Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXIX, No. 604 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY August 31, 2003

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Family affairs; just like in the movies; leaving Shreveport; back in uniform; lending an ear; Klockars dead at 57.
Changing its stripes: Philly sex crimes unit has a new look & attitude.
Now & zen: Putting the ‘peace’ back in peace officers.
Walking the walk: Study says cops respond to supervisors who get down in the trenches.
Attaboy: NYPD riding wave of public support.
In good hands: Insurance coverage for graffiti victims.
Thanks, I think: Traffic tickets seen as potential life savers
Weighing the options: Balt. council unsure about police plan to issue citations for minor crimes.
Beyond borders: What prompted Delaware’s witness protection program?
Not so fast: Mexican ID cards are popular, but not with the FBI.
Covering their rear: Ford to offer new fix for Crown Vics.
No relief: Cell-phone interference still plagues communications.
Forum: Successful enterprise implementation.
Upcoming Events: Professional development opportunities.
Shedding light: Court orders files unsealed on rogue troopers.

 
Where there’s smoke, there’s fired
Mass. cop fights dismissal tied to smoking ban

     Even police officers with drinking and drug problems are often given a second chance, but when it comes to smoking cigarettes — in Massachusetts, at least — those caught lighting up are simply out of luck.

     On May 29, the Fall River Police Department fired Officer Wayne Jeffrey, 42, after it received an anonymous letter accusing him of having smoked a cigarette at a party. Jeffrey is the third person in the state to run afoul of a law that prohibits public safety workers hired after Jan. 1, 1988, from smoking either on or off duty...


Bush administration has its say on racial profiling, with new guidebook for agents

     Not only are federal agents getting guidance on racial profiling — an issue that has bedeviled their state and local counterparts for years — but the rules under which they may use race and ethnicity as factors in criminal investigations closely mirror those already being used by a vast number of law enforcement agencies around the country, say experts and practitioners in the field.

     The 10-page guidebook issued in June by the Bush administration allows race to be used only in the investigation of a specific crime, when pursuing a terrorist threat, or in protection of the nation’s borders. It applies only to employees of the 70 federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration...


Bearing fruit in the Vineyard:
311 is not just for urban areas anymore

     Does a missing dog constitute an emergency? It does to its owner, but not to officials at the Duke’s County, Mass., 911 call center, which covers the six island towns on Martha’s Vineyard. So when some money was left over from an earlier Justice Department grant, the county decided to launch New England’s first non-emergency 311 telephone system.

     Last year, 60 percent of the calls made to the county’s dispatch center were non-emergencies, said sheriff’s Sgt. Donald Rose. Of the more than 6,000 calls that came in, only 2,472 were actual emergencies. Some 1,874 were miscellaneous calls of the “I made a mistake” variety, and 1,770 were simply not emergencies, he told Law Enforcement News...


Changing its stripes:
New look, and attitude, for Philly SVU

     With the move into its new $2-million headquarters scheduled for August, the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit will have taken another major step in what appears to be a dramatic turnaround from the old, inefficient sex crimes unit that just three years ago was found to have dismissed hundreds of felony rape cases.

     According to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer in June, the department now has the highest percentage of solved rape cases among the nation’s 10 largest cities, with 66 percent. The SVU made 217 arrests so far this year. During the first quarter of 2003, it made twice as many arrests as it did during the same period the year before...


And now for your moment of Zen:
Putting ‘peace’ back in peace officer

     The same Zen Buddhist meditation techniques that officials in Lowell, Mass., hope will show Cambodian gang members a new way to live without violence are also being used by the Madison, Wis., Police Department in an effort to bring a little more peace to the stress-laden lives of officers and emergency workers in the community.

     A five-day nonsectarian program, “Protecting and Serving Without Stress or Fear,” will be taught this month in Green Lake, Wis., by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Master, poet and peace activist, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1967...


Walking the walk:
Supervisors need to be in the trenches

     To implement community policing strategies — or any other approach a department wants — winning the hearts and minds of patrol officers is not enough; they have to see it demonstrated by front-line supervisors who are out in the trenches with them. That’s the conclusion of a new study released in June by the National Institute of Justice, which examines supervisory styles and their influence on subordinates.

     In her study, “How Police Supervisory Styles Influence Patrol Officer Behavior,” Robin Shepard Engel, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati, identified four different supervisory styles: active, traditional, innovative and supportive. Although all have their drawbacks, Engel contends that supervisors who employ the active style are best at communicating their expectations and those of the department to rank-and-file officers...


It’s not exactly 9/11, but poll finds wide support for NYPD

     Both New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and his department have the approval of nearly two-thirds of city residents — the highest rating the NYPD has received since shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, when it registered a stunning 76 percent, according to a poll taken in June.

     The survey by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which sampled the views of 776 registered voters, found that 63 percent liked the job Kelly and the department were doing. Kelly had the highest approval rating for a police commissioner since William Bratton chalked up a 61-percent rating in a June 1995 poll...


Help for the non-DIY crowd: graffiti insurance

     For a fraction of what it would cost to hire a worker and buy the supplies needed to remove graffiti from the wall of a building, property owners in the New York and New Jersey area can now insure themselves against taggers.

     “Graffiti is like a fungus,” said Andy Anderson, a landlord with 32 buildings in Brooklyn and Queens. “If you allow it to grow, it just gets worse.”...


Gee, thanks:
Traffic tickets seen as potential life savers

     Getting a traffic ticket just might save your life, say researchers at the University of Toronto and Stanford University, whose findings, published in June, suggest that those who receive a citation are 35 percent less likely to be killed in a crash in the 12 to 16 weeks following its receipt.

     “We think the drop in fatality rates is directly due to the deterrent effect,” said Donald Redelmeier, the study’s lead author and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto...


Balt. PD seeks ticket option for some crimes
But Council said to fear uneven application

     Baltimore’s City Council has yet to pass legislation that would give local police the option of handing out civil citations for petty crimes rather than making arrests.

     The proposal was made in June by Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark and has the support of Mayor Martin O’Malley. But some council members have voiced concerns as to how the measure would be applied in different parts of the city, and whether it would disproportionately target juveniles for the offense of loitering...


Connecticut murders inspire Delaware witness protection

     With its new witness protection program, Delaware in June became one of only 13 other states in the nation to create its own version of the federal mechanism for safeguarding crime victims and witnesses.

     The program will be administered by the attorney general’s office and will be paid for with funds seized from criminals under the state’s Special Law Enforcement Assistance Fund. It is projected to cost no more than $125,000 per year during the next three years...


Mexican ID cards are popular, but not with the FBI

     Despite its acceptance by hundreds of police agencies and cities around the nation — primarily in Western and Southwestern states — the Mexican ID card is an unreliable form of proof of identity which has become a “major item on the product list” of fraudulent documents around the world, according to the FBI.

     In testimony before the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration in June, Steven McCraw, assistant director of the FBI’s intelligence office, said the matricula consular, as the card is called, can easily be used by criminals to facilitate money laundering and immigrant smuggling. In one case, he said, a smuggler was arrested with seven of the IDs, each with his picture and a different name...


Covering their rears:
Ford to offer new Crown Vic fix

     In yet another step aimed at reducing the risk of explosions from rear-end crashes, the Ford Motor Company announced Aug. 7 that it will offer fire-suppression technology as an option on its Crown Victoria police cruisers, beginning with the 2005 model year.

     Since 1983, at least 14 police officers nationwide have died in crashes when their Crown Victoria cruisers exploded after being struck from behind. Critics say the position of the vehicle’s gas tank makes it vulnerable. Ford continues to maintain that the cars are not dangerous, but the company had previously begun retrofitting older models with hard plastic shields to protect the gas tanks...


No relief in sight for communications interference from cell phone towers

     It is unlikely that there will be relief any time soon for police and emergency communication centers plagued by interference from cell phone towers, with a plan to resolve the problem currently in limbo, according to the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials.

     A solution proposed last December by Nextel Communications would give up spectrum space to allow an interference-free public safety block. In exchange, the company would get contiguous airwaves in a band now reserved for satellite phone services. Nextel agreed to pay $850 million to reprogram equipment or buy new gear for public safety agencies, USA Today reported in June...


Upcoming Events

     22-23. Mentoring for the Retention of Public Safety Personnel. Presented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. St. Louis.

     22-23. Preventing & Reducing Elderly Victimization. Presented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Nashville...


Court shines a light on rogue troopers

     A federal judge in Pennsylvania last month ordered the unsealing of approximately 1,000 pages of formerly confidential internal affairs records containing the names of 13 State Police troopers who had been disciplined for sexual misconduct.

     U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe was persuaded by lawyers for Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., who argued that the troopers knew they could be subjected to public scrutiny when they joined the force...