Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, No. 531 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY April 15, 2000

[LEN Home] - [Masthead] - [Past Issues] SUBSCRIBE

In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
Hot-pink alert: Unwelcome public notice for unregistered ex-cons.
People & Places: Changing sides; Gruber’s latest challenge; the breath of life; Henry Lee returns to high-profile crime-solving.
Keeping tabs: An outside monitor looks over Hartford PD’s shoulder.
State of the states: A new survey finds state gun-control laws lacking.
Thinking bigger: Cleveland PD wants to expand on high-tech successes.
No place like home: Help with mortgages for Anchorage officers.
Dueling data: Customs moves to refute GAO report on airline strip-searches.
They said what? Police groups baffled by Court’s ruling on anonymous tips.
Keeping ‘em at home: Adult curfew law raises a few eyebrows.
The Big Apple of their eyes: Police agencies search for a smarter, more diverse recruit pool.
Street fighting: Philadelphia mayor unveils anti-gun anti-crime strategy.
Too much of a good thing? Civilianization raises concerns in Illinois.
Forum: When it comes to survival training for female officers, think FAST.
Criminal Justice Library: New books on critical issues & assessment.
The paper chase: U.S. marshals seize Denver PD files
Breaking up the old gang: Chicago scatters its anti-gang squad.

Chronic fatigue, from A to Zzzzz
Study sees overtired cops prone to lapses in judgment, even misconduct

      Using overtime to make up for manpower shortages and allowing sworn personnel to work unlimited hours at off-duty jobs is causing chronic fatigue among officers, undercutting community-policing efforts that rely heavily on positive interactions between police and citizens, according to a recent study from the Police Executive Research Forum.
      The study, “Evaluating the Effects of Fatigue on Police Patrol Officers,” examined officers from law enforcement agencies in Lowell, Mass.; Polk County, Fla.; Arlington County, Va.; and Portland, Ore., subjecting them to a variety of tests including a self-report survey, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and a pupilometer, which measures fatigue through involuntary eye reactions...

Crime-prevention certification can get you to the head of the grantee line

      Virginia officials, hoping to encourage communities statewide to adopt such crime-prevention initiatives as neighborhood watch and school-based anti-drug programs, have launched a new certification program that will give participating localities preferential treatment when they apply for state law enforcement grants.
      According to Doug Smith, a program resource coordinator with the state Department of Criminal Justice Services, the initiative grew out of the findings of a commission formed in 1998 to advise Gov. James S. Gilmore on how to address issues of crime and delinquency. For more than a year, he told Law Enforcement News, the Governor’s New Partnership Commission for Community Safety had been holding hearings trying to get a sense of the problems faced by different localities...

Consumer-protection rules now apply to firearms in Massachusetts

      Taking a new tack in the battle over gun control, Massachusetts officials this month were able to establish what they believe to be the toughest gun controls in the nation without passing further legislation, by extending existing consumer protections to include handgun safety requirements.
      The new regulations come after a three-year legal skirmish which ended on March 20, when the gun industry failed to meet a deadline for further appeals. Under the new rules, all handguns must have childproof safety locks, tamperproof serial numbers and written warning material produced by the attorney general’s office. The regulations also effectively ban Saturday Night Specials by setting strict standards for manufacturing the guns...

Sex-offender red alert now comes in hot pink

      If sex offenders and other violent ex-convicts living in Great Falls, Mont., believe they are keeping their whereabouts hidden by not registering with local police, detectives have a surprise for them, in the form of a hot-pink door sign that acts as both a reminder and notification for the community.
      The Great Falls Police Department had been struggling to monitor all 57 registered sex offenders and the 131 other violent offenders in the city because they tended to move often and give false addresses, said Lieut. Jere Carpenter. Under state law, such offenders are required to give their addresses to police...

Who’s looking over Hartford PD’s shoulder?
Outisde monitor to check compliance with consent decree

      A Federal judge in Connecticut last month approved the hiring of a civil rights attorney to act as an independent monitor to oversee the Hartford Police Department’s adherence to a 1973 consent decree in which the agency was ordered to establish and maintain new hiring, promotional and training policies, including those regulating the use of force.
      The ruling by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Bree Burns endorsing the appointment of Richard A. Bieder stemmed from the passage on Feb. 29 of a resolution by the Hartford City Council to appoint a “special master” with subpoena powers. Community and religious groups have pushed for a monitor since the April 1999 shooting of Aquan Salmon, an unarmed black teenager, by a city police officer. The incident caused an uproar in Hartford much like that which occurred in New York City after the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo by police earlier that same year...

The state of the states:
Survey finds state gun laws sorely lacking

      Fewer than 10 states have laws requiring the registration of handguns and assault weapons, a minimum age for gun possession, owner licensing, a waiting period, and a “junk gun” ban, among other ordinances considered by gun-control advocates to represent basic gun-control laws, according to a comparative study released this month.
      The report, “Gun Control in the United States, A Comparative Survey of State Firearms Laws,” found that based on 30 weighted gun control measures, just seven states scored above 30 percent of 100 possible points. Forty-two states scored under 20 percent, with an average score of just 9 percent...

Cleveland PD hopes to expand on high-tech anti-drug success

      Outfitting detective squads with hand-held video cameras and night-vision scopes has worked so well for the Cleveland Police Department that it is considering expanding their use to operations other than drug enforcement, said the agency.
      Last month, the City Council spent $18,000 of a $2 million federal grant to purchase 8mm. digital hand-held video cameras and binoculars for detective squads in each of the department’s six districts. Although the CPD’s narcotics unit has always had its surveillance devices, neighborhood units had to either borrow the equipment or do without...

Anchorage cops sing, “Oh, give me a home”

      As a means of persuading Anchorage police officers to purchase homes in the communities they patrol, the National Bank of Alaska is offering a break on its mortgage fees.
      Under the “Good Neighbor Program,” sworn personnel who are willing to live in the Mountain View, Fairview, Spenard, Muldoon or Government Hill areas for at least three years will have the standard 1-percent fee on their loans waived by the bank. The program’s goal is to reduce crime and promote security in those communities, said Michelle Carufel, vice president of the bank’s mortgage loan department...

My data can beat up your data:
Customs refutes GAO on strip-searches

      The U.S. Customs Service this month released its own statistics to refute what it contends are less than current findings by a General Accounting Office report in which black women coming into the country were found more likely than other airline passengers to be stripped and searched.
      The GAO report, “Better Targeting of Airline Passengers for Personal Searches Could Produce Better Results,” had been requested by Senator Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) after he received complaints from African-American women who filed a class-action lawsuit claiming they were unfairly singled out at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The report analyzed 102,000 searches by Customs inspectors of passengers on international flights in the years 1997 and 1998. During that period, as many as 140 million people entered the United States from abroad...

Police let down by Court’s anonymous-tip decision

      Police groups were frustrated and baffled last month by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that seemed to zig when it was expected to zag in an appeal involving law enforcement’s authority to conduct firearms searches based on anonymous tips.
      Rejecting the argument put forth by the state of Florida, the Clinton administration and a broad coalition of state attorneys general, the Court ruled unanimously on March 28 that in order for an anonymous tip to be reliable enough to justify police action, even when a firearm is reported, it must do more than simply describe a suspect’s appearance and location...

Town tries to keep adults off the streets and out of trouble

      What’s in a word? Apparently, quite a lot, when that word is “adult” followed by “curfew,” as city and police officials in Cloverport, Ky., have found out.
      Under a new law passed by the City Council on March 22, it is illegal for anyone 18 and older not “engaged in lawful occupation” to be in public between midnight and 5 A.M. on weeknights, and from 1 to 5 A.M. on weekends. First offenders will get a warning, but violators may be fined up to $250. The town adopted a curfew for minors two years ago...

Wanted: a smarter, more diverse applicant pool:
For recruiting, college is the Big Apple of police agencies’ eyes

      As law enforcement recruiters from around the country venture farther from home in a quest to fill their ranks with college-educated, racially-diverse recruits, midtown Manhattan has become an increasingly popular destination.
      This month, a seven-member team from the Los Angeles Police Department launched a massive recruitment initiative at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, screening some 4,000 hopefuls in just three days. It marked the first time in nearly 20 years that the LAPD has come to New York City to recruit...

Street fighting:
Phila. mayor unveils anti-gun, anti-crime strategy

      In defiance of state lawmakers, Philadelphia officials this month said they would initiate a lawsuit against 14 gun manufacturers as part of a package of crime-fighting strategies that also includes an expanded role for Police Commissioner John F. Timoney, the distribution of free gun locks to residents and the targeting of suburbanites who drive into the city to buy drugs.
      Although Pennsylvania passed a law in December prohibiting broad legal action against the gun industry, Philadelphia City Solicitor Kenneth I. Trujillo said the city had found a loophole that permits the suit. Filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court on April 11, the suit alleges that the gun makers are a public nuisance because they knowingly oversaturated the market, allowing criminals easier access to firearms; used shade dealers and distributors; advertised to facilitate criminal intent, and failed to make handguns safer. The lawsuit skirts the narrowly worded state law which bars action against the legal marketing of guns...

Civilianization may be too much of a good thing in Chicago suburbs

      There is some concern among law enforcement officers in the outlying suburbs of Chicago that hiring civilians to fill jobs that once went to sworn personnel is a concept gaining too much popularity with management.
      In the interest of putting as many officers on the street as possible, many of the departments in Chicago’s northwest suburbs have been turning to retired officers or people who were never sworn. Since 1995, the Schaumburg Police Department has civilianized 11 of its 138 sworn posts, seven of them supervisory, including evidence technician supervisor, administrative lieutenant and training director...

The paper chase:
U.S. marshals seize Denver PD files

      The list of problems bedeviling the Denver Police Department continues to grow, as officials are now trying to get back thousands of confidential internal files a federal judge had ordered seized from the department last month, after his orders to show them to attorneys for the plaintiff in a brutality suit were not obeyed.
      Under orders from U.S. District Court Judge John Kane Jr., federal marshals raided the DPD on March 22, carrying out boxes containing between 5,000 and 7,000 Internal Affairs Bureau records on incidents of police violence and transferring them to the federal courthouse, according to U.S. Marshal Service enforcement supervisor Ken Deal. Weeks earlier, Kane had ordered city officials to turn the documents over to attorneys representing Matthew Combs, who claims a police officer kicked and beat him in 1998, causing brain damage...

Chicago anti-gang unit gets scattered

      Without abandoning the mandate to go after gang-related crimes, the Chicago Police Department has broken up its anti-gang unit, dispersing its members to the agency’s narcotics and detective divisions in what is seen as a reaction to the recent charges against a veteran officer accused of running an extensive drug ring, whose alleged exploits included shakedowns, extortion, robberies, case-fixing and protecting a murder suspect.
      Last month, the former leader of the Latin Lovers street gang, Nelson Padilla, pleaded guilty to the 1995 murder of a rival gang member. Padilla testified that he was able to elude capture for years with the help of gang unit Officer Joseph Miedzianowski and another, unnamed officer, who provided him with food, a cellular phone and a list of witnesses to the murder...