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Respect and Legitimacy — A Two-Way Street: Strengthening Trust Between Police and the Public in an Era of Increasing Transparency

June 22, 2015 Comments off

Respect and Legitimacy — A Two-Way Street: Strengthening Trust Between Police and the Public in an Era of Increasing Transparency
Source: RAND Corporation

Events in recent months have focused national attention on profound fractures in trust between some police departments and the communities they are charged with protecting. Though the potential for such fractures is always present given the role of police in society, building and maintaining trust between police and the public is critical for the health of American democracy. However, in an era when information technology has the potential to greatly increase transparency of police activities in a variety of ways, building and maintaining trust is challenging. Doing so likely requires steps taken by both police organizations and the public to build understanding and relationships that can sustain trust through tragic incidents that can occur in the course of policing — whether it is a citizen’s or officer’s life that is lost. This paper draws on the deep literature on legitimacy, procedural justice, and trust to frame three core questions that must be addressed to build and maintain mutual trust between police and the public: (1) What is the police department doing and why? (2) What are the results of the department’s actions? and (3) What mechanisms are in place to discover and respond to problems from the officer to the department level? Answering these questions ensures that both the public and police have mutual understanding and expectations about the goals and tactics of policing, their side effects, and the procedures to address problems fairly and effectively, maintaining confidence over time.

Preempting mass murder: improving law enforcement risk assessments of persons with mental illness

June 9, 2015 Comments off

Preempting mass murder: improving law enforcement risk assessments of persons with mental illness
Source: Naval Postgraduate School

Across the United States, mass murder events have been on the rise for nearly a decade. This thesis found that persons with serious mental illness perpetrated a statistically significant number of these events. Currently, law enforcement agencies are often the first—and in many communities the only resource—available to assist and assess mentally ill persons in crisis. This thesis investigated the current state of law enforcement training as it relates to assessing dangerousness and the risk for violence among persons with serious mental illness. It found that there is very little training and no risk assessment tool or guide currently available to assist law enforcement officers tasked with assessing mentally ill persons for dangerousness. Subsequently, this thesis examined alternative methods and models for assessing risk, including clinical violence risk assessments, and it conducted summary case studies. These included cases in which mentally ill persons committed acts of mass murder and cases where law enforcement successfully intervened and prevented mentally ill persons from carrying out planned violence. As a result of this research and analysis, a field risk assessment guide has been developed and recommended for adoption to aid law enforcement officers in assessing the dangerousness of mentally ill persons.

Mental health and contact with police in Canada, 2012

June 9, 2015 Comments off

Mental health and contact with police in Canada, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada

Canadians can come into contact with the police for a variety of reasons, not all of which are criminal in nature. Previous research has indicated that most people with a mental health disorder do not commit criminal acts; however, contact with police is common among this population (Brink et al. 2011; Coleman and Cotton 2014). Furthermore, the frequency of such interactions has been said to be on the rise in recent decades given policy and legislative changes (Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division 2005; Vancouver Police Department 2013; Lurigio and Watson 2010). For instance, while the process of deinstitutionalization shifted the treatment of mental health disorders from a hospital setting to a community setting, it has been argued that community based supports may not have expanded at the same capacity to make up for the loss of institutional services, which can leave police as the first responders in crisis situations or after regular health facility hours (Coleman and Cotton 2014; Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division 2005).

Information on police interactions with people who have a mental health disorder is a priority for various reasons. Firstly, they can be among the most unpredictable and dangerous situations to which officers must respond, and can be equally, if not more, dangerous for the person with the disorder (Chappell 2008; Kerr et al. 2010; Coleman and Cotton 2014; Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division 2005). Secondly, while the majority of such interactions are handled without harm to the officer or the person with a disorder, these interactions can be quite time-consuming, often utilizing a large portion of resources not only from police services, but from the health and social sectors as well (Lurigio and Watson 2010).

Database improvements for motor vehicle/bicycle crash analysis

June 7, 2015 Comments off

Database improvements for motor vehicle/bicycle crash analysis
Source: Injury Prevention

Background
Bicycling is healthy but needs to be safer for more to bike. Police crash templates are designed for reporting crashes between motor vehicles, but not between vehicles/bicycles. If written/drawn bicycle-crash-scene details exist, these are not entered into spreadsheets.

Objective
To assess which bicycle-crash-scene data might be added to spreadsheets for analysis.

Methods
Police crash templates from 50 states were analysed. Reports for 3350 motor vehicle/bicycle crashes (2011) were obtained for the New York City area and 300 cases selected (with drawings and on roads with sharrows, bike lanes, cycle tracks and no bike provisions). Crashes were redrawn and new bicycle-crash-scene details were coded and entered into the existing spreadsheet. The association between severity of injuries and bicycle-crash-scene codes was evaluated using multiple logistic regression.

Results
Police templates only consistently include pedal-cyclist and helmet. Bicycle-crash-scene coded variables for templates could include: 4 bicycle environments, 18 vehicle impact-points (opened-doors and mirrors), 4 bicycle impact-points, motor vehicle/bicycle crash patterns, in/out of the bicycle environment and bike/relevant motor vehicle categories. A test of including these variables suggested that, with bicyclists who had minor injuries as the control group, bicyclists on roads with bike lanes riding outside the lane had lower likelihood of severe injuries (OR, 0.40, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.98) compared with bicyclists riding on roads without bicycle facilities.

Conclusions
Police templates should include additional bicycle-crash-scene codes for entry into spreadsheets. Crash analysis, including with big data, could then be conducted on bicycle environments, motor vehicle potential impact points/doors/mirrors, bicycle potential impact points, motor vehicle characteristics, location and injury.

Measuring Performance in a Modern Police Organization

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Measuring Performance in a Modern Police Organization
Source: National Institute of Justice

Author Malcolm Sparrow describes some of the narrower traditions police organizations follow when they describe their values and measure their performance (clearance rates, response times, etc.). Sparrow uses the analogy of an airline pilot’s sophisticated cockpit as he advocates that police managers use a broader and richer information environment to assess performance. In easy to understand language, he summarizes the work of several giants in the policing field who have broadened the framework for monitoring and measuring policing (Herman Goldstein, Mark Moore, Robert Behn, etc.).

Survey | Deep Divide Between Black and White Americans on Criminal Justice System’s Racial Equality; Persists from Rodney King to Freddie Gray

May 12, 2015 Comments off

Survey | Deep Divide Between Black and White Americans on Criminal Justice System’s Racial Equality; Persists from Rodney King to Freddie Gray
Source: Public Religion Research Institute
From press release:

In the wake of protests following Freddie Gray’s death while in Baltimore police custody, a new survey released today finds a nearly 30-percentage point gap between black and white Americans’ perceptions of the fairness within the criminal justice system. Only 17 percent of black Americans agree that blacks and other minorities receive the same treatment as whites do in the criminal justice system, compared to 78 percent who disagree. By contrast, white Americans are nearly evenly divided—46 percent agree vs. 47 percent disagree. Looking at trends on this issue, the new survey shows that racial perception gaps today are only slightly smaller than those measured in 1992 by an ABC News/Washington Post poll at the time of the protests and riots that followed the Rodney King verdict. The new survey also finds that white Americans are nearly four times as likely as black Americans to say that police officers treat people equally (47 percent vs. 12 percent).

Respect and Legitimacy — A Two-Way Street Strengthening Trust Between Police and the Public in an Era of Increasing Transparency

May 8, 2015 Comments off

Respect and Legitimacy — A Two-Way Street Strengthening Trust Between Police and the Public in an Era of Increasing Transparency
Source: RAND Corporation

Events in recent months have focused national attention on profound fractures in trust between some police departments and the communities they are charged with protecting. Though the potential for such fractures is always present given the role of police in society, building and maintaining trust between police and the public is critical for the health of American democracy. However, in an era when information technology has the potential to greatly increase transparency of police activities in a variety of ways, building and maintaining trust is challenging. Doing so likely requires steps taken by both police organizations and the public to build understanding and relationships that can sustain trust through tragic incidents that can occur in the course of policing — whether it is a citizen’s or officer’s life that is lost. This paper draws on the deep literature on legitimacy, procedural justice, and trust to frame three core questions that must be addressed to build and maintain mutual trust between police and the public: (1) What is the police department doing and why? (2) What are the results of the department’s actions? and (3) What mechanisms are in place to discover and respond to problems from the officer to the department level? Answering these questions ensures that both the public and police have mutual understanding and expectations about the goals and tactics of policing, their side effects, and the procedures to address problems fairly and effectively, maintaining confidence over time.

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