Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXV, No. 510 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY April 30, 1999

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Stepping out in Louisville; San Diego’s Latino flavor; ins & outs; PERF-ect pair; change of attitude.
Old & in the way? Using retired troopers to track sex offenders ruffles a union’s feathers.
Experience factor: Cincinnati’s field trainers may need more time on the job.
Breaking up is hard to do: Butte police local can’t break its ties to national parent.
Get out & stay out: One-time home of Al Capone gives gangs the boot.
Changing landscape: Colorado school massacre & the politics of gun control.
Forum:God vs. gangs — addressing crime & disorder while “deracializing” law enforcement.
“Show us the money”: Arkansas police force fights for its share of $3 million in forfeited assets.
And the real killer is...: NJ town stumbles in search for cop’s murderer.
Upcoming Events: Professional development opportunities.

Atlanta is big loser in I-G audit

     Of the 149 law enforcement agencies receiving Federal COPS grants that were audited by the Justice Department’s Inspector General and found to have compliance problems, one of them, the Atlanta Police Department, stood head and shoulders above the crowd, with questionable reimbursements totaling several millions of dollars.
     According to the audit report, the department received $12,905,179 in grants under the COPS AHEAD (Accelerated Hiring, Education, and Deployment) program; the MORE (Making Officer Redeployment Effective) program, and the Universal Hiring Program, which allowed Atlanta to hire 128 officers and redeploy the equivalent of 144.2 other sworn personnel...

Big trouble, or no big deal?
Audit finds problems with COPS hiring grants, but local agencies mostly say “No problem”

     A tempest in a teapot is still a tempest, albeit one confined to a small, limited space. That description may yet apply to the findings of a recently released audit conducted on a fraction of the police agencies that have received Federal community policing grants over the last few years.
     Over a two-year period, the audit by the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s office examined the compliance of 149 municipal and county law enforcement agencies, more than 100 of which the Office of Community Oriented Police Services had already deemed to be at risk for violations of their contracts...

Police Corps: Plenty of money, very few takers
Courts look askance at police playing to the media

     In the five years since Congress authorized the creation of the Police Corps, which offers scholarships to college students who agree to work as law enforcement officers for a limited period, the program remains a well-funded venture with few takers.
     Only several hundred Police Corps cadets are currently working in a handful of departments around the country, despite the longstanding and powerful advocacy of the program’s best-known champion, attorney Adam Walinsky, and the support of Congress, which allocated it $30 million from 1996 through 2000...

How not to fill up the ranks?

Problems seen in use of retired troopers

     On the surface, it probably seemed a good idea: rehiring former Connecticut State Police troopers on a part-time basis to track down the whereabouts of convicted sexual offenders who have failed to register with the state.
     As matters have developed, however, the approach has drawn criticism from the police union on the grounds that the work could be dangerous for an unarmed civilian...

A little more experience might go a long way for Cincy field trainers

     The use of more experienced field training officers on the Cincinnati Police Department would reduce the number of arrests made over discretionary incidents and lead to a more courteous and respectful force working within the community, according to recommendations made by the president of a black police organization.
     Spc. Cecil Thomas, head of the Sentinel Police Association, a group of about 250 African American officers, has sent a proposal to the City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee that calls for field training officers to have at least eight years on the job before they can teach younger, less experienced officers the ropes. He has also asked that the police academy be staffed by more seasoned veterans and that the city eliminate the maximum age of 34 for recruits...

National union ties Butte police local’s hands (and funds)

     The 60 members of the local police union in Butte, Mont., are finding it more difficult than they had thought to separate from the national labor union that has been its parent organization for the past 20 years.
     In January, union members voted 27-4 in favor of decertifying from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees because AFSCME had failed to provide adequate representation, said Sgt. George Skuletich, the local’s president. Although local members have traditionally negotiated with municipal government for their annual contracts, the national organization has failed to provide a contingency plan for paying members during strikes and has not reimbursed the local for legal issues related to union issues, he said...

Town that was once home to Capone says enough’s enough:

Gang-bangers given 60 days to get out of town

     Gang members residing in the town of Cicero, Ill., will find they face not only criminal charges should they commit a gang-related offense, but a civil procedure that could remove them from their homes and permanently bar them from ever returning to the area — even to visit family — under an ordinance said to be the nation’s first gang-eviction law.
     The law gives gang members who pose an active threat to the community 60 days to pack up and leave town. It was approved by the Town Board on April 27 after winning overwhelming approval from voters in a non-binding referendum earlier in the month...

Seismic shift in the politics of guns
Colorado school massacre changes the fortunes of pending legislation

     Adding a new and impassioned urgency to the ongoing national debate over guns, the high school massacre in Littleton, Colo., on April 20 has — at least for the short time — taken away some of the vaunted political clout enjoyed by the gun lobby and shifted it in the name of moral outrage to gun-control advocates, as state lawmakers have been seen turning away from pro-gun legislation that would have been considered a shoo-in before the tragedy.
     In the weeks prior to the shootings at Littleton’s Columbine High School, legislators from Vermont to Nevada had already been struggling with hotly-contested bills aimed at settling a number of gun-related issues, including concealed weapons permits, the right of municipalities to sue gun manufacturers and the number of weapons an individual may purchase in a given period...

Arkansas HP says “Show us the money” in forfeiture case

     The Arkansas Highway Police is entitled to a portion of the huge sum of cash it confiscated from an 18-wheeler last year, albeit a smaller percentage than it had hoped for, according to a ruling by the state’s highest court.
     Officers from the AHP, an enforcement branch of the Highway Department separate from the State Police, uncovered a record $3.1 million in cash in 1998 from the sleeping cab of a tractor-trailer rig during a routine safety inspection on Interstate 40 outside of West Memphis. The seizure is believed to be the largest by a nonfederal agency in the state’s history...

Rush to judgment?

Missteps dog hunt for killer of NJ cop

     Separate investigations have been launched by Federal and state authorities into possible civil rights violations stemming from a chaotic manhunt by Orange, N.J., police for the killer of one of their own on the night of April 8.
     The tangled investigation into the shooting of popular, 38-year-old Officer Joyce Anne Carnegie has led to widespread criticism of the Police Department and of embattled Essex County Prosecutor Patricia Hurt, who was appointed in 1997 by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. The First Assistant Prosecutor, Patrick Toscano, subsequently quit the agency, reportedly over Hurt’s refusal to free one suspect after having passed two lie-detector tests...