Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, Nos. 525, 526 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY January 15/31, 2000

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
What’s in a name? Perhaps the fate of a plan to overhaul the police system in Northern Ireland.
One last hurrah: Police target fugitives seeking a Vegas comfort zone.
People & Places: ‘Marshal Marshall’ makes history; sheriff killed by wife; belated honors for valor; the old college try; peer recognition for pragmatist.
Equal opportunity? More women are being arrested in domestic violence incidents. Why?
Souse abuse: Alcohol is the fuel that drives men to spousal battery.
Playing it safer: Line-of-duty deaths are dropping - except in Missouri.
Fair market value: LAPD seeks to cash in on its familiar emblems.
Cost factors: How the drug war exacts a stiff price in police integrity.
Don’t shoot: Connecticut advisory panel urges new deadly-force rules.
Locked & loaded: Gearing up for a busy year on gun issues.
Forum: Few rules guide police in vehicular pursuits of pedestrians.
Walk, don’t run: Supreeme Court’s anticipated ruling on fleeing from police.
They wouldn’t DARE: Minneapolis dumps popular anti-drug program.
Homing in: Web site puts neighborhood crime under the microscope.
Eye-in-the-sky: Satellites track a killer to his victim’s grave.

A Hartford insurance policy?
Sweeping 65-item reform package offered for troubled PD

      The Hartford Police Department is looking at a complete overhaul of its systems and procedures, from the way its officers dress to the policing model under which it functions, should the City Council vote to adopt even half of the 65 reforms that a comprehensive management study has recommended.
      Perhaps the most controversial of the recommendations contained in the study conducted by Carroll Buracker & Associates is that the department abandon its Police Service Area (PSA) Model, which members of all ranks in the HPD suggest has resulted in four separate police departments. The study, the findings of which have the support of both municipal and police officials, calls for a restructuring of the agency with an emphasis on a centralized model and implementation of the reforms called for in the report...

Good news, bad news in update of landmark 1969 violence report

      Economic good times —not get-tough criminal justice policies — are the primary reason for the dizzying drop in the nation’s crime rate over the past seven years, according to a new report by the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation that provides a 30-year update on an earlier landmark study of the violence and chaos that gripped the nation during the1960s and culminated in the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.
      In its new study, “To Establish Justice, To Insure Domestic Tranquility,” the foundation called the proliferation of firearms and lack of gun control “a metaphor for a failure of democracy” and blames it in part for the increase in overall violence during the past 30 years...

Rookie’s thieving, drug-using past sheds unflattering light on backgrounds of Denver police academy class

      In attempting to defend the admittance to the Denver Police Academy of a controversial recruit with an acknowledged history of drug use and thievery, city officials released another statistic in December that some found equally disturbing: that more than two-thirds of the cadets currently in training had partaken of illicit substances, in practices ranging from “youthful experimentation” to more prolonged usage.
      Under guidelines set for the Police Department by the city’s Civil Service Commission, candidates may not have used drugs for one year prior to applying to the department. Of the 34 cadets in the current class — including Ellis “Max” Johnson, whose hiring has been opposed by Denver officers of all ranks — 23 said they had used illegal drugs or misused prescriptions. Fifty-nine percent of the candidates eligible for a forthcoming training session in March have also admitted past drug use, as have 61 percent of the candidates for next July’s class...

Blueprint for reform:
What’s in a name? The fate of Ulster police pact.

      While the prospect of a lasting peace in Northern Ireland has been thrown into question with the breakdown of the Belfast Agreement last month, a comprehensive plan to remake the police force in the troubled region is ready to be implemented — with the apparent support of both Protestants and the Catholic minority — when and if an overall political accord can be reached.
      The British government had announced in January that it would put into effect over the next 20 months recommendations made by an independent international commission chaired by Chris Patten, the former governor of Hong Kong,. The 175 proposals compiled in “A New Beginning: Policing in Northern Ireland” call for a police college, an equal number of Protestant and Catholic candidates for the force, less fortress-like police stations and the creation of a board to review police conduct, among other reforms...

Las Vegas cops take some of the glitter off city’s allure to wanted criminals

      Whether it is for the chance to start their lives over or to have a final roll of the dice, sooner or later fugitives always seem to end up in Las Vegas, the nation’s mecca for criminals on the run. And when they do hit town, the most successful fugitive squad in the country is waiting to capture them, using mainly their wits and a variety of well-honed tricks intended to lure them out of hiding.
      The 11-member Criminal Apprehension Team, one of 56 such units composed of FBI agents and local police that were created in 1992 under the federal Safe Streets Program, arrested 840 felons during the first 10 months of 1999, as compared with Los Angeles team’s 382, New York’s 301 and San Francisco’s 251, according to FBI statistics. The team estimated in November that it would chalk up 1,000 arrests by the end of the year...

Equal opportunity?
More women arrested for DV — but why?

      Recent increases in the percentage of women arrested in domestic violence disputes has victims’ advocates, researchers and police confounded and fishing for explanations.
      In Vermont, the ratio of female arrestees charged with domestic assault rose from 16 percent in 1997 to 23 percent in 1999. Boulder, Colo., found that one-quarter of defendants charged in such incidents were female. And in California, even as the overall rate of domestic violence arrests decreased, the percentage of women arrested rose to 16 percent, or 9,373 arrests compared with 47,519 for men...

Alcohol seen as fuel that drives men to domestic battery

      Domestic assaults on women by male partners are fueled primarily by a man’s abuse of alcohol and his economic insecurity, with ethnicity or a victim’s background playing virtually no role in the dynamics of the problem, according to two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December.
      In one of the most comprehensive studies to date on domestic violence, a research team led by physicians at the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of Southern California found that risk factors for male abusers include intermittent employment or unemployment, as well as having less than a high school education. Together, they may render a man less capable of expressing his frustrations verbally, the study suggested...

Police work gets safer (but not in Missouri)

      Policing has gotten safer for officers everywhere around the country except in the state of Missouri, according to findings by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which stated in a report last month that the number of line-of-duty deaths there was higher during the 1990s than it had been in the previous decade — a phenomenon that runs sharply counter to the national trend.
      The organization credited better training, the widespread use of body armor and the downward turn in the country’s homicide rate for the decrease in officer deaths. From a high of 222 in the 1970s, that figure fell to 187 in the 1980s and to 153 this past decade, said Craig W. Floyd, the memorial fund’s chairman. At the same time, the number of police has ballooned from 246,000 in 1965 to 740,000 in 1999, according to FBI figures...

LAPD hopes there’s money to be made in trademarking its icons

      Deciding that it was selling itself short by not selling itself at all, the Los Angeles Police Department is poised to profit from its world-famous image by making entertainment companies and vendors pay for the privilege of using its emblems.
      Under a proposal approved in November by the city’s Police Commission, a fee would be charged for the use of badges, logos, patches and the department seal, with the money going toward training, community programs and purchases of new equipment...

The hidden cost of the drug war: police integrity pays the price

      Drugs were not against the criminal law on a national level in the United States until the Harrison Act was passed on Dec. 7, 1914 — a date of infamy, you might say. Ever since then, we have had one drug war after another.
      The current one began in 1972 when President Richard Nixon first used the term “war on drugs.” That year, the federal budget for the drug war was roughly $101 million; in this first year of the new century, the federal budget for the drug war will be $17.8 billion. Now, most of us mere humans don’t understand those kinds of numbers, but my colleagues at the Hoover Institution, George Schultz and Milton Friedman, do, and being economists, of course, they are my strongest supporters in working against the drug war because they also know what the inevitable economic results of criminal prohibition are. I try to explain it to people in a way they could understand. In 1972, the average monthly Social Security check was $177. If those benefits had increased at the same rate the drug war spending had increased, the average Social Security check today would be $30,444 a month. The average weekly salary of $114 would be $19,000 a week, and if you had a mortgage of $408 a month in 1972 and it had increased at the same rate, your mortgage today would be over $60,000 a month. The magnitude of that escapes Americans, but on that basis alone I think it is fair to ask what we get for our money...

Eyeing Fed model, Conn. seeks tighter rules on shooting fleeing felons
Spurred by controversial shooting in Hartford, Governor’s Law Enforcement Council offers 17 proposals for statewide reforms.

      While finding no evidence to support assertions that officer-involved shootings are not fairly investigated in the state of Connecticut, a committee impaneled by Gov. John Rowland to examine the handling of such incidents has asked that the state legislators consider revising the law to prohibit the shooting of fleeing felons.
      Rowland created the 10-member Governor’s Law Enforcement Council in the aftermath of the death of 14-year-old Aquan Salmon, a black, unarmed robbery suspect who was shot last April by a white Hartford patrol officer, said a spokesman for the Governor. Salmon was the third African American killed by police in the past three years whose death raised questions of partiality. In 1997, an East Haven officer fatally shot Malik Jones, and a New Milford officer faces murder charges for the 1998 death of Franklyn Reid...

So where were we?
Busy year foreseen on gun-related issues

      In a number of states, gun legislation came and went last year in the tumultuous aftermath of the April massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Bills to liberalize the possession of concealed weapons and other gun owners’ rights measures were shelved as lawmakers bowed to the grief and anger of their constituents, while proposals to tighten various gun controls got a flurry of attention, although it was often fleeting, fading away as the political dust settled over Columbine.
      Legislators now predict that 2000 will be an unusually active year as states pick up where they left off, wrangling with the issue of gun control...

What you flee is what you get:
Court cuts new ruling from Terry cloth

      The act of running away from police, coupled with other behavior that could be construed as suspicious, may be considered grounds for a stop-and-frisk search by police, according to an eagerly awaited decision by the U.S. Supreme Court handed down in January, which settles the constitutional rules for one of the most frequent types of law enforcement encounters.
      The decision, Illinois v. Wardlow, No. 98-1036, stemmed from the September 1995 arrest of a Chicago man for possession of an illegal firearm. William Wardlow, 45, was apprehended as he tried to sprint away from police up an alley in a high-crime neighborhood. The weapon, a .38-caliber pistol, was found in an opaque plastic bag...

Minneapolis boots DARE for holistic health curriculum

      The city of Minneapolis and its police department have said no to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program after 11 years, in favor of a more comprehensive curriculum that school district officials say will teach an anti-drug message as just one of a spectrum of health-related issues.
      Although popular with parents and fifth-graders, DARE’s effectiveness has long been questioned. Police Chief Robert Olson cited studies which found it to have little effect when only used in one grade, as was the case in Minneapolis. “If you’re just using the single component, the fifth-grade component, it doesn’t make a hill of difference,” he told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune...

Oaklanders get cyber-view of crime problems

      The Oakland, Calif., Police Department is extending its community policing effort into cyberspace with an interactive Web site that opened in December to give residents the opportunity to check on crime in their own neighborhoods.
      Sgt. Bob Crawford, who heads the OPD’s crime analysis unit, said the department is hoping to form a more equal partnership with the community by providing as much of this type of information as it can. One of the obstacles the agency has faced in getting residents to participate in crime-reduction efforts has been the hesitancy citizens feel about reporting suspicious behavior, he told Law Enforcement News. Instead of calling police immediately, residents will sometimes wait three or four days for fear of infringing on someone’s privacy...

Cold murder trail heats up with help from eye-in-the-sky

      A man suspected in the murder of his daughter unwittingly led Spokane investigators to her grave site in November after satellite-linked transmitters they planted in his vehicle allowed police to track him for nearly three weeks.
      Spokane County sheriff’s officers were skeptical when William “Brad” Jackson reported his 9-year-old daughter, Valiree, missing on Oct. 18. According to Jackson’s story, the girl had vanished without a sound from the front yard early one school morning. Coincidentally, Valiree’s mother, Roseann Stone Pleasant, had disappeared just as mysteriously in 1992. Adding to their suspicions about Jackson was the blood they found on his shoes and the blood on Valiree’s sheets...