Trinidad, Colo. - Police have released bodycam footage from a fatal police shooting that took place in Trinidad Colorado. The incident occurred on April 24th at the Almar Trailer Park in East Main Street in Trinidad. The officer was inspecting the trailer after reports had come in regarding a trespasser. After finding the suspect in the trailer, the suspect pulled a gun on the officer and was shot multiple times. After the shooting he was rushed to Mt. San Rafael Hospital where he was pronounced
Rob Duke's insight:
Body cams: did you see the gun?
Body cams are great, but this is an example of how they're not going to help in many cases. If you're pro police, you'll probably see this as a good shooting; otherwise, well, you won't.
Some would probably argue that the officer should have retreated a little to confirm that the guy was hostile....but, is that (or should that) be the standard?
Being moral is to make good choices between right and wrong or good and bad actions.
It applies to both individuals and organizations. With regard to the police function, a citizen cannot expect the police to operate only legally — but that they must also act morally. For without moral considerations, policing would become both ineffective and unbearable in a free society.
Permit me to explain, police officers, of necessity, daily exercise moral choices called “professional discretion” in deciding whether or not to make an arrest. The proper use of this discretion requires police to be educated and well-trained in order to make sound and professional judgments in the course of their duties. These decisions involve a number of factors (but not limited to) the seriousness of the offense, whether an arrest will aid in resolving the problem, the existence of competing priorities for police resources, the availability of legal alternatives, or taking into consideration honest mistakes and deciding that the situation is best served by a “warning and release.”
These are examples of more current moral decisions: permitting political protesters to march in the street, or occupy a park contrary to law, not arresting adults for the possession of a small amount of marijuana, not determining immigration status when dealing with “undocumented” persons who are crime victims. The law in these cases may permit an arrest, but in doing so the community would not consider the arrests to be “right” or “good.” In the above situations, the police officer could take action but choose not to do so. The decision, therefore, is based not on whether the behavior was illegal, but rather on whether taking enforcement action would be, in this situation, a moral act. Nevertheless, whenever police use this discretion it must always be done with openness, accountability, and never for personal reasons.
An interesting blog from another Chief. I'd point here to the Weber, Price, Nas article in the readings. It's an economic article on the ways that we might say that corruption actually helps the community. It posits that there are 3 conditions where an official might not follow the law or administrative rules:
1. There would be a clear case of injustice for the individual in this case.
2. The community impacted by the law is disadvantaged in a way that they don't have the capacity to engage the system to educate policy setters with factors that may make the law unreasonable in application or outcome for this particular community (schools to prison pipeline, for example).
3. Social norms have moved more quickly than has the law (e.g. marijuana policy).
As the Chief above suggests, I think we should follow the rules except when we can neither find reasonableness nor uphold human dignity, but I think we need a framework to reject the law. We can't do so to benefit any particular group (rich vs. poor; black vs. white, etc.) nor can we do so to enrich ourselves; but, if we do so for one of these 3 reasons, I think we can articulate ethical reasons for exercising discretion.
The solution is twofold: establishing a broadband frequency that those agencies can access, and making sure everyone at those agencies has the equipment to use it. That's not a small or cheap task. The 2012 CRS report puts the estimated cost of the broadband setup "in the tens of billions of dollars," while radios could cost between $500 and $6,000 for each responder at every one of those 65,000 agencies.
Rob Duke's insight:
The problem is getting all that to work across all 50 states with varying terrain. The typical state trooper agencies operate on the low VHF bands (30-300khz) because the signals can bend over long distances (think the old CB radio bands with the long whip antennas), but urban departments with the need for lots of frequencies have switched to high UHF bands (450-950mhz); or even the 800mhz ranges. This has been exacerbated by the Feds selling off frequencies for mobile communications, which pushed many many local agencies to 800mhz with promised "better" communication only to discover that 800mhz doesn't bend worth a damn and often can't penetrate even a simple steel frame building. Oh, BTW, a radio band that operates on 800mhz can't operate on UHF or VHF.
Getting the system contemplated by FirstNet is not going to be easy....
It also mandates state police to equip troopers with body cameras. While municipal departments would not be required to use the technology, the legislation provides a financial incentive for those that do.
And the legislation stipulates that cases involving police use of deadly force would be assigned to investigators from outside of the officer’s jurisdiction, in an effort to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey will unveil details Monday about the creation of a unit dedicated to reviewing the integrity of convictions for people behind bars for serious or violent crimes.
A 41-page report released by Amnesty International on Thursday found that states lack statutes that require officers to use deadly force only as a last resort to protect officers or others against imminent threat of death or serious injury.
The report also found that 13 states have laws that don't comply with U.S. constitutional standards and that all states lack specific accountability mechanisms for officer-involved killings, including obligatory reporting that a firearm has been used and prompt, impartial investigations into killings.
"Police have a fundamental obligation to protect human life," said Steven Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. "Deadly force must be reserved as a method of absolute last resort. The fact that absolutely no state laws conform to this standard is deeply disturbing and raises serious human rights concerns."
How are you enjoying #TrueDetectiveSeason2 so far? It’s okay, right? I don’t know, maybe it kind of sucks. Anyway, if you’re like me, you’ve spent a good chunk of the first three episodes being a little confused by the city-corruption storyline. We’ve been told that there are a lot of “deals being done” and a lot of “money changing hands,” but what exactly is going on? Why does the mayor of the Vinci live in a baller-ass mansion? Why is the city manager such a big deal? Is Vinci even a real plac
Rob Duke's insight:
Is this a place where you want the police to just work along with the community?
If not, are there professional standards that ought to trump local deviance?
After being interviewed Monday by police, the police said Johnson was later seen throwing the bullets away while driving through a New Orleans neighborhood. He was arrested later Monday on one count of obstruction of justice, one count of malfeasance in office and one count of theft.
"I am extremely disgusted and outraged by the lack of professionalism and integrity shown by this officer based on the evidence we discovered today," said New Orleans police chief Michael Harrison. "This is an example of sloppy police work with a clear intent to cover it up, and it will not stand."
Analysts and officials credit several factors, including better training, a lower crime rate, heightened sensitivity by officers and seemingly ever-present cameras to record police contact with people. Christopher Slobogin, a psychiatry professor and director of Vanderbilt Law School's Criminal Justice Program, said police agencies and officers can't help but be aware of recent incidents making national headlines and are adjusting their behavior and policies. [...] there's no doubt that camera
A Ramsey County Sheriff's deputy faces criminal charges after he was caught on surveillance cameras abusing his K-9 partner at a Carlton casino. The Carlton County Sheriff's Office says 48-year-old Brett Arthur Berry was at Black Bear Casino on June 14 and 15 for a canine training and certification event.
Rob Duke's insight:
Many k-9 behavioral problems can be traced to something the handler is doing wrong. You might make a dog submit if he tried to bite a handler (a sign of rank drive), but this looks like the deputy just lost his cool. It's never fun to have a dog act up and embarrass you in front of colleagues, but it's a mistake not to praise the dog and build them up with kindness. Corrections are given, but always immediately cheerful and up-beat when the dog is successful.
“If he wasn't a cop, I would have said that he was not above the legal limit,” Nielson, of NYPD Highway District No. 2, told the prosecutor, according to court papers.
A law enforcement source said that Nielson was apparently trying to articulate that Stewart's inebriation was a close call, and he didn't want to appear to be showing favoritism.
Stewart was arrested on April 18, 2014, after he allegedly struck a parked car in Brooklyn. Nielson videotaped him refusing to take a Breathalyzer and passing the physical coordination test.
“He (Nielson) tanked the case,” the source said.
Nielson's unusual statement was not disclosed to defense lawyer Eric Sanders until after the sergeant had pleaded guilty to the DWI charge last March. Sanders successfully argued that his client should be allowed to withdraw the plea in light of the new evidence.
“I have argued from the outset that the client is guilty of nothing more than being a police officer,” Sanders told the Daily News.
Rob Duke's insight:
Yeah, in my experience, this is the new normal. We don't give breaks to fellow cops. It's a good way to stop your career in its tracks.
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