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67 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Nationwide in First Half of 2014

July 22, 2014 Comments off

67 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Nationwide in First Half of 2014
Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Today the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund issued a new report stating that 67 officers have been killed in the line of duty during the first half of 2014—a 31 percent increase over the same period last year.

Of these 67 officers, 26 were killed in traffic-related incidents; 25 were killed by gunfire; and 16 died due to job-related illnesses and other causes.

Key Facts

  • Traffic-related incidents were once again the leading cause of officer fatalities, with 26 officers killed in the first half of 2014—a 37 percent increase over the same period last year.
  • Firearms-related fatalities spiked to 25 in the first half of this year—a 56 percent increase over the first six months of 2013. Investigating suspicious persons or situations was the leading circumstance of fatal shootings, with six officer fatalities; followed by ambushes, with five officer fatalities.
  • Sixteen officers died due to other causes in the first half of 2014, the same as the number reported during the same time last year. Job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, increased 62 percent in the first half of 2014, with 13 officer fatalities compared to eight during the same period last year.
  • California led all states with eight officer fatalities; followed by Florida, New York, Texas and Virginia each with four peace officer fatalities.
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CRS — The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions (updated)

July 8, 2014 Comments off

The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The U.S. Secret Service has two missions—criminal investigations and protection. Criminal investigation activities have expanded since the inception of the Service from a small anticounterfeiting operation at the end of the Civil War, to now encompassing financial crimes, identity theft, counterfeiting, computer fraud, and computer-based attacks on the nation’s financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure, among other areas. Protection activities, which have expanded and evolved since the 1890s, include ensuring the safety and security of the President, Vice President, their families, and other identified individuals and locations.

How to Lie with Rape Statistics: America’s Hidden Rape Crisis

July 7, 2014 Comments off

How to Lie with Rape Statistics: America’s Hidden Rape Crisis (PDF)
Source: Iowa Law Review

During the last two decades, many police departments substantially undercounted reported rapes creating “paper” reductions in crime. Media investigations in Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and St. Louis found that police eliminated rape complaints from official counts because of cultural hostility to rape complaints and to create the illusion of success in fighting violent crime. The undercounting cities used three difficult-to-detect methods to remove rape complaints from official records: designating a complaint as “unfounded” with little or no investigation; classifying an incident as a lesser offense; and, failing to create a written report that a victim made a rape complaint.

This study addresses how widespread the practice of undercounting rape is in police departments across the country. Because identifying fraudulent and incorrect data is essentially the task of distinguishing highly unusual data patterns, I apply a statistical outlier detection technique to determine which jurisdictions have substantial anomalies in their data. Using this novel method to determine if other municipalities likely failed to report the true number of rape complaints made, I find significant undercounting of rape incidents by police departments across the country. The results indicate that approximately 22% of the 210 studied police departments responsible for populations of at least 100,000 persons have substantial statistical irregularities in their rape data indicating considerable undercounting from 1995 to 2012. Notably, the number of undercounting jurisdictions has increased by over 61% during the eighteen years studied.

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing

July 1, 2014 Comments off

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing
Source: American Civil Liberties Union

All across the country, heavily armed SWAT teams are raiding people’s homes in the middle of the night, often just to search for drugs. It should enrage us that people have needlessly died during these raids, that pets have been shot, and that homes have been ravaged.

Our neighborhoods are not warzones, and police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies. Any yet, every year, billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment flows from the federal government to state and local police departments. Departments use these wartime weapons in everyday policing, especially to fight the wasteful and failed drug war, which has unfairly targeted people of color.

As our new report makes clear, it’s time for American police to remember that they are supposed to protect and serve our communities, not wage war on the people who live in them.

CBP — Use of Force Policy, Guidelines and Procedures Handbook

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Use of Force Policy, Guidelines and Procedures Handbook (PDF)
Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A. General Guidelines

1. CBP policy on the use of force by Authorized Officers/Agents is derived from constitutional law, as interpreted by federal courts in cases such as Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989) and Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), federal statutes and applicable DHS and CBP policies.

2. Authorized Officers/Agents may use “objectively reasonable” force only when it is necessary to carry out their law enforcement duties.

3. The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force is based on the totality of circumstances known by the officer/agent at the time of the use of force and weighs the actions of the officer/agent against the rights of the subject, in light of the circumstances surrounding the event. Reasonableness will be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer/agent on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

4. The calculus of reasonableness embodies an allowance for the fact that law enforcement officers/agents are often forced to make split-second decisions – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.

5. A use of force is “necessary” when it is reasonably required to carry out the Authorized Officer’s/Agent’s law enforcement duties in a given situation, considering the totality of facts and circumstances of such particular situation. A use of deadly force is “necessary” when the officer/agent has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer/agent or to another person.

6. An Authorized Officer/Agent may have to rapidly escalate or de-escalate through use of force options, depending on the totality of facts and circumstances of the particular situation.

7. Based on the totality of circumstances, different officers/agents may have different responses to the same situation, any of which may be both reasonable and necessary. The level of force applied must reflect the totality of circumstances surrounding the situation, including the presence of imminent danger to the officer/agent or others.

8. If feasible, and if to do so would not increase the danger to the officer/agent or others, a verbal warning to submit to the authority of the officer/agent shall be given prior to the use of force. If a particular situation allows for the issuance of a verbal warning, the officer/agent:
a. Should have a reasonable basis to believe that the subject can comprehend and comply with the warning; and
b. Allow sufficient time between the warning and the use of force to give the subject a reasonable opportunity to voluntarily comply with the warning.

9. Following any incident involving the use of force, Authorized Officers/Agents shall seek medical assistance for any person who appears, or claims to be, injured.

See also: DHS OIG — CBP Use of Force Training and Actions To Address Use of Force Incidents (PDF; redacted)

CRS — Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief

May 19, 2014 Comments off

Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Firearms are one of the leading causes of deaths for law enforcement officers feloniously killed in the line of duty. Since FY1999, Congress has provided funding to state and local law enforcement agencies to help them purchase armor vests for their officers. The Matching Grant Program for Law Enforcement Armor Vests (hereinafter, “BPV program”) provides grants to state, local, and tribal governments to purchase armor vests for use by law enforcement officers and court officers. The BPV program was first authorized by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-181). It has been subsequently reauthorized four times. The most recent reauthorization expired in FY2012. Since FY1999, appropriations for the program have generally been between $25 million and $30 million, with the exception of FY2012 and FY2013, when appropriations were less than $23 million.

Congress is considering legislation that would reauthorize the BPV program. S. 933, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2013, would, among other things, reauthorize appropriations for the program at $15 million for FY2014 and FY2015 and $30 million per fiscal year for FY2016-FY2018.

Armor vests can only save lives when they are actually worn. Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that an increasing percentage of police departments and sheriffs’ offices have instituted “mandatory wear” policies. Several factors can affect whether a law enforcement officer will wear an armor vest. Safety concerns are the most significant, followed by whether the officer’s department has a mandatory wear policy. Comfort and fit are also a factor.

New From the GAO

May 15, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office

Report

1. Law Enforcement Body Armor: Status of DOJ’s Efforts to Address GAO Recommendations. GAO-14-610R, May 14.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-610R

Testimonies

1. Critical Infrastructure Protection: Observations on DHS Efforts to Implement and Manage its Chemical Security Program, by Stephen L. Caldwell, director, homeland security and justice, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-14-608T, May 14.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-608T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/663171.pdf

2. Disaster Resilience: Actions Are Underway, but Federal Fiscal Exposure Highlights the Need for Continued Attention to Longstanding Challenges, by Chris Currie, acting director, homeland security and justice, before the Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations, and the District of Columbia, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-14-603T, May 14.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-603T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/663180.pdf

FBI Releases 2013 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

May 12, 2014 Comments off

FBI Releases 2013 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Preliminary statistics released today by the FBI show that 27 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2013, a decrease of more than 44 percent when compared to the 49 officers killed in 2012. By region, 15 officers died as a result of criminal acts that occurred in the South, six officers in the West, four officers in the Midwest, and two in the Northeast.

By circumstance, seven officers were killed as a result of ambushes (four during unprovoked attacks and three due to entrapment/premeditated situations). Five officers died from injuries inflicted as a result of answering disturbance calls (three of which were domestic disturbances), and five officers were engaged in tactical situations. Three officers sustained fatal injuries while they were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, three were conducting traffic pursuits or stops, and three officers were responding to robberies in progress or pursuing robbery suspects. One officer was killed as a result of an investigative activity.

Offenders used firearms in 26 of the 27 felonious deaths. These included 19 incidents with handguns, five incidents with rifles, and two incidents with shotguns. One victim officer was killed with a vehicle used as a weapon.

Nineteen of the slain officers were confirmed to be wearing body armor at the times of the incidents. Six of the officers fired their own weapons, and three officers attempted to fire their service weapons. Two victim officers had their weapons stolen; one officer was killed with his own weapon.

Putting a Value on Crime Analysts: Considerations for Law Enforcement Executives

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Putting a Value on Crime Analysts: Considerations for Law Enforcement Executives (PDF)
Source: Vera Institute of Justice (via Bureau of Justice Assistance

Crime analysis has become a common feature of U.S. law enforcement agencies. According to a 2008 Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) survey, 89 percent of responding agencies reported having staff whose primary or secondary duty was crime analysis, and the number of analysts has likely increased since then.

But in light of ongoing budget woes, elected officials are asking law enforcement executives to explain how civilian positions, especially those of crime analysts, contribute to the goals and mission of policing. Law enforcement professionals want to know how they can articulate the value of crime analysts, and whether cost-benefit analysis (CBA) can help demonstrate a return on investment for these positions. To put the bottom line up front: the field has not provided many cost-benefit studies of crime analysts to date.

This paper offers guidance for police executives grappling with this issue. The first section gives an overview of the steps involved in CBA and the challenges of using this technique. The second section poses questions about crime analysts that police executives need to answer as part of conducting a CBA. The final section of the paper discusses key considerations when performing a CBA of crime analysts.

Lost and Found: Understanding Technologies Used to Locate Missing Persons with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Lost and Found: Understanding Technologies Used to Locate Missing Persons with Alzheimer’s or Dementia (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect not only those who are living with the disease; these afflictions also impact the caregivers, law enforcement, and even neighbors. As the disease progresses, physical and mental capabilities are negatively impacted, short-term memory loss increases, and a person with Alzheimer’s might begin living in the past. As the person attempts to return to former places of employment or residences, they often get lost and need assistance returning to where they are currently residing. It is never possible to predict if or when a person with Alzheimer’s will wander or be unable to navigate familiar routes. Initiating a search for a person with Alzheimer’s can never be delayed, and conducting such searches can prove to be costly and consume extreme amounts of agency resources. It is crucial for law enforcement officers and other first responders to be familiar with and understand the signs of dementia and be aware of passive identification products used to identify persons with Alzheimer’s. In addition to passive identification techniques, there are technologies and products available that can be used to actively locate an individual who is lost.

Cellular location techniques and Global Positioning System devices are examples of proven methods for aiding law enforcement in a search for a missing person with dementia. This document will provide a technical description of these technologies and outline some of the advantages and disadvantages when employing these products. It will also provide comprehensive lists of locating devices that are currently available. Provided in each section is a short technical description of the technology and its advantages and the disadvantages. Appendix I and Appendix II provide a list of passive and active locating devices currently available.

Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

The Boston Police Department (BPD) has long embraced both community policing and the use of social media. The department put its experience to good and highly visible use in April 2013 during the dramatic, rapidly developing investigation that followed the deadly explosion of two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. BPD successfully used Twitter to keep the public informed about the status of the investigation, to calm nerves and request assistance, to correct mistaken information reported by the press, and to ask for public restraint in the tweeting of information from police scanners. This demonstrated the level of trust and interaction that a department and a community can attain online. In the aftermath of the investigation, BPD was “applauded for leading an honest conversation with the public during a time of crisis in a way that no police department has done before.”

Police resources in Canada, 2013

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Police resources in Canada, 2013
Source: Statistics Canada

In a period of fiscal pressures coupled with growing policing responsibilities, discussions regarding the economics of policing are taking place. Contributing to these discussions are police services, the public sector, academics, the private sector, as well as the general public. The discussions seek to identify the nature of and reasons for police expenditures, as well as ways to reduce costs while continuing to meet police responsibilities regarding public safety (Public Safety Canada 2013).

Using data from the Police Administration Survey (see the “Survey descriptions” section for details), this Juristat article will focus on the most recent findings regarding the rate of police strength and police expenditures. The Police Administration Survey captures police-reported data on the number of police officers in Canada by rank and sex, as well as civilian employees, based on a snapshot date (which is May 15, 2013 for the most recent data). Data on hiring, departures, and eligibility to retire in this report are based on either the 2012 calendar year or the 2012/2013 fiscal year, depending on the police service.

Information from this survey is provided for Canada, the provinces and territories and census metropolitan areas (CMAs). In addition, this article provides information on workplace mobility within police services, including the hiring of and departures by police, and eligibility to retire. Finally, it summarizes data on the characteristics of police officers, including gender, age group, and Aboriginal and visible minority status. To provide a more complete picture of the state of policing in Canada, the following contextual information are included: policing responsibilities and strategies within the economics of policing discussions; international data on police personnel and gender from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and wage information from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS).

New Report: 20,000 California Students Arrested or Ticketed in 2009-10, Vast Majority Are Youth of Color

March 27, 2014 Comments off

New Report: 20,000 California Students Arrested or Ticketed in 2009-10, Vast Majority Are Youth of Color
Source: The Labor/Community Strategy Center (Community Rights Campaign)

The Community Rights Campaign (CRC) and the Black Organizing Project (based in Oakland) released a report that presents startling new data on the role of police officers in schools and the need to address this statewide problem within the new Local Control Funding Formula.

“The New ‘Separate and Unequal’: Using California’s Local Control Funding Formula to Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline” highlights the dramatic expansion in school police forces across the state, with many districts now employing more than 50 police officers. As a result, many schools now rely on law enforcement personnel to handle routine school disciplinary matters, resulting in well over 30,000 California students being referred to the police in just one school year. At least 20,000 students were arrested or given a police ticket, and over 90% of them were youth of color.

Officer Involved Shootings in Smaller Departments

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Officer Involved Shootings in Smaller Departments (PDF)
Source: International Association of Chiefs of Police

The old adage, “it can’t happen here” is not a philosophy that we, as police man-agers, should consider as we provide leadership to our organizations. For many smaller law enforcement agencies, the unique nature of policing in our commu-nities often equates to traffic enforcement, an occasional daytime burglary, and the rare cases involving robbery or assault. As executives in smaller agencies, we continuously attempt to balance increasing service demands with shrinking budgets, while preparing our organizations as best we can for those things that ‘can’t happen here!’

Street Stops and Police Legitimacy: Teachable Moments in Young Urban Men’s Legal Socialization

February 28, 2014 Comments off

Street Stops and Police Legitimacy: Teachable Moments in Young Urban Men’s Legal Socialization
Source: Yale Law School (via SSRN)

An examination of the influence of street stops on the legal socialization of young men showed an association between the number of police stops and a diminished sense of police legitimacy. This association however is not only a consequence of the number of street or car stops they experience or of the degree of police intrusion that occurs during those stops. Rather, the estimated impact of involuntary contact with the police is mediated by evaluations of the fairness of police actions and judgments about whether the police are acting lawfully. Whether the police are viewed as exercising their authority fairly and lawfully directly shapes respondent’s decision acceptance and the impact of stops on respondent’s general judgments about police legitimacy. Fairness and lawfulness judgments, in turn, are influenced by the number of stops or the degree of police intrusion during those stops. Similarly, judgments of justice and lawfulness mediate the estimated influence of judgments of the general character of police behavior in the community on general perceptions of police legitimacy. These results suggest that the widespread use of street stops undermines legitimacy. Lowered legitimacy has an influence on both law abidingness and the willingness to cooperate with legal authorities. However, the findings also show that it is not only police streets or police conduct during such stops that matters per se, but more importantly public perceptions of police injustice/illegality during those stops. The results suggest that police legitimacy is shaped by how fairly/legally the police are viewed as exercising their authority.

CRS — Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program

February 25, 2014 Comments off

Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via MSPB Watch)

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program provides three different types of benefits to public safety officers and their survivors: a death, a disability, and an education benefit. The PSOB program is administered by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s), PSOB Office.

Law Enforcement Fatalities Dip to Lowest Level in Six Decades

February 4, 2014 Comments off

Law Enforcement Fatalities Dip to Lowest Level in Six Decades (PDF)
Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

According to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 111 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2013, an eight percent decrease from 2012, when 121 officers were killed. This was the fewest number of fatalities for the law enforcement profession since 1959 when 110 officers died.

Traffic-related fatalities were the leading cause of officer fatalities in 2013, killing 46 officers. Thirty-one officers were killed in automobile crashes, 11 officers were struck and killed outside their vehicle and four officers were killed in motorcycle crashes. Traffic-related fatalities decreased four percent from 2012 when 48 officers were killed.

Suicide by Cop Fact Sheet

January 13, 2014 Comments off

Suicide by Cop Fact Sheet (PDF)
Source: American Association of Suicidology

Suicide-by-cop (SbC): A colloquial term used to describe a suicidal incident whereby the suicidal subject engages in a consciously, life-threatening behavior to the degree that it compels a police officer to respond with deadly force.

Often occurs because the individual has the intent to die, but does not want to kill him/herself.

Law Enforcement — Preliminary 2013 Fatality Statistics

December 26, 2013 Comments off

Preliminary 2013 Fatality Statistics
Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Preliminary 2013 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities

December 24, 2013 vs. December 24, 2012

2013
2012 % Change
Total Fatalities 109 118 -8%
Firearms-related 33 49 -33%
Traffic-related 45 46 -2%
Other Causes 31 23 +3

Active shooters: is law enforcement ready for a Mumbai style attack?

December 3, 2013 Comments off

Active shooters: is law enforcement ready for a Mumbai style attack? (PDF)
Source: Naval Postgraduate School

Between April 16, 2007, and December 14, 20 12, the United States has seen 25 mass shootings, seven of which occurred in 2012. A report by United States Department of Homeland Security, in 2009, suggested that the United States will be the target of a terrorist act that could cause a high number of casualties.

The November 26, 2008, attack on Mumbai is a transparent example of how determined terrorists, trained to die fighting, can bring a large metropolitan city to its knees. It is entirely probable that Mumbai – type attacks could occur in the United States. Since the local law enforcement respond to attacks in progress, any active shooter event would be handled by the local jurisdiction. Many law enforcement agencies have begun to incorporate tactical plans to respond to Mumbai – type terrorist a ttacks.

This thesis focused on police preparedness of select large metropolitan law enforcement agencies for potential Mumbai – type terrorist attacks. A comparative analysis of these police agencies was conducted, which showed that the frequency of trainin g was found to be varying and inadequate by these agencies. A similar concern was that none of the agencies had equipped all the police officers with rifles, which were deemed critical to engage well – equipped active shooters.

It is the conclusion of the thesis that gaps in preparedness exist and law enforcement organizations have room for improvement. It was also concluded that agencies need to enhance communication capability between neighboring jurisdictions and focus on triage of the victims during t he early stages of attacks when medical personnel would be unable to approach.

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