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DOJ OIG — The Handling of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Allegations by the Department’s Law Enforcement Components

March 27, 2015 Comments off

The Handling of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Allegations by the Department’s Law Enforcement Components (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General
From Executive Summary (PDF):

\The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted this review to assess how the Department of Justice’s (Department) four law enforcement components respond to sexual misconduct and harassment allegations made against their employees. This review examined the nature, frequency, reporting, investigation, and adjudication of such allegations in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and the United States Marshals Service (USMS).

The OIG’s ability to conduct this review was significantly impacted and delayed by the repeated difficulties we had in obtaining relevant information from both the FBI and DEA as we were initiating this review in mid-2013.1 Initially, the FBI and DEA refused to provide the OIG with unredacted information that was responsive to our requests, citing the Privacy Act of 1974 and concerns for victims and witnesses as the reasons for the extensive redactions, despite the fact that the OIG is authorized under the Inspector General Act to receive such information.2

After months of protracted discussions with management at both agencies, the DEA and FBI provided the information without extensive redactions; but we found that the information was still incomplete. Ultimately, based on a review of information in the OIG Investigations Division databases, we determined that a material number of allegations from both DEA and FBI were not included in the original responses to our request for the information.

We were also concerned by an apparent decision by DEA to withhold information regarding a particular open misconduct case. The OIG was not given access to this case file information until several months after our request, and only after the misconduct case was closed. Once we became aware of the information, we interviewed DEA employees who said that they were given the impression that they were not to discuss this case with the OIG while the case remained open. The OIG was entitled to receive all such information from the outset, and the failure to provide it unnecessarily delayed our work.

Therefore, we cannot be completely confident that the FBI and DEA provided us with all information relevant to this review. As a result, our report reflects the findings and conclusions we reached based on the information made available to us.

Justice Department Announces Findings of Two Civil Rights Investigations in Ferguson, Missouri

March 4, 2015 Comments off

Justice Department Announces Findings of Two Civil Rights Investigations in Ferguson, Missouri
Source: U.S. Department of Justice

The Justice Department announced the findings of its two civil rights investigations related to Ferguson, Missouri, today. The Justice Department found that the Ferguson Police Department (FPD) engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the First, Fourth, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution. The Justice Department also announced that the evidence examined in its independent, federal investigation into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown does not support federal civil rights charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

“As detailed in our report, this investigation found a community that was deeply polarized, and where deep distrust and hostility often characterized interactions between police and area residents,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Our investigation showed that Ferguson police officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause, and using unreasonable force against them. Now that our investigation has reached its conclusion, it is time for Ferguson’s leaders to take immediate, wholesale and structural corrective action. The report we have issued and the steps we have taken are only the beginning of a necessarily resource-intensive and inclusive process to promote reconciliation, to reduce and eliminate bias, and to bridge gaps and build understanding.”

The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Private Law Enforcement: Evidence from University Police

February 11, 2015 Comments off

The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Private Law Enforcement: Evidence from University Police (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Over a million people in the United States are employed in private security and law enforcement, yet very little is known about the effects of private police on crime. The current study examines the relationship between a privately-funded university police force and crime in a large U.S. city. Following an expansion of the jurisdictional boundary of the private police force, we see no short-term change in crime. However, using a geographic regression discontinuity approach, we find large impacts of private police on public safety, with violent crime in particular decreasing. These contradictory results appear to be a consequence of delayed effect of private police on crime.

Alzheimer’s Aware: A Guide for Implementing a Law Enforcement Program to Address Alzheimer’s in the Community

February 10, 2015 Comments off

Alzheimer’s Aware: A Guide for Implementing a Law Enforcement Program to Address Alzheimer’s in the Community (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

As the nation’s population continues to age, there will be more cases of Alzheimer’s disease and therefore, more and more opportunities where those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia may come in contact with local law enforcement and public safety officials.

Law enforcement could become involved with individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers under a variety of every‐day circumstances. Below are a few examples of behaviors or situations that could get the attention of law enforcement:

  • Exhibiting erratic driving or breaking general rules of the road
  • Crossing a road way or walking through traffic seemingly unaware of the danger
  • Wandering with a dazed/lost like appearance
  • Sitting in a car along the side of the road (perhaps the car is out of gas)
  • Being out of place in a particular situation (on a hiking trail/park late at night)
  • Inappropriately dressed for the situation or weather (not wearing a coat in winter, or inappropriately barefoot)
  • A call to police regarding missing items or a “break‐in”
  • Inability to follow or understand simple requests (May I see your driver’s license and car registration, please?)
  • Difficulty interacting appropriately with others
  • A domestic violence or physical abuse call that turns out to be a situation with a caregiver and an individual with Alzheimer’s disease
  • A shop‐lifting accusation, “stealing” from local businesses but actually believing they paid for the item or that the item is already theirs
  • Responding to a call for a welfare check and having concerns about abuse, neglect or domestic violence, based on observations

Whatever the situation, it can be difficult for an officer to know what to do, and how to address the problem, and, as the world’s population ages, these types of situations will only increase in frequency and will impact all law enforcement agencies at some point or another. Many law enforcement agencies across the nation are already working to increase positive outcomes when someone with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia is reported missing, or when an officer encounters someone with Alzheimer’s, or a caregiver, during the normal course of their duties, through specialized trainings, resources and policy development which may include:

  • Recognizing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Learning best practices in approaching and communicating with persons who have Alzheimer’s
  • Being aware of situations where an officer might encounter individuals with Alzheimer’s and effective ways to respond during those interactions
  • Insights and best practices in conducting searches for missing persons with Alzheimer’s – which is different than the manner one would plan or conduct a search for other missing persons

Social Media: Legal Challenges and Pitfalls for Law Enforcement Agencies

February 2, 2015 Comments off

Social Media: Legal Challenges and Pitfalls for Law Enforcement Agencies
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Current statistics regarding individuals’ use of social media are staggering. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) Center for Social Media website, Facebook users share approximately 684,478 pieces of content every minute, and the average user creates 90 pieces of content each month, including links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, and videos. Each day 1 million accounts are added to Twitter, and Instagram records approximately a billion “likes” for material posted on the site.

Given the thorough integration of social media into peoples’ lives and the ease with which users instantly share their thoughts, opinions, and “status” with family, friends, and strangers, not surprisingly, some users will post items that other people may find inappropriate. This becomes particularly problematic when an employee of a public safety agency posts or is depicted in such material. Because of the significant adverse effects public safety employees’ misuse of social media can have on them as witnesses, on agency operations, and on the department’s relationship with the community it serves, many police agencies have addressed their employees’ use of social media, whether proactively in the form of policy, reactively in the face of an incident, or both. A former chief of police in Smithfield, Virginia, and past president of the IACP stated, “This is something that all police chiefs around the country, if you’re not dealing with it, you better deal with it.”

See also: 2014 Social Media Survey (International Association of Chiefs of Police)
See also: Making Social Media Part of the Uniform: How policing solutions use #socialmedia to #buildcommunities and #fightcrime (PDF; International Association of Chiefs of Police)

Federal Justice Statistics, 2011–12

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Federal Justice Statistics, 2011–12
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Describes the annual activity, workloads, and outcomes associated with the federal criminal justice system from arrest to imprisonment, using data from the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC), and Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Tables and text describe arrests and investigations by law enforcement agency and growth rates by type of offense and federal judicial district. This report examines trends in drug arrests by the DEA. It also provides the number of offenders returning to federal prison within 3 years of release and includes the most recently available data on sentences imposed and their lengths by type of offense. See also Federal Justice Statistics, 2011 – Statistical Tables and Federal Justice Statistics, 2012 – Statistical Tables .

Highlights:

  • At yearend 2012, 414,065 persons were under some form of federal correctional control 62% were in confinement and 38% were under supervision in the community. „„
  • Fifteen percent of federal prisoners released in 2010 were returned to federal prison within 3 years. Over half (54%) were returned for supervision violations. „„
  • In 2012, five federal judicial districts along the U.S.-Mexico border accounted for 60% of federal arrests, 53% of suspects investigated, and 41% of offenders sentenced to prison. „„
  • In 2012, 3,171 suspects were arrested for a sex offense. Defendants convicted of a felony sex offense were the most likely (97%) to receive a prison sentence following conviction. „„
  • During 2012, 172,248 suspects were booked by the U.S. Marshals Service, a 2% decline from 179,034 booked in 2010. „„

Campus Law Enforcement, 2011-12

January 26, 2015 Comments off

Campus Law Enforcement, 2011-12
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Presents findings from a BJS survey of campus law enforcement agencies covering the 2011-12 academic year. The report focuses primarily on 4-year colleges and universities enrolling 2,500 or more students. Agencies serving public and private campuses are compared by number and type of employees, agency functions, arrest jurisdiction, patrol coverage, agreements with local law enforcement, requirements for new officers, use of nonlethal weapons, types of computers and information systems, community policing initiatives, use of special units and programs, and emergency preparedness activities.

Highlights:

  • About 75% of the campuses were using armed officers, compared to 68% during the 2004-05 school year.
  • About 9 in 10 public campuses used sworn police officers (92%), compared to about 4 in 10 private campuses (38%).
  • Most sworn campus police officers were authorized to use a sidearm (94%), chemical or pepper spray (94%), and a baton (93%).
  • Most sworn campus police officers had arrest (86%) and patrol (81%) jurisdictions that extended beyond campus boundaries.
  • About 7 in 10 campus law enforcement agencies had a memorandum of understanding or other formal written agreement with outside law enforcement agencies.
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