Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVIII, No. 572 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY February 28, 2002

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Street-smart chief; hand-picked to succeed; off to the parks; holding pattern over New Jersey; time to say goodbye.
Attention-grabber: Maryland police volunteer is touted as a national model.
Big Apple-bound: Already an out-of-town success, 311 may be headed for its New York debut.
Strength in numbers: MColorado agencies pool efforts for state’s first computer-crime lab.
No laughing matter: Montana officials foil revolution plot by hapless militia group.
A buck for their troubles: Videotaped cops win lawsuit, but little in damages.
Up to the task? Study says state & local tech capabilities need anti-terror upgrades.
An exercise in fatality: North Carolina deputy kills soldier during Special Forces training.
Forum: dose of post-9/11 reality for public awareness & the war on terrorism.
Federal File: Anti-terrorism & homeland security developments at the federal level.
Defending the homeland: Anti-terror plans take shape for states & localities.

 
A study in pink & blue
AIntegration of gay cops nearly a ‘non-issue’ in SDPD

     Openly gay and lesbian individuals serving as police officers are on their way to becoming a “non-issue” at the San Diego Police Department, to the betterment of the agency, according to new research that examines the decade-long shift from what was once a largely unfavorable environment for homosexuals to one that, while not without its problems, is far more inclusive.

     The 43-page report, “Pink and Blue: Outcomes Associated with the Integration of Open Gay and Lesbian Personnel in the San Diego Police Department,” found that fully integrating gay and lesbian officers has improved the agency’s quality and its responsiveness to the community and has not had any overall adverse impact on performance, morale or effectiveness. The key, according to the report, has been the strong leadership shown by the three police chiefs who led the SDPD during the study period — Bob Burgreen, Jerry Sanders and David Bejarano...


As Albuquerque switches to NIBRS, Memphis offers tips from experience

      If the Memphis Police Department’s recent experience in switching over to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is any barometer, then police in Albuquerque have a long road ahead of them before their conversion from summary to incident-based tracking is complete.

      The Albuquerque department is in the process of making the switch from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system and expects its crime statistics in 2003 to reflect that change. Numbers released by the department in February showed a zero-percent change in crime rates from 2000 to last year. That compares with a 3.8-percent decline in the city’s overall crime rate from 1999 to 2000. In 2001, the biggest increase was in murders, which rose by 6 percent over the previous year. Crimes showing declines last year included arson, auto theft and burglary...


Fear of solicitation curbs Maine legislators’ vested interest in K9’s

     A dog may be man’s best friend, but that friendship only goes so far in the Maine Legislature, where a 12-year-old girl’s effort to raise money to equip police dogs with bulletproof vests ran headlong into a state law barring private fund-raising for police causes.

     Some legislators, while sympathetic, said they would probably fight a proposed change in state law to allow private citizens to raise funds for police causes, on the grounds that such activities could be perceived — whether rightly or wrongly — as coercive...


Getting White House attention:
Maryland police volunteer program is touted

      A volunteer program that began more than a decade ago as a way of easing the workload of overburdened officers thrust the Anne Arundel County, Md., Police Department into the limelight recently when the initiative was cited by the White House as one of seven models for the nation.

      The county’s Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program will be among the initiatives to serve as best-practice guides for other agencies seeking to create their own initiatives under the Citizen Corps, one of three programs included in a new civilian service organization called the USA Freedom Corps announced by President Bush in his State of the Union address...


311, already an out-of-town success, may be headed for its New York debut

      If all goes according to plan, within a year New Yorkers will be using a single, three-digit number to access at least 40 existing help lines for a wide variety of city services. In other words, 311 is coming to the Big Apple.

     “It’s a big challenge in New York,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told The New York Times. “We have enormous volume, we have a complex city, we have many different languages spoken and we have a populace that rightly expects to have government be responsive in ways that, in many other cities, government is not...”


Colorado agencies seek strength in numbers with new computer lab

      What federal, state and local jurisdictions in Colorado could not do alone, they are hoping to be able to achieve together under the auspices of the state’s first central computer-crime laboratory.

      Eight government agencies — the FBI, the IRS, the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the Customs Service, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Denver Police Department and the sheriff’s offices of Arapahoe and Douglas counties — have assigned one member each to work at the Colorado Regional Computer Forensic Lab...


Montana officials say militia’s revolution plot was almost laughable

      If it weren’t for the thousands of rounds of ammunition and the arsenal of weapons, officials in Kalispell, Mont., say a militia cell’s plot to kill 26 law enforcement officers and thus foment revolution would have been be laughable.

      Last month, two trailers stuffed with 30,000 rounds of ammunition, 35 guns, exploding booby traps, body armor, pipe bombs, survivalist gear and military rations were found by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office after a defector from the group known as Project Seven tipped the agency to the plot. It took detectives three days to catalog the arsenal...


Videotaped cops get a buck for their troubles

      A federal jury in Oklahoma this month awarded $1 in damages to nine of 11 Owasso police officers who sued the city in 2000, claiming that the audio- and video-taping of their conversations in the squad room violated their right to privacy.

      According to the complaint brought by Officers Mark Cleveland, Shane Davis, John Edwards, Darryl Jones, Richard Dean Parsely, David Renfro, Tracy Townsend and James Leigh, and former dispatcher Carla Stone, electronic surveillance was used without their permission by Lieut. Rick DeArmond and then-Acting Chief Cliff Motto to monitor their private discussions, including labor union activities on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police. The taping took place on March 19 and April 29, 2000...


Laying groundwork:
Law enforcement tech capabilities need a boost

      The technological capabilities of state and local law enforcement agencies must be upgraded before federal anti-terrorism initiatives calling for high-tech measures can be implemented throughout all levels of the nation’s justice system, according to a report issued by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and SEARCH, a criminal justice research consortium.

      That finding and other key observations made by a focus group of experts from both the public and private sectors during a day-long conference in December were released this month in “Assessing the Implications of the Terrorist Attacks on America for Justice Information and Technology...”


An exercise in fatality:
Deputy kills soldier in Special Forces training

      One soldier was killed and another wounded this month when a Moore County, N.C., sheriff’s deputy believed the two, who were dressed in civilian clothes as part of a training drill, were threatening his life.

     The chain of events began on Feb. 23 when Deputy Randall Butler spotted a pickup truck about 30 miles from Fort Bragg with someone crouching in the back. When he pulled the vehicle over, he noticed a duffel bag with a disassembled M-4 carbine inside. One of the three men in the truck then came at him. Butler tried to disarm him with pepper spray, then opened fire, killing 1st Lieut. Tallas Tomeny and injuring Sgt. Stephen Phelps...


Federal File

On the perimeter

      Military troops will be used to beef up security at the nation’s borders, working in conjunction with the Border Patrol and the Customs Service. The operation will eventually be overseen by the new military commander for homeland defense, a post expected to go to four-star Army Gen. John Keane. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, were warned by members of Congress, however, that their plan for the Northern Command (NORCOM) to take over the responsibilities of the North American Aerospace Defense Command could prompt turf battles with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge. As outlined by Rumsfeld and Myers, NORCOM would provide combat air patrols over major cities. It would also be responsible for organizing the regular military, the reserves, the National Guard and the Coast Guard to respond to natural disasters and “chemical, biological, nuclear or major explosive incidents in the U.S.,” said Myers. Some lawmakers were quick to note that the 19th century Posse Comitatus Act forbids the use of armed forces for police activities within the nation’s borders unless authorized by Congress or the President. Rumsfeld said the military operation at the borders will be temporary. First responders to emergencies will still be police and fire departments.

Billions for defense

     The Defense Department and intelligence agencies will get the largest share, $9.3 billion, of the $22.2 billion the Government plans to spend this year for homeland defense — a 29-percent increase from 2001, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The next largest share — $3.1 billion — will be allocated to Health and Human Services, mostly for the stockpiling of vaccines and to help local public health agencies. President Bush wants $37.7 billion for homeland security in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1...


Defending the homeland:
From coast to coast, anti-terror plans take shape

      While the federal government tries to establish an overarching anti-terrorist strategy for the nation, a constellation of approaches to homeland defense are being proposed or implemented at state and local levels, including innovative ways of funding counterterrorism efforts, computer networks for sharing intelligence data, communication systems to better link first responders and volunteer watch groups that make use of citizens.

Buy bonds

      In California, Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D.-Glendale) has the support of local police chiefs and Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca for his proposal that would authorize the state to issue up to $500 million in Homeland Defense Bonds. Much like Liberty Bonds during World War II, these bonds would help local agencies pay for anti-terrorism efforts and training...