Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, No. 530 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY March 31, 2000

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Minetti’s not standing pat; leaving the FBI’s “front-row seat” in New York; obscene but not heard; cleaning house in Nassau.
Is it nice to be wanted? Celebrating 50 years of the FBI’s Top 10 list.
No problem: Report finds no evidence of organized racism in the Cleveland PD.
Root causes: Hairdressers get involved in spotting signs of domestic violence.
To tell the truth: How to deal with NYC cops who lie to investigators.
Turnaround: Philadelphia PD makes dramatic changes in the way it handles rapes.
$200M wedding: FBI, INS plan to merge fingerprint databases.
LEN interview: Stamford, Conn., Police Chief Dean Esserman.
Forum: Two views on racial profiling — what it is, what it isn’t, and how to get rid of it.
Calling a truce: Smith & Wesson breaks ranks with the gun industry in agreeing to terms with the Federal Government.
Calling for help: The 911 center in Memphis is awash in a sea of calls.
Something from nothing: A town with no police department wins a COPS grant to start one.
Disentanglement: Repercussions of a fatal hogtying incident in Utah.
Smooth flowing: A river runs through a proposed mutual-aid pact in Connecticut.

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.

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Cohen, Lennon, Wasserman:
Eliminating racial profiling — a ‘third way’

      Until recently, African American drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike stood a much greater chance than white drivers of being stopped by the State Police for a random drug search. In fact, law enforcement agencies throughout the nation commonly use tactics that subject members of certain minority groups to closer scrutiny than others. When a police officer detains and investigates a person or a group of people primarily because of their race — absent any information linking them to criminal activity — that officer is engaged in racial profiling.
      For example, for several years, police have known that African American gang members from New York City fly to Florida to buy cocaine. These gang members then use rental cars to transport the cocaine back to various locations in the Northeastern United States. Aware of this pattern, police officers from various agencies have adopted an enforcement approach in which they select primarily those cars driven by African American males traveling north on Interstate 95 to stop and search for drugs. While these stops have occasionally led to seizures of illegal drugs, they have also resulted in individuals who are not involved in illegal activity being stopped and detained...

Some straight talk on profiling

      Criminal profiling is an effective tool for law enforcement. Local, state and Federal law enforcement agencies have been utilizing criminal profiling for decades as a proven and valuable technique to identify criminals. For example, criminal profiling is used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Science Unit, which developed the profile of serial murderers as predominantly “white male loners.”
      It is no secret that the arrest of members of specific ethnic groups is dependent upon demographics. The Interstate 95 corridor from New York City to Washington, D.C., connects inner city to inner city. These inner cities are primarily populated by minorities. The majority of arrests involving smuggling of crack cocaine, powdered cocaine and heroin along the I-95 corridor usually involves African Americans. On the other hand, on Interstate 81 passing through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee, most of the arrestees are Caucasians trafficking in marijuana. Along the Southwest border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, the majority of arrested drug traffickers are Hispanics...