Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, No. 527 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY February 14, 2000

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Psyched out; Phil ’er up; crowding the exits at Justice; calling off the search.
Some welcome home: Denver chief’s summary ouster.
A mistake or not: Experts say a British DNA miscue isn’t likely to happen here.
Holding back the tide: The NYPD tries to forestall a wave of 20-year retirees.
All there in black & white: Two court rulings take a dim view of race as a factor in promotions.
Open-door policy: Citizens’ committee to swap ideas with Portland chief.
Who’s packing? Tulsa authorities launch Exile-type crackdown on illegal handguns.
Forum: No justice, no peace; the hidden costs of crime.
The latest twist: How a rotation policy had Baltimore PD spinning its wheels.
Unblinking eye: In-car video cameras prove more boon than burden for NJ troopers.
Trouble in the air: Hackers are jamming up police frequencies in California.

Note to Readers:

The opinions expressed on the Forum page are those of the contributing writer or cartoonist, or of the original source newspaper, and do not represent an official position of Law Enforcement News.

Readers are invited to voice their opinions on topical issues, in the form of letters or full-length commentaries. Please send all materials to the editor.


“No justice, no peace”: It’s not so simple

      From 1968 to 1999, I was a New York City police officer, and I must admit I have had difficulties with the concept of justice. In my personal life, there is no significant problem, as my religious beliefs and personal value system guide my conduct, and I try to treat others as I would like to be treated. But as a police officer, I took an oath to uphold the constitution and accepted the responsibility of enforcing the law impartially. The law, in turn, gave me the authority to use force, including deadly physical force. I was required to set aside my personal values and equitably enforce the law to protect the lives and property of all people.
      As written, the law is specific and clearly describes illegal conduct. In practice, the law recognizes diversity and introduces ambiguity into the role of the police officer. The maintenance of order in a diverse society requires consent to the rule of law, and that, in itself, could be the source of discontent...

Closer look reveals hidden costs of crime

      As a media expert, I know that perception and reality are not always the same. Issues can appear to be clear and concise, and only upon closer inspection reveal underlying concerns. This confusion is sometimes created on purpose, left up to a person’s interpretation of media spin. Other times it is simply the result of oversight. Such is the case with crime in society.
      Crime affects everyone, whether young or old, poor or rich. We all endure its crippling costs. Most expenses are obvious — the financial and emotional drains that are frequently recounted to us through news reports. Yet darker and more concealed costs of crime exist today as well, issues that are seldom discussed on the front pages of newspapers or on nightly newscasts. These real expenditures are difficult to see, earning them the label of “hidden” costs of crime. They have a detrimental effect on our lives because certain freedoms, like those associated with the idyllic communities of yesteryear, are no longer applicable today...