Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXV, Nos. 511, 512 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY May 15/31, 1999

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Taking it personal in Littleton; TV crimefighter is cut down; belated honors; DEA museum is something to snort about; guns from the sky.
Painful admission: Hartford chief admits to racism in the department.
Casting a wider net: Running from the law gets harder in KC.
Anteing up: Union banks on better educated cops.
Change of tune: With prisons crammed, drug treatment gets a second look as alternate sanction.
Counterfeiters’ best friend: The advantage of sophisticated computers, printers & copiers.
“I cannot tell a lie”: Even if you could, would a cop be able to tell the difference?
Change of tune, Part II: Canadian chiefs say it’s time for marijuana decrim.
LEN interview: Prof. George Kelling, co-author of “Fixing Broken Windows.”
Advice & consent: New Jersey avoids a civil rights suit over racial profiling.
A group of their own: NJ’s minority troopers say their union doesn’t represent them.
Forum: After Littleton, we’re all on the hook; confronting school violence by doing what works.
Upcoming Events: Opportunities for professional development.

 
College degrees & race bias
Suit says NJSP requirement slams door on minority groups

     The question of college education for police, an oft-debated ideal that has loomed over the profession for decades, is under scrutiny once again, and for all-too-familiar reason: the assertion that requiring police to have a college degree discriminates against minority groups.
     The latest challenge has arisen in New Jersey, where the state chapter of the NAACP claims that a four-year college degree requirement for all State Police candidates is not job-related and disproportionately excludes black and Hispanic applicants...


Life after Diallo: Officials ponder why NYPD arrest numbers are down

     Although a cause-and-effect scenario seems to be at work in the declining number of arrests made in New York City since the fatal shooting in February of Amadou Diallo, law enforcement and city officials continue to search for a theorem that would explain what, if anything, is affecting job performance.
     Within weeks of the Diallo incident, in which four plainclothes officers fired 41 times at the unarmed street peddler, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced a 62-percent decrease in the number of arrests being made by the department’s Street Crime Unit. Citing statistics supplied by Police Commissioner Howard Safir, Giuliani said that from Feb. 4 to March 24, Street Crime officers made 291 arrests, down from 705 during the same period in 1998 and 775 the previous year. Stop-and-frisk reports also fell dramatically, from 27,061 in 1998 to just 3,502 in the first 10 weeks of this year...


NYPD’s “streetwise” cultural sensitivity training gets renewed impetus

     Cultural sensitivity training for rookie police officers in New York City had been in place well before the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo in February, but in the wake of that incident a five-part curriculum developed by a public/private partnership has been raised to perhaps an even higher level of importance.
     The training program, called “Streetwise: Language, Culture and Police Work in New York City,” is now in its second year of funding by the Justice Department. The curriculum was created under the auspices of the New York State Regional Community Policing Institute (RCPI), one of 27 such institutes around the nation that enhance and provide training in community oriented policing and cultural diversity...


Painful admission
After shooting, Chief concedes & vows to root out racism within department

     After remaining virtually silent for weeks after the shooting of a black 14-year-old by a patrol officer, Hartford, Conn., Police Chief Joseph F. Croughwell Jr. made the stunning admission that he was convinced that racism had taken root within his department.
     Croughwell, who is white, had made no public statement since the boy, Aquan Salmon, was killed on April 13...


Running from the law is about to get harder in KCMo area

     Law enforcement agencies in the Northland area around Kansas City, Mo., staged a mock robbery in April to test a new strategy which will help them capture criminals who use evasive maneuvers to elude police as they race through jurisdictions.
     Operation Northland Crime Net was devised by Clay County Sheriff Bob Boydston, Kansas City Police Chief Rick Easley and other Northland law enforcement officials to counteract the difficulties the agencies sometimes face in warning each other that a perpetrator is headed for their area...


Paying their way:

Union banks on better educated cops

     New York City’s Patrolman’s Benevolent Association has launched an educational scholarship program that will cover up to $1,000 of tuition costs per semester for any officer who wishes to attain a bachelor’s degree or pursue graduate study, a union official said in May.
     During a recent meeting of the organization’s board of trustees, it was universally agreed that in “a more perfect world,” officers would be better trained and educated, said David Hickey, administrator of health and welfare benefits. “That’s something we can all agree with, no matter what side of the house [you’re] coming from,” he told Law Enforcement News...


Rethinking conventional wisdom:

Imprisonment giving way to treatment for druggies

     Prompted by the fiscal imperatives imposed by exploding prison populations, state lawmakers are giving compulsory drug treatment and intensive supervision a renewed look as a viable alternative to mandatory minimum prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders.
     With some 400,000 of the nation’s 1.8 million convicts addicted to drugs, Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, has said he wants to reduce the prison population by 250,000 — largely through programs like the one now underway in Arizona...


Police Corps: Plenty of money, very few takers
Courts look askance at police playing to the media

     In the five years since Congress authorized the creation of the Police Corps, which offers scholarships to college students who agree to work as law enforcement officers for a limited period, the program remains a well-funded venture with few takers.
     Only several hundred Police Corps cadets are currently working in a handful of departments around the country, despite the longstanding and powerful advocacy of the program’s best-known champion, attorney Adam Walinsky, and the support of Congress, which allocated it $30 million from 1996 through 2000...


Computers aid new wave of counterfeiters

     Spreading around funny money they create with color printers and new computer technology, teen-age and adult amateur counterfeiters are becoming an increasing problem for the Secret Service, which has seen the number of arrests for the crime nearly double in the past three years.
     According to James Macklin, a spokesman for the agency, the proliferation of what are known as P-notes has increased the workload of agents, who must now crack smaller and more numerous counterfeiting operations...


Did DC cops ignore drug deals while working off-duty at nightclubs?

     Washington, D.C., Police Chief Charles Ramsey has promised swift action if an internal investigation reveals that officers working off-duty at a local nightclub looked the other way while patrons engaged in illegal drug activities.
     The incident involved four uniformed officers who were captured on tape in May by local television station WTTG-TV, which used a hidden camera to record the goings on at a downtown club called Nation. The officers are seen standing around while clubgoers seemingly purchased Ecstasy and other illicit substances in full view of them...


Not as plain as the nose on your face:

Spotting a liar is no easy task for police

     Unless their pants are on fire, liars are as difficult to identify for the vast majority of trained law enforcement personnel as they are for presumably untrained civilians, according to a new study by a psychologist who tested thousands of local, state and Federal officers to determine how accurately they could separate the honest from the dishonest through nonverbal cues and gestures.
     In research published in the journal Psychological Science, Dr. Paul Ekman, a professor of psychology at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, found that when he and his colleagues tested approximately 4,000 people in law enforcement and criminal justice, including judges, Federal officers, CIA agents and municipal police, they demonstrated little more skill than those not in the profession at spotting a lie...


Time for pot decrim has come, Canada chiefs say

     Each year, tens of thousands of Canadians are criminally charged for possession of small amounts of marijuana, and now the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, citing the legal repercussions for those individuals, has recommended that they face substantial fines instead of arrests.
     Of the 72,000 arrests for drug offenses in Canada in 1998, roughly 70 percent were for marijuana. Of those, 62 percent, or 49,000, were for simple possession, said Brocksville, Ont., Police Chief Barry King, who chairs the CAPC’s drug abuse committee...


Minority troopers, angry at union, may form own group

Doj probe of NJSP profiling ends in decree

     Arguing that the State Troopers Fraternal Association does not address their concerns over hiring, retention and promotion, as many as half of New Jersey’s minority troopers have begun the process of incorporating a separate organization to act as a watchdog group.
     “They’ve proven to us that they just can’t deal with us,” said one minority trooper who spoke with The Philadelphia Inquirer on the condition of anonymity. A State Police regulation, he said, prohibits him from speaking to the media about agency policy. “The consensus is that it’s time for us to set ourselves up with an association of people who are like us and can deal with our concerns...”


Minority troopers, angry at union, may form own group

     Arguing that the State Troopers Fraternal Association does not address their concerns over hiring, retention and promotion, as many as half of New Jersey’s minority troopers have begun the process of incorporating a separate organization to act as a watchdog group.
     “They’ve proven to us that they just can’t deal with us,” said one minority trooper who spoke with The Philadelphia Inquirer on the condition of anonymity. A State Police regulation, he said, prohibits him from speaking to the media about agency policy. “The consensus is that it’s time for us to set ourselves up with an association of people who are like us and can deal with our concerns...”