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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.

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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).

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