered why this has come about? For instance is it not possible that cops are not acting more like in a war zone, because in a sense they are? Current supposed political peace rallies and simple traffic stops are no longer becoming routine. Whether you argue this is because of 9/11, the continually growing population of the Sovereign Citizens, or simply the closed off response regular citizens have come to regard officers because of media perspective of events. I am not saying that I agree with the militaristic approach officers are taking to these events and pressure from the public to "keep the peace" which changes meaning over time and individual. Point being is it not more of a chicken - scenario of cops responding to institutions and public bias toward them and each-other?
Rob Duke's comment, September 14, 6:46 PM
It's a chicken and egg argument. Here's the 1997 Hollywood Bank Robbery video before we had militarized. These robbers (5) had fully automatic weapons and body armor. The officers were armed with handguns and shotguns and the way they responded was to go to a local gun dealer and commandeer some rifles. After doing that, the LAPD officers were able to kill the suspects. Almost immediately afterwards, there was a movement to arm patrol officers with rifles, shields, helmets, and other combat gear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZg4mcYkIwU
Gregory Foster's comment, September 17, 12:06 AM
This is complete bunk. The war on terrorism has not cause me or my department (my point of view on the world) to become "militarized". The North Hollywood shootout absolutely changed the manner in which our department was equipped and how we were changed. This is was a real world event that did happen. We allowed officers to carry their own approved rifle until the department could provide one. Officers were trained in the use of rifles including when to use them and when not to. We do not break out our rifles unless it is a gun call. We escalate the level of force so we can be one step higher than the force we encounter. If they have a knife, we bring a gun. If they have a gun, we get a bigger gun or more of them. Things like that. The article describes the veteran getting shot by police yet lacks any specific detail on what the officer saw or encountered. What the officer perceived is what he is judged on in court. By not addressing exactly what he saw then this article creates tension and allows the reader to think it was the gear or military training that caused him to shoot. That is just plain poor writing. Correlation does not equal causation. Unless the officer received some military training telling them to shoot first and ask questions later there is no basis for the argument. I know a lost of SWAT teams are changing how we serve warrants because of situations like this. We get on the PA system and announce who we are, who we are talking to, and what we are going to do. It removes all doubt and ensures people who are not involved to be safe in their homes.
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Fresno, Officers Must Face Wrongful Death Claims in Death of Unarmed Man

Fresno, Officers Must Face Wrongful Death Claims in Death of Unarmed Man | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Wrongful death and excessive force claims against two Fresno, California, police officers advance after a federal judge ruled a Latino man shot and killed by police wasn’t posing a threat or resisting arrest.

U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd’s order issued Wednesday addressed motions for summary judgment filed by Fresno Police officers Zebulon Price and Felipe Miguel Lucero and the city, in a case that stems the fatal shooting of a mentally ill man.
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Jessica Obermiller's comment, September 18, 3:54 PM
This was a horrible story to read. Excess force on the mentally ill (as well as other non-nuerotypical people) is ridiculous. Yes, I understand they believed that Centeno, the man who was shot, had a weapon. But at no time (according to this one source) did he make any threatening motions or remarks to the officers. He did not display that he was in any manner attempting to be aggressive. And the fact they shot him 8 times?! Really, do you think a man wearing nothing but shorts, not making any kind of response other than to stop walking needs to be shot 8 times?
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A study suggests that black Americans are unfairly fined by police

A study suggests that black Americans are unfairly fined by police | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it

Perhaps because poorer citizens lack the resources to contest the penalties


Graphic detail
Jul 27th 2017by THE DATA TEAM
WHEN a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot an unarmed black teenager dead three years ago, the killing set off outrage across America over violence committed by police. (Barack Obama’s Department of Justice concluded that the officer acted in self-defence.) But with greater public scrutiny of racial disparities in the use of force, better-disguised forms of inequality soon came to light as well. In March 2015 the department published a report on law enforcement in the city, which found that Ferguson’s criminal-justice system seemed to focus more on generating income for the government than on ensuring public safety. Nearly a quarter of the city’s general revenues came from criminal fines, fees and court costs. Moreover, black residents paid a far greater portion of these expenses than either their share of the population or their share of total crimes committed in Ferguson would indicate. The investigators concluded that the police had displayed “unlawful bias” against blacks.

The city appears to have heeded the Department of Justice’s message: fines and fees are down 77% from their peak in 2013. However, Ferguson was unlikely to be a unique outlier, and other cities engaging in similar practices might well have continued outside of the national spotlight. A new paper by Michael Sances of the University of Memphis and Hye Young You of Vanderbilt University published this month in the Journal of Politics found that Ferguson was indeed more of a rule than an exception. After examining data on 9,000 American cities, they found that those with more black residents consistently collected unusually high amounts of fines and fees—even after controlling for differences in income, education and crime levels. Cities with the largest shares (98%) of black residents collected an average of $12-$19 more per person than those with the smallest (0%) did.

However, there was one subgroup of cities that bucked the trend: the relationship between race and fines was only half as strong in places whose city councils included at least one black member. This may be because black politicians are likelier than white ones are to respond to complaints from black constituents. Black councillors might also intervene to stop certain policies, like increasing court fees, from going into effect to begin with.

Part of the problem is that fines are a very effective method for cash-strapped governments to shore up their budgets without having to raise taxes or cut spending. As a result, the temptation to tell police departments to dredge up violations, no matter how petty, can be hard to resist. City judges tend to rubber-stamp these penalties. For example, in Peoria, Arizona, two people were jailed for not trimming weeds more than six inches tall. In Ferguson, a black man resting in his car after playing basketball in the public park was stopped by police and charged with, among other things, not wearing a seat belt in his (parked) car and making a false declaration after giving the officer a shortened name (like “Bob” instead of “Robert”). Such fines may fall disproportionately on the backs of black citizens, because they tend to be poorer and lack the resources to contest the penalties.

Despite the exhaustive controls the authors included in their study, the strong correlation they found does not demonstrate decisively that race is the ultimate cause of higher fines. However, it does put a very high burden of proof on researchers arguing that some other factor is responsible. Now that the pattern has been identified across the country, city governments that rely heavily on fines would be well-advised to consider more transparent sources of revenue, and ones that do not place an additional burden on a subset of residents who are already disadvantaged.

Rob Duke's insight:
This is a tough problem for cops.  Would you remain long employed if you said: "oh, I don't think I should patrol where crimes are reported, but should make sure I spend equal time and ensure that I cite people in all parts of town equally".  The reality is a "paradox of proximity" where cops both look into the victims' eyes and answer to the Mayors and Council Members who write the paychecks.
Cops shake their heads and wonder what isn't reasonable about patrolling where crime is reported.
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Gregory Foster's comment, September 18, 7:27 PM
"they found that those with more black residents consistently collected unusually high amounts of fines and fees—even after controlling for differences in income, education and crime levels." and "Despite the exhaustive controls the authors included in their study, the strong correlation they found does not demonstrate decisively that race is the ultimate cause of higher fines. However, it does put a very high burden of proof on researchers arguing that some other factor is responsible. "
This is what I look for whenever an article draws a conclusion where enforcement is showing racial bias. Anytime you draw a conclusion like this you have to account for economic factors. Crime has a tendency to follow economic lines. The lower the income in an area the more likely you are to have crime occur for reasons that appear to make sense. People with less disposable income are more likely to have vehicles that are in perfect working conditions and will have more moving violations. Yet this doesn’t seem to make as much sense from an enforcement standpoint if you’re looking for money. People with less money are less likely able to pay for the violations as they have less disposable income. Maybe the city will make this up through seizure of vehicles due to non-payment, I’m not sure. I just want to see how the authors corrected for economic differences. Plus, I would like to see if enforcement of traffic laws follows areas of high crime. Maybe the areas of high crime require more enforcement and those areas happen to have a high percentage of African American residents. Is that a possible cause for the difference in ticket rates? I do not know but that is really something that should be addressed first and foremost in any article that draws racial conclusions. Do not just say that you corrected for these issues but state how you corrected for them. This would make it more of a peer reviewed article and easier to support the conclusion.
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KC police disarm antifa groups, others at Washington Square rally

KC police disarm antifa groups, others at Washington Square rally | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it

Citing a city ordinance, Kansas City police told antifa members to remove ammunition from their firearms at a rally Saturday in Washington Square Park. Mark Davis and Shane Keyser The 

Kansas City police ordered armed antifa groups and others to remove ammunition from their weapons and from their possession at a rally Saturday morning in Washington Square Park.

The armed individuals peacefully complied. Several with the antifa groups said the action violated their rights under state law allowing them to openly carry weapons. They said they planned to fight the order but decided not to take any action at the park.

“We don’t see any merit to fight it now,” said one person who removed ammunition from a rifle under order of the police.

Rob Duke's insight:
Why the masks?
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Riley Westfall's comment, September 16, 6:50 PM
Riley Westfall's insight: At first I thought this was a picture of terrorists in the middle east, but then saw the Kansas City title.
Sam Unruh's comment, September 18, 1:47 AM
It's ironic that Antifa claims to be against fascism, but they attack people for having different political views than them.
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Police Officers Need to Accept the Risk That Comes With Showing Restraint

Police Officers Need to Accept the Risk That Comes With Showing Restraint | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
My second inclination, though, is to say that it’s a police officer’s job to take risks the rest of us are unable or unwilling to take. That is why the vast majority of police officers, the ones who perform their duties admirably and selflessly, deserve our respect and admiration. The reason we revere cops isn’t their dedication to protecting their own lives. It’s their dedication to protecting ours.
Rob Duke's insight:
I've made a similar argument under the idea of "don't be scared--go 10-8".
My thought was that we once said "hostages are bought and paid for", but then Columbine came along and officers decided that they couldn't justify letting kids die while we set up a perimeter and waited for a SWAT team.
I don't know where you  draw the line, though, and other officers took me to task for that...consider this:
1. Name an ethical system that demands that others must, without regard from their own safety or free will, risk their lives.  We do so for the military, but that's a different system covered under different law and different ethics than a civilian system.
2. What about an officer's family?  Must they also be subjected to an involuntary loss of their family member? What about the other financial losses (their standard of living is never the same afterwards)?
3. Can you pay enough to encourage civilians to be willing to lay down their lives; and would you want those people as your protectors?  What's the endgame with a "priesthood" of true believer officers?  I'm not sure I like the idea of a bunch of zealot's in charge of policing.  Our entire system is built on the idea that "men are not angels (nor will they ever be)", thus we're better off to build a system of checks and balances and then allow (nay encourage) everyone to engage in "enlightened self-interest".  

What are your thoughts?

See Adam Smith, de Toqueville, Federalist 51, and Frederick Hayek for more.


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Protests erupt after ex-cop acquitted in black man's death

Protests erupt after ex-cop acquitted in black man's death | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Protests broke out in St. Louis after former police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted Friday of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of black driver Anthony Lamar Smith.
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Brianne Frame's comment, September 16, 5:14 PM
This is a very sad situation, but as the officer said I think it is a overreaction of people looking for blame where there is none. I find it sad that even though these protest argue about the importance of preserving life well also harming potentially deadly objects at officers themselves.
Gregory Foster's comment, September 16, 11:42 PM
I have a hard time with this situation. The officer was found not guilty and people are protesting because he was found innocent. They are upset that a life was taken and they want to hold somebody accountable. I understand that the investigators had issue with the gun in the vehicle. Yet there was no evidence showing that it was planted. The DNA on the gun was that of the officer and not the driver. This DOES NOT show that it was planted. It simply says that the DNA was not present. There are reasons why DNA may be absent from the gun. This article does not provide me with enough information to address that issue. The main issue that I have is that the whole incident started with a vehicle pursuit. A vehicle pursuit that was started by the suspect driver, the victim of the OIS. If the driver never fled then this whole thing would not have happened. That point is missed. Then, add the fact that the video does not show evidence being planted. It does not show enough information to prove the officer did something wrong. People have the right to be upset but in this case, in this one case there is not enough evidence to blame the officer. We should put the ultimate responsibility on the suspect. The person who had the absolute most control of the entire event.
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Police Chief Receives Complaints After Officers Saved Man From Overdosing

Police Chief Receives Complaints After Officers Saved Man From Overdosing | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
On Monday, the day after the most recent case he received three calls – two males and one female.

“They did not identify themselves as residents, or not residents, but they were very angry and they wanted to know why I would expense dollars, time and effort to have my officers safe ‘drug addicts.’ And I was just amazed that I received these phones calls and they were very angry,” Weitzel said.

First he said grant money pays for it and he said ethically, if a police officer can save a life – and they are almost always there before paramedics – they absolutely should.
Rob Duke's insight:
Some citizens are so contrarian....cops can't do anything right.
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Occupy Journey's comment, September 17, 6:02 AM
Just the ones that want more and think its OK to kill others to get it, thats all.
Hope Allen's comment, September 18, 1:05 AM
Seems as though the people that called need to be educated about what its like for someone to have a problem with addiction. If police can help then they definitely should.
Sam Unruh's comment, September 18, 1:25 AM
I don't get the logic behind those complaints. People just trying to find something to moan about.
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As Surplus Military Equipment Is Used in Houston, White House Changes Policy Enacted After Ferguson

As Surplus Military Equipment Is Used in Houston, White House Changes Policy Enacted After Ferguson | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Law enforcement advocates say Department of Defense equipment saves lives of cops and citizens.
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Gregory Foster's comment, September 16, 11:54 PM
I failed to comment on an early article from The Atlantic about the militarization of law enforcement. At the end of a day this vehicle is just a tool. We are getting a MRAP vehicle that was surplussed by the Army. It can be used for good or bad things. The tool is just a tool, it is how you use it that matters the most. I do not see an inherent evil in military equipment trickling down to law enforcement. What I do see and what does concern me is a lack of good training and good police candidates. If you have a cop that should not be a cop you are way more likely to end up with bad judgement calls that will cost the city in the long run. Poor training and poor employees are the problem in my view. Not the surplus equipment they have received.
Rob Duke's comment, September 17, 12:38 AM
Yeah, good procurement officers will prevent inappropriate disbursement of this equipment. In my experience, those military folks weren't giving that equipment to any old department. You had to prove need and ability to use it as it was intended. Imagine the bad p.r. if some bohunk department was using a MRAP to do parking control.
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Deputy wearing night vision goggles stops attempted ambush

Deputy wearing night vision goggles stops attempted ambush | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
The deputy saw the suspect walking stealthily with a rifle pointed at police
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Why Prosecutors ‘Rule’ the Justice System—and How to Fix It

Why Prosecutors ‘Rule’ the Justice System—and How to Fix It | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
A federal judge says federal and state prosecutors should be required to spend six months out of every three years of their term serving as defense counsel for indigent defendants.

Jed S. Rakoff, a senior U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York and a prominent advocate of justice reform, argues that his proposal will help raise prosecutors’ awareness of the need to “temper” their powers with greater sensitivity.

The proposal, he says, borrows from a practice permitted in the United Kingdom, where there is a requirement for prosecutors to occasionally serve as defense counsel.

Writing in the forthcoming November 2017 edition of the Northwestern University Law Journal, in an essay entitled “Why Prosecutors Rule the U.S. Justice System–and What Can Be Done About It,” Rakoff described his idea as a way of curbing the use of plea bargaining in the U.S. justice system—a practice which has not only given prosecutors more power than judges to determine justice outcomes, but has led to miscarriages of justice.

“I can think of no other step more likely to make prosecutors aware of the great power they possess or the need to temper it with other considerations,” Rakoff said in the essay, which was adapted from a speech he delivered at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law on November 18, 2016.

The judge said that his proposed temporary switch of roles would need to be approved by defendants and legal aid offices, and potential conflicts of interest could be avoided if a prosecutor in one locale served his or her time as defense counsel in another locale.
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Law Enforcement In Line-Of-Duty Deaths Highest In 5 Years

A study released on Thursday said law enforcement fatalities hit a five-year high in 2016. 135 officers killed in the line of duty, including eight killed in ambush attacks in Dallas and Louisiana in July that raised nationwide concerns.
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Jessica Obermiller's comment, September 17, 12:28 PM
As an anthropologist who studies religion and death, I couldn't not respond to this. What this says about the uptick of violence of our culture is, well, sadly not shocking. It may have been at one time, but to me, it no longer is. However, it also shows, from a social/cultural anthropologist's view point, the uptick in force applied by the police. That doesn't mean I am blaming the police, it just means that from the view of my dicipline, we would say the increase in people getting hurt int he line duty would correlate to the increase to officers putting themselves in dangerous situations. However, one could also make the argument that there could be a trend of increased members in the police force. From a human point of view, it is both sad and sickening that that so many officers were killed in the line of duty this past year, and as it continues. Handgun violence is insane in our country and as someone who doesn't not believe in open carrying should ever be legal, and as someone who has had three face-to-face death threats where guns were mentioned, I'm scared just seeing someone walking around with one on their hip.
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Was judge within the law to release Deputy French's killer?

Was judge within the law to release Deputy French's killer? | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
Many people have debated whether Federal Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim made the right and lawful decision to release Thomas LIttlecloud, the man accused o
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Jessica Obermiller's comment, September 18, 3:37 PM
As a recovering alcoholic (and I'm open about it), I believe she made the right choice. She even told him that she was worried about this decision and wasn't sure he was going to be able to do it. (Which I personally believe isn't something you should say to someone who you are sending to get help.) Yes, he did horrible things and no, I don't believe he is a good person. Right now. 6 years ago, I wouldn't have thought I was a good person either. But sometimes, we just need to be given that one last chance. And she made sure he understood it was his last chance. So to me, there is no debate. She did a good thing for someone who needs some serious help.
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Prosecutors: Reasons for Arpaio conviction should be voided

Prosecutors: Reasons for Arpaio conviction should be voided | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it
© AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File In this Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, then the sheriff of metro Phoenix, at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa.
PHOENIX — Prosecutors said Monday that a ruling explaining the reasoning behind former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's criminal conviction should be thrown out now that President Donald Trump has pardoned the Arizona lawman for disobeying a judge's order in an immigration case.

The U.S. Justice Department said in a court filing it agreed with Arpaio's attorneys who argued the lawman's conviction and the 14-page ruling should be voided, arguing the case and any punitive consequence from it are mooted by the pardon.

The filing brings Arpaio's criminal case one step closer to a conclusion after the former lawman's attorneys argued the ruling should be tossed in a bid to clear their client's name.

Arpaio's lawyers also want to prevent its possible use in future court cases as an example of a prior bad act. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, who found Arpaio guilty, has not yet carried out the formality of dismissing the case.

Trump two weeks ago pardoned Arpaio's misdemeanor contempt of court conviction for intentionally disobeying another federal judge's 2011 order to stop his traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.

Arpaio was accused of continuing the patrols for 17 months so that he could promote his immigration enforcement efforts in a bid to boost his successful 2012 re-election campaign.

Arpaio, who endorsed Trump and appeared alongside him at rallies during the 2016 campaign, has acknowledged prolonging the patrols.

But he insisted his disobedience was not intentional and blamed one of his former attorneys for not adequately explaining the importance of the order.
Rob Duke's insight:
Yes, politics, but he was also responding to his demographic that elected him to control a crime problem that the public perceived was caused, in part, by immigration.

We also don't acknowledge that the U.S. pressured Mexico to get tough on drugs, which President Calderon did his best to do during his 5 year term, but this had the unintended-consequences of ramping up violence in Mexico and along the border.  Arpaio considered his department to be on that front-line (and he's not the only Sheriff to have postured that way).  The question is whether that's the way popular governance works or whether Arpaio was using the power of the word and the power of the purse to unfairly augment his power and the power of the demographic that elected him.
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Blood Alcohol Evidence Excludable If Driver Didn’t Consent to Test

A judge must suppress blood-test evidence against a man lawfully arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence because there was no search warrant and the suspect, while acquiescing in the drawing of his blood, did not expressly consent, the Appellate Division of the San Mateo Superior Court has held, declaring that California decisions to the contrary must be scrapped in light of a 2013 United States Supreme Court opinion.
The result is dictated by the U.S. high court’s 2013 decision in Missouri v. McNeely, the appeals panel said in a May 5 opinion, designated for publication, and publicly released Tuesday after the Court of Appeal found that a transfer to itself was unnecessary.
In McNeely, the Supreme Court limited application of its 1966 decision in Schmerber v. California which upheld the warrantless drawing of blood of a drunk driving suspect owing to exigent circumstances in the form of the rapid deterioration of the presence of alcohol in the blood. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in McNeely:
“Though a person’s blood alcohol level declines until the alcohol is eliminated, it does not follow that the Court should depart from careful case-by-case assessment of exigency. When officers in drunk-driving investigations can reasonably obtain a warrant before having a blood sample drawn without significantly undermining the efficacy of the search, the Fourth Amendment mandates that they do so.”
She noted that procedures for obtaining warrants are faster now than in 1966.
Writing for the appellate division of the San Mateo court, Presiding Judge Leland Davis III recited that appellant Samuel Ling was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, was told that he had a choice of taking a blood or breath test, did not respond, was taken to a facility equipped only to take a blood sample, and expressed no opposition as his blood was drawn. The choice presented to Ling was in conformity with the state’s implied consent law under which a motorist, by accepting a driver’s license, is deemed to have consented to a blood or breath test if lawfully arrested for a DUI.
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LA sheriff's body cam plan would permit release of some video

LA sheriff's body cam plan would permit release of some video | Police Problems and Policy | Scoop.it

After two years of study, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has prepared a proposal to equip nearly 6,000 deputies with body cameras, and to enact a policy that permits the release of at least some video shot by officers.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors needs to approve the plan, which, when fully implemented, would cost $55 million dollars a year.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell's proposal calls for releasing body cam video to the public upon request unless it involves incidents still under investigation or would violate someone’s privacy, according to Dean Gialamas, the department's director of technology services.

McDonnell "wants to be as transparent as possible," Gialamas told KPCC. He added the department may also choose to release video of high-profile incidents before an investigation is completed.

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Review Launched of Sheriff's Posse Groups in Metro Phoenix

Some posse groups in metro Phoenix that once served as a source of political strength for then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio could be shut down as part of a review of the volunteer organizations known for conducting search-and-rescue operations in the desert, transporting arrestees to jail and maintaining security at crime scenes.

A committee of community leaders appointed by Arpaio's successor, Sheriff Paul Penzone, said Friday that it has launched a review of the posse groups, which are lauded for saving taxpayers money but were criticized for serving as one of Arpaio's political tools.

Grant Woods, the committee's chairman, said the examination is aimed at making sure that posse volunteers have the proper training and procedures and that the groups are accountable.

"The fact that this was about public relations or good politics (for Arpaio) is something we don't care about," Woods said, acknowledging it's possible some groups could be shut down. "But if it makes sense for public safety, great."

In his 24 years in office, Arpaio relied on posse volunteers to provide free police protection at malls during the holidays, direct traffic at wreck scenes and transport to jail people who were arrested in his trademark traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.

Supporters say the volunteers free up sheriff's deputies to focus on other aspects of police work. But critics have questioned the fitness of some posse members to perform law enforcement duties and suggested that some members joined the groups to get out of traffic tickets.
Rob Duke's insight:
Good policies or bad...we have a problem preserving any legacy.  As soon as a Chief retires, programs are cut or modified.  Some are flavor of the month, or worse, but many programs have merit, but we are terrible at measuring and providing evidence-based policy recommendations.  It's also a zero-sum game, so to be successful, a new chief must be seen to "do" something but that takes money, which must come from somewhere as it's pretty much impossible to capture "new" dollars to your budget.  This means that you must cannibalize old programs.
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