Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXIX, Nos. 601, 602 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY June 15/30, 2003

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
Taking names: How to boost compliance with sex-offender registration.
School daze: Higher ed program for cops is under fire again.
Getting personal: Union fights release of info on misconduct.
Air apparent: Teaching cops how to handle tire blow-outs.
All in a day’s work: Rookie cop catches fugitive bombing suspect.
People & Places: The wheel deal; John Jay swansong; an inside job; no room for race; Mark of respect; new call for Kerik; a steady hand; in mom’s shoes.
Narrowing the field: How DNA analysis led to La. serial-killer.
It’s official: FBI says 2002 El Al shooting was a terrorist act.
Helpful but costly: DoJ blueprint for Portland will take time & money.
Welcome mat: Dubuque chief encourages newcomers to put down roots.
Inching forward: Canada weighs pot-possession reform.
Side job: Rio cops moonlight as slum-clearing vigilantes.
Forum: A groundswell of democracy toward improving the police-community partnership.
Criminal Justice Library: New gang book overlooks the faces & the blood.
Jeepers peepers: Capping the lens on high-tech voyeurs.
Mixed review: Gun suppression effort has some seeing racial profiling.

 
What’s cooking?
Study finds surprises in its picture of small-time meth cookers

     When whipping up a batch of methamphetamine for personal use, cooks prefer the early morning hours of a Tuesday or Wednesday. They are also likely to be employed, and enjoy the company of family, friends and neighbors while turning household chemicals into speed.

     Those details, along with others that seem to fly in the face of generally accepted beliefs about the stove-top manufacture of speed, were revealed in a survey by the Inland Narcotics Clearing House, a federally-funded methamphetamine initiative that analyzes data collected by narcotics task forces in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California. In 1999, one out of every 11 lab seizures in the nation occurred there, according to the study...


PERF gauges the speed bumps on the road to better anti-terror partnerships

     Federal and local law enforcement agencies have long forged successful partnerships to combat illegal guns, drugs, organized crime and other illicit activities. Yet when it comes to terrorism, the path to cooperation has been strewn with obstacles, leaving many participants and observers scratching their heads and wondering why.

     According to a recent report by the Police Executive Research Forum, mistrust, confusion over roles and breakdowns in communication are just some of the many reasons why the potential of collaborative antiterrorism efforts has gone unfulfilled...


San Diego high schoolers practice car-repair skills on aging police cruisers

     They save, we learn, says Leo Zarate, a teacher at Kearny High School in San Diego, where auto-shop students are knocking the dents out of police vehicles that some officers said were an embarrassment to be seen in.

     The fix-up program has saved the cash-strapped police department $3,000 for work done on three cars so far. It may not sound like much, but with the San Diego agency facing a $6-million gap in its $262-million budget, new car purchases were out of the question, and giving facelifts to the vehicles was not high “on the department’s triage list,” according to Sgt. Jeff Napier...


Taking names
How South Dakota sheriff boosts compliance with registry law

     When the task of locating convicted sex offenders is shared among more than just a handful of officers in a single jurisdiction, it becomes both far more effective and far less onerous, according to the Rapid City, S.D., Police Department which has seen a marked improvement in the city’s compliance rate since the implementation of a new initiative in 2002.

     Called SOLV, for Sex Offender Location Verifier, the program is being credited with helping the agency to reduce non-compliance from a high of 27 percent last year to just 5 percent within a six-month period...


Cost-benefit analysis:
Mass. police education under fire again

     Police chiefs and rank-and-file unions in Massachusetts are fending off another attack on the state’s Quinn Bill, this one from lawmakers who want to sharply curtail the lucrative benefits offered under the decades-old legislation.

     As the law currently stands, police who earn college degrees are entitled to an annual bonus worth between 10 percent and 25 percent of their salary. The proposal by Senate President Robert E. Tavaglini, an East Boston Democrat, would change the structure of the bill so that police would receive a fixed annual bonus of $6,000 to $8,000...


Public’s right to know gets a little too personal for Wilmington cops

     When it comes to legislation that would allow the city of Wilmington, N.C., to release information about misconduct complaints against police and how they were handled, the local police union seems to believe once bitten, twice shy.

     Last December, personal information that included the addresses, phone numbers and cell phone logs of an officer and supervisor who had pulled over a City Council member on suspicion of drunken driving the month before was inadvertently disclosed by municipal officials...


Air apparent:
“Blow-out school” has police pumped up

     There are more than 100 ways in which a tire can fail, and Michelin North America Inc., the tire manufacturer, is trying to teach law enforcement all of them with a one-day “blow-out” school it is holding at different sites around the country this year.

     Called Tires 101, the 8-hour session is free. In 2002, some 35 accident investigators from departments throughout the Southeast met at the Laurens Proving Ground in Greenville, S.C., where instruction included an explanation of the dynamics of a blow-out and the two-step process for controlling it at highway speeds...


Bombing suspect’s life on the run ends outside supermarket Dumpster

     After five years on the run from the FBI, hiding in small towns around the around the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina, suspected serial bomber Eric Robert Rudolph was captured this month by a small-town rookie cop.

     Rudolph, 36, was arrested in the town of Murphy on June 1 by 21-year-old Officer Jeffrey Postell. On the job for less than a year, Postell spotted a man hiding behind milk crates at 3:30 a.m. in the Dumpster area of the Save-A-Lot supermarket...


Narrowing the field:
How DNA led to a serial killer

     A DNA dragnet cast over southern Louisiana did not help investigators catch a serial killer, but a genetic profile sent to a lab using a process that can determine the individual’s ethnicity did narrow down the list of possible suspects by telling police they should be looking for a black man.

     Police arrested Derrick Todd Lee, 34, an African American, in Atlanta on May 27 after his sperm was matched to a sample found at one of the crime scenes. Lee had initially been charged with the murder and aggravated rape of Carrie Yoder, a 26-year-old graduate student at Louisiana State University, who was killed in March. DNA evidence taken from her body linked her death to Lee, and to the other four victims. He now faces similar charges in the deaths of Pam Kinamore, 44, Charlotte Pace, 22, Gina Green, 41, and Trineisha Colomb, 23...


FBI makes it official: 2002 El Al shooting was terrorist act

     When an Egyptian immigrant shot and killed two people during a rampage last year at the El Al Airlines counter of the Los Angeles International Airport, he was committing a terrorist act, an FBI spokesman said recently.

     The classification of the incident had been made months ago, but was withheld by the Department of Justice until the conclusion of a worldwide investigation to determine whether Hashem Mohamed Hadayet had committed an act of terrorism, a hate crime, or had been motivated by personal reasons...


DoJ blueprint for Portland PD may take time & money

     The recommendations made by the Justice Department in a technical assistance letter received by the Portland, Maine, Police Department last month may provide an opportunity for improvement, but some of them will be difficult to implement without tremendous additional resources, according to Police Chief Michael Chitwood.

     The 19-page report is the first feedback from the Justice Department after a year-long probe by its Civil Rights Division into the Portland department’s policies and practices. City and police officials called in federal investigators after efforts to win back the confidence of the public failed in the aftermath of a deadly force incident in 2002.


Dubuque police roll out the welcome mat

     With the guidance of its police chief, Dubuque is putting its best foot forward with a program designed to make newcomers to the Iowa city want to put down roots.

     The Community Action Academy, the implementation of which won an award last month for Police Chief Kim Wadding, grew out of a community meeting in 2001. Participants were asked to come up with ways to make Dubuque a more inviting place, particularly for the spouses of those who came there to work at the John Deere plant and other corporations...


Canada inches toward pot-possession reform

     Possession of small amounts of marijuana would be punished with a fine, although traffickers would face stricter penalties under drug reform legislation introduced in May by the Canadian government.

     The proposed relaxation of Canadian drug laws stands in direct opposition to the position of the Bush administration. In recent weeks, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said they were concerned that any easing of Canada’s marijuana laws would lead to increased supplies of the drug being exported to the United States...


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Quietly, cop vigilantes

     While few if any will say so out loud, an organization of civilian vigilantes, many of them current and former police officers, may be behind the relative peace and calm that a Rio de Janeiro slum enjoys compared with the drug violence that plagues the rest of the city’s favelas, or shantytowns.

     The safety of Rio das Pedras is striking, say residents. “There is no better place to live,” said Maria de Lourdes Luna, a 43-year-old resident of the area. “We can put up with anything — rats, floods, trash — as long as we’re spared drugs.” ...


A missed opportunity:
A look at gangs, minus the faces & blood

     John Dewey wrote: “Truth is a collection of truths; and these constituent truths are in the keeping of the best available methods of inquiry and testing...” Although Dewey was reflecting generally on the practice of knowing, his statement seems quite pertinent to the current body of information available on gangs. In the words of one veteran police officer, “There is not one truth about gangs. There are multiple truths.”

     Unfortunately, in the book “Panic: The Social Construction of the Street Gang Problem,” Robert McCorkle and Terance Miethe seem to have missed the opportunity to shed some light on the multiple truths regarding street gangs in the United States. Instead, they have presented a series of inflammatory allegations that do little more than undermine the legitimate efforts being made throughout the country to better understand and deal with the street gang problem. This is particularly disturbing because the book is being marketed as a college text...


Capping the lens:
Legislators focus on high-tech voyeurism

     State lawmakers around the country are racing to catch up with technology after a number of recent incidents in which scant punishment was meted out to voyeurs who videotaped unsuspecting women in various stages of undress.

     While police can arrest Peeping Toms on other charges, such as child pornography in the case of a Rhode Island man who videotaped his daughters and their friends in the shower, or disorderly conduct, there are few laws that specifically prohibit the use of electronic devices for voyeurism, so long as they do not include audiotape. In such cases, offenders can be prosecuted under eavesdropping laws...


Gun suppression or racial profiling?
Milwaukee anti-violence effort has critics

     A controversial program that gives specially-assigned deputies in Milwaukee County, Wis., the authority to conduct consent searches when stopping motorists for minor infractions has stirred up a coalition of community groups charging that the sheriff’s department is engaged in racial profiling.

     The Gun Reduction Interdiction Program (GRIP) involves 16 deputies who patrol city neighborhoods found to have the highest incidents of gun violence. Using new scanners, they monitor Milwaukee Police Department radio frequencies to better determine where illegal gun activity is taking place. The deputies, each of whom have received an additional 40 hours of training in constitutional rights, then look for cars with broken headlights or other reasons they can legally be pulled over. Often, the deputies ask the driver if they may search the vehicle. While drivers are free to refuse the request, they will face consequences...