Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXX, No. 617 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY April 2004

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
Not your daddy’s police academy: NYPD recruit training gets a new look.
Policy with punch: Tacoma unveils a new approach for dealing with domestic violence by officers.
Short Takes: Easy-to-digest news capsules.
Shaking things up: Tackling organized crime in the UK with the creation of a “British FBI.”
Dial M for mayor: San Francisco’s chief executive makes his presence felt at murder scenes.
Better mousetraps: The latest wrinkles in police vehicle design.
People & Places: Getting warmer; arresting good looks; crossing the river; staying at home; top cops with chops; smashing pumpkins.
A net with too many holes: 9/11 commission staff report assesses U.S. intelligence efforts against terrorism.
Unfit for duty: Sick leave is decimating the ranks of the D.C. police.
ADAM bomb: Drug use monitoring effort is a victim of budget cuts.
Forum: Police, attention deficit disorder & legal vulnerability.
Upcoming Events: Professional development opportunities.

 
A dog-eat-dog world
Illegal dogfights linked to gangs, drugs

     The law-enforcement community, which once believed that organized dog fighting belonged under the purview of animal control agencies, has been forced in recent years to take a far more expansive and proactive posture, as the activity and the crimes that accompany it have reached explosive proportions in virtually every area of the country.

     Dog fighting is definitely on the rise, according to police and animal welfare investigators. The FBI keeps no statistics on the activity, but authorities estimate that at least 40,000 people are involved in the breeding, selling and fighting of dogs. More than 100 Web sites sell pit bull training gear, and about a dozen dog-fighting magazines are published regularly. ...


Recruit training’s new look

     The most recent class of rookies to graduate from the New York City Police Academy underwent a 26-week course of instruction course so vastly different from what came before as to be almost — but not quite — unrecognizable to the recruits who preceded them.

     Training is just one of a series of changes that the NYPD has embarked on in the past year in an attempt to both boost the quantity and quality of its applicants. In September, Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly ordered that the reading-comprehension levels on its entrance exam be increased to reflect that of a high-school senior. Officials were apparently stunned to find that 5 percent of new officers were reading at just a seventh-grade level. ...


Policy with punch:
Tacoma unveils new focus on DV by officers

     The Tacoma Police Department is not the first in the nation to have a policy on officer-involved domestic violence, but it may well be the only agency to have one that outlines a procedure for when the abuser is the chief of police.
For a good reason.

     The new guidelines, unveiled by police and city officials in February, come nearly one year after Chief David Brame shot his wife, Crystal, and then turned his weapon on himself in a murder-suicide on April 26, 2003. [See LEN, May 15/31, 2003; January 2004.]...


Short Takes

     Getting the scoop

After tracking a suspect in a double homicide for weeks, hoping for a DNA sample, a St. Petersburg, Fla., detective was able to retrieve an ice cream spoon used by his quarry.

     The sample extracted from the saliva left on the utensil led to charges against William Deparvine, 51, in the murders of Richard and Karla Van Dusen of Tierra Verde. Deparvine is also suspected in six other homicides in Florida and Texas....


“British FBI” unveiled as part of new plan to tackle organized crime

     In what is being hailed as the biggest shakeup in British law enforcement in the past 40 years, government officials there have unveiled a new agency modeled on the FBI that will tackle organized-crime gangs who control cocaine and heroin markets worth an estimated $5 billion a year.

     The Serious Organized Crime Agency, or SOCA, will merge Britain’s National Crime Squad and National Criminal Intelligence Service and replace the investigative arms of the country’s Customs and Excise, and Immigration Service. In all, some 5,500 officers will be assigned to the elite agency, which will be backed by a team of special prosecutors. SOCA’s director will report directly to the Home Secretary....


Dial M for mayor (and murder)
San Francisco mayor makes his presence felt at homicide scenes

     While it might sound like a television show — the mayor of a major metropolis gets involved in police homicide investigations — it is exactly what is happening in San Francisco.

     Dismayed by a surge in homicides and the police department’s low clearance rate, Mayor Gavin Newsom has been visiting crime scenes. ...


Technology in motion:
Some cars add visibility, some go for stealth

     When it comes to innovations in police vehicles, it’s all about improving the “mousetrap,” as one New Jersey police official put it.

     State Police there have begun rolling out the newest improvement to their four-wheeled “mousetraps,” a light bar that features red and blue light bursts. Industry tests indicate that blue is more visible in various weather conditions — particularly snow — than the all-red, rotating lights now on troopers’ cars....


Pre-9/11 intelligence effort seen as riddled with holes

     The following report on “Law Enforcement, Counterterrorism and Intelligence Collection in the United States Prior to 9/11” was prepared by the staff of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, informally known as the 9/11 Commission. It was released on April 13, prior to a public hearing at which the commission heard testimony from Attorney General John Ashcroft; his predecessor, Janet Reno; former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and former acting Director Thomas Pickard.

The Role of the FBI

     The FBI played the lead role in the government’s domestic counterterrorism strategy before September 11. In the 1990s, the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts against international terrorist organizations included both intelligence and criminal investigations. Consistent with its traditional law enforcement approach, most of the FBI’s energy during this period was devoted to after-the-fact investigations of major terrorist attacks in order to develop criminal cases....


Unfit for duty:
Sick leave decimates ranks of D.C. police

     The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., might have the highest number of officers per capita of any major police force in the nation, yet agency is still experiencing staffing shortages due to the number of officers out on sick leave at any given time.

     According to MPD statistics, roughly 10 percent of the force is on long-term sick leave or “limited duty,” or 384 officers out of a force of 3,700 — enough to fully staff one of the city’s seven patrol districts. ...


ADAM bomb:
Drug-use monitoring effort hits the rocks

     Criminal justice experts are bemoaning the recent demise of a Justice Department program that measures drug use among criminals.

     The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program, or ADAM, was discontinued due to budget cuts, according to Sarah V. Hart, director of the National Institute of Justice. ...


Upcoming Events

     MAY

9-15. National Police Week. Coordinated by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Washington, D.C. For information, go online to www.nleomf.com.

10-12. Police Media Relations. Presented by the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration. Albany, N.Y. $345....