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.

 People & Places

Psyched out

      Whether or not they actually believed she had the gift of second-sight, for more than 30 years hundreds of police departments around the country listened when self-proclaimed psychic Dorothy Allison told investigators she had a vision of a missing child or information about a murder case they were working.
      Allison, a mother of four who lived in Nutley, N.J., died on Dec. 1 of heart failure at the age of 74. Her career as a clairvoyant began in 1967 when she told local police she dreamed of a blond, blue-eyed boy in a green snowsuit whose shoes were on the wrong feet. The child, Allison said, drowned in a pond and his body was stuck in a drain pipe. One month later, a missing boy whose description had not been made public was found in a drainpipe, his shoes on the wrong feet...

Phil’er up

      The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) gained a new commissioner in November when Knoxville, Tenn., Police Chief Phil E. Keith was sworn in for a three-year term.
      Said Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe: “This is a wonderful tribute to Chief Keith and yet another national accolade to his already impressive law enforcement career.”..

Crowding the exit

      Six years ago, two notable events occurred in policing: the passage of the Crime Control Act of 1994, which gave the nation the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and the appointment of Jeremy Travis as director of the National Institute of Justice, under whose leadership the success or failure of the COPS program and countless others made possible by the legislation continues to be examined.
      Last month, however, Travis announced he would be leaving the NIJ to become a senior fellow at the Law and Behavior Program at the Urban Institute, a division of the Washington-based think-tank which evaluates federal, state and local crime programs and policies such as mapping technologies and intervention initiatives...

Call off the search
Fort Worth taps protege to succeed late chief

      After losing its legendary police chief, Thomas Windham, to cancer in January, Fort Worth officials chose to forego a national search in favor of the man whom Windham himself had chosen to hold the reins during the last months of his life. On Feb. 1, acting Chief Ralph Mendoza, a 27-year-veteran of the force, was officially sworn in as the department’s new leader.
      Mendoza, 46, became a national figure last September after he calmly answered questions about a shooting at the Wedgwood Baptist Church that left seven people dead and many more wounded. It was his outstanding professionalism, many believe, that sold city officials on making his appointment permanent. Said City Council member Becky Haskin: “[Mendoza] not only impressed me, but he impressed the entire world for his ability to handle probably the worst situation any police chief or city could be in...