Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXIX, Nos. 607, 608 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY October 15/31, 2003

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Sweets to go; new DEA chief; yes, Virginia; straight shooter; Earl change; vertical mobility.
Retiring, not quitting: Chief of troubled Houston PD makes his exit.
Ten and out: Tampa’s chief of 10 years retires to await a “good night’s sleep.”
On the move: Kansas cops try to stay one step ahead of mobile criminals.
A bold LEAP: Current and former cops just say “no” to the drug war.
Alien-nation: Making it easier for undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
Command presence: Oklahoma leadership program turns out its first graduates.
Too much of a good thing? Rethinking D.C.’s strict pursuit policy.
Buffalo roundup: Rallying the troops to fight a tide of violence.
Better with age: Chattanooga seeks broader, older recruit pool.
Calling the feds: Milwaukee seeks help with use-of-force issues.
Marshaling resources: Keys to better fugitive-tracking.
Forum: Old-school cops in a new-school world.
Nothing criminal, but. . . : Reports on Houston PD lab are scathing.
No piece of cake: Lab accreditation is a long, tough, costly process.
Rx for the LAPD: A new “corporate” approach is urged.

 
Fed up with gun crimes
Locals continue to huddle under “Safe Neighborhood” umbrella

     Officials in Tulsa, Okla., are optimistic that their local version of a Bush administration initiative aimed at reducing gun violence through federal prosecution will result in longer prison sentences for offenders and a better future for those individuals — particularly juveniles — who accept the helping hand that is also offered as part of the program...

     Tulsa’s Operation Ceasefire is just one of dozens operating under the umbrella of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a two-year-old program that provided $533 million in 2001 to all 94 federal judicial districts, funding 113 new federal prosecutors and 600 state and local prosecutors to work with police agencies and community groups on gun cases...


Cops try harder to get inside the minds of growing ranks of Alzheimer’s sufferers

     With an estimated four million adults nationwide suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, and predictions of a virtual epidemic of the illness by mid-century, law enforcement agencies across the country have had to act quickly to learn the signs and symptoms of a condition that can tu rn ordinarily law-abiding senior citizens into menaces on the road and in their own homes...

     In Wisconsin, legislation took effect last year that requires all police recruits to undergo one hour of instruction in how to recognize and approach patients with dementia and how to defuse conflicts...


Louisiana wants all new cops into the gene pool

     Along with their fingerprints, all police officers and sheriff’s deputies hired in the state of Louisiana will now also have to submit a DNA sample, under a bill signed into law recently by Gov. Mike Foster...

     The measure, enacted on Aug. 15, makes giving a biological sample a requirement for all law enforcement recruits hired after that day...


Chief stresses he’s retiring, not quitting troubled Houston PD

     After a year of scandals and embarrassments ranging from sloppy work at the department’s crime lab to a botched raid at a Kmart and new allegations of corruption involving Houston’s cantinas, the city’s police chief, Clarence O. Bradford, took early retirement last month...

     Bradford, 47, who took command of the department in 1996, has attributed his departure to family concerns. His wife, Dee, who had previously suffered a miscarriage, is expecting the couple’s first child in November. Although Bradford is seen by some as a possible political contender, he gave no hint of his future plans or aspirations...


Stepping down as Tampa chief, Holder awaits first “good night’s sleep in 10 years”

     The city of Tampa said goodbye in July to Benny Holder, its longest-serving chief, and in September welcomed home as his successor Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Chief Stephen Hogue, who began his law enforcement career with the Tampa department 30 years ago...

     Holder, 57, was a Tampa police major when he was selected in 1993 for the chief’s job by then-Mayor Sandy Freedman, one of three mayors who honored him at a tribute held at the Tampa Convention Center on July 9...


Kansas cops try to stay one step ahead of mobile criminals

     If there is a common thread among criminals, it is that they are mobile. In northeastern Kansas, some law enforcement agencies are trying to offset that advantage with a software program that takes just seconds to find hidden links among people, cars, addresses and other data and provide police with a short list of potential leads...

     Called CopLink, the software was developed by the University of Arizona’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. The system is sold by the Tucson-based Knowledge Computing Corp. and is used in that city, as well as in Boston, Ann Arbor, Mich., Polk City, Iowa and Spokane, Wash...


A bold LEAP:
Cops take stand against the drug war

     Calling the nation’s decades-long crusade against illegal drugs a “total and abject failure,” an international organization composed of former and current law enforcement officers, federal agents, judges, prosecutors and others in the criminal justice field has come out in favor of legalization...

     The group, called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, was launched a year ago by Jack Cole, a retired lieutenant and narcotics investigator with the New Jersey State Police, and Peter Christ, who retired as a captain from the Tonawanda Police Department in upstate New York...


Alien-nation:
California eases driver’s license standards

     An estimated 2 million undocumented aliens in California will be able to obtain at least one piece of documentation — a driver’s license — after a new law repealed the requirement that all applicants to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles submit a Social Security number...

     Gov. Gray Davis signed the bill into law on Sept. 5. As was the case prior to 1994, when the Legislature began requiring a Social Security number, the law will permit any California resident who passes the driver’s test to obtain a license. Applicants may use a federal taxpayer information number or other state-approved identification, including the matricula consular issued by Mexican consulates and recognized by scores of law enforcement agencies and jurisdictions. The law also repeals the requirement that all applicants submit proof that their status in the United States is authorized...


Cops show their mettle in new Okla. command college

     Officers from seven Oklahoma law enforcement agencies made up the graduating class in August of the state’s first-ever command college for police leaders...

     Known as the Pedal program, short for Police Executive Development and Leadership, the initiative is a collaborative effort two years in the making between the University of Tulsa and a number of local police and sheriff’s departments. Its impetus was the lack of affordable executive training in the region, said Broken Arrow Police Chief Todd Wuestewald, who helped develop Pedal’s curriculum...


Does DC’s strict pursuit policy ‘send the wrong message’?

     After pursuing a car believed to have been used in several gunpoint rapes and robberies, and arresting two suspects, a Washington, D.C., police officer faces the possibility not of a commendation for meritorious conduct, but of disciplinary action for violating a pursuit policy that experts say is among the most restrictive in the nation...

     On May 21, Officer Lester W. Taylor Jr., a 12-year veteran, chased a gray Oldsmobile both in his cruiser and on foot. He and his partner arrested Christopher Kincaid, 18, who faces a charge of first-degree sexual abuse while armed, and Lamont Randolph, 20, who pleaded guilty to charges of sexual abuse, robbery and attempted kidnapping. The two men had snatched a woman from a bus stop several days earlier, robbing and raping her. In a separate incident, they also tried abducting another woman after robbing her...


All hands on deck to fight tide of violence in Buffalo

     The Buffalo, N.Y., Police Department received help from an assortment of state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as other municipal forces, under an initiative launched in August aimed at fighting crime in the city’s toughest neighborhoods...

     Earlier in the month, top officials from across Erie County met to discuss ways in which a spree of deadly violence could be halted. Since June 1, more than 90 shootings have occurred in Buffalo, 34 of them fatal. The figure is more than one-third higher than the same period a year ago. In one incident, a man told police he was shot while he sat in a car with his young son and brother...


Better with age:
Lifting age cap eyed to widen recruit pool

     Even if it results in just two to three more applicants a year, lifting an age limit of 39 for newly hired officers would still be worthwhile as way of broadening the hiring pool and drawing more mature recruits to the Chattanooga Police Department, officials say...

     The department was able to persuade a reluctant City Council committee in August to conduct a feasibility study on the issue. Basing their findings on Census 2000 data, officials showed that without a cap, the number of applicants in Hamilton County alone could be increased by as much as 50,000 people...


Milwaukee calls in the feds for help with use-of-force issues

     With a decade’s worth of reports on police use-of-force still to analyze, a database designed to track such incidents that has been only marginally functional since 1999, and five officer-involved shootings within a 13-month period, the city of Milwaukee decided in August that it was time to reach out for some federal assistance...

     Mayor John O. Norquist has requested that the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service re-evaluate the police department’s use-of-force policy, from firearms to pepper spray. The service had been called in last October in the wake of a mob-beating death...


Tracking fugitives by marshaling resources
Cross-deputization, coordination are key

     The U.S. Marshals Service has breathed new life into an old fugitive-hunting program by integrating local law enforcement with their federal counterparts in a handful of regional task forces around the country, according to officials...

     Since the end of June, four such units have been operating in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and in the New York/New Jersey area. Each includes local officers deputized so that they have the same authority as marshals to arrest fugitives outside of their jurisdiction...


Nothing criminal, but...
Reports on Houston PD lab are damning

     Although a grand jury found no evidence that criminal wrongdoing had taken place at the Houston police crime lab’s troubled DNA unit, the panel refused to let officials off the hook in a report issued on Aug. 1, which concluded that their failure to take action after learning of problems at the facility constituted ethic and moral violations...

     The report was one of two concerning the lab which that city and police officials received that month. The other, from the National Forensic Science Technology Center, found that although the lab could reopen within the next year, it would first have to install a variety of safeguards to prevent a recurrence of its previous problems...


Lab accreditation is no piece of cake

     Any law enforcement agency seeking accreditation of its forensic laboratory should understand that it is embarking on a process that will be lengthy, arduous, and most of all, expensive...

     The eventual accreditation of the Houston Police Department’s lab by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors-Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLAD-LAB) was a key recommendation made by the National Forensic Science Technology Center in its report on the facility this summer...


Rx for LAPD: New “corporate” approach needed for 21st century

     The Los Angeles Police Department needs to adopt a new vision of professionalism based on the principles of responsibility, expertise and “corporateness,” or a shared sense of service and standards, if it wants to upgrade its performance to comply with the conditions set by a 2001 federal consent decree...

     The conclusion is based on the findings of a $350,000 study released in August by RAND, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based think tank commissioned by the city to assess the department’s training under a provision of the consent agreement...