Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, No. 536 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY June 30, 2000

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Staying close to home; chief goes back to school; Dr. SWAT; America’s oldest police sacrifice; coming in off the bench.
Lending an ear: Ga. county cops improve service to deaf residents.
Student teachers: Fort Worth high schoolers show cops how to reduce a backlog.
Talk isn’t cheap: For Orange County cops, it’s sometimes impossible via radio.
Bicoastal controversies: LAPD, NYPD are under fire for crowd-handling tactics.
Power outage: Louisville officials, police lock horns over subpoena for civilian review board.
Changing their ways: Philadelphia police get a better handle on rape cases.
Fashion police: Texas departments change their looks.
Rising in Defiance: Ohio cops see red over Fair Labor Standards.
A killer’s web: Has a task force nabbed the first Internet-based serial killer?
Mixed reviews: Outside monitor’s report says LA sheriff’s office is vulnerable to corruption.
First-response failures: Hartford police faulted for handling of medical calls.
Forum: On-again, off-again problems with police report-writing.

 People & Places

Close to home

      After a lengthy nationwide search, Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore filled the top post in the State Police by sticking with tradition rather than choosing any of the groundbreaking options he had considered. The state’s new top cop, Lieut. Col. W. Gerald Massengill, had been serving as acting superintendent since January, when Col. M. Wayne Huggins left to take a job in the private sector.
      Gilmore chose Massengill over two other candidates who would have made Virginia history if either had been selected. One finalist, Richmond Police Chief Jerry A. Oliver, would have been the first black superintendent of the State Police, while another, Durham, N.C., Police Chief Teresa Chambers, would have been the first woman named to the post...

Back to school

      It’s not every police chief who is willing to downplay his title and lay low in order to blend in with a class of police recruits. But Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Darrel Stephens, a 32-year police veteran, did just that, and on June 5 he was one of 41 recruits to graduate from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Training Academy.
      Stephens, 53, who had not attended a police academy since he first graduated in 1968, sat in on the legal classes and took all of the tests during the 19-week program. He was excused from the physical training. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the police academy,” he told The Charlotte Observer...

SWAT doctor

      Looking to combine law enforcement with medicine, Dr. Richard Tovar, chief of staff at Oconomowac Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin, was to be sworn in in July as a New Berlin police officer, enabling him to enter crime scenes empowered to render medical aid as well as make arrests.
      Tovar, 41, began working as an on-call volunteer for New Berlin’s SWAT team in 1996 and has been training monthly with tactical officers. He is the second doctor in Wisconsin to become a sworn tactical police officer, following Dr. John Robinson, the emergency room director at Sinai Samaritan Medical Center, who works with the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department...

Forgotten no longer

      On May 17, 1792, Westchester Deputy Sheriff Isaac Smith became the first known law enforcement officer in the United States to be killed in the line of duty. Nearly 208 years later, he was accorded rightful, if belated honors when his name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
      The events that led to Smith’s death began to unfold when John Ryer, a respectable cattleman and farmer in Westchester County, started causing trouble at the Hunts Inn, a tavern owned by Levi Hunt in what is now the South Bronx. Smith was called by Hunt to help restrain the heavily intoxicated and unruly customer. Smith tried to arrest Ryer, who fatally shot the deputy with two flintlock pistols...

No potted plant

      Arthur Spada, a Connecticut Superior Court judge who recently led the grand jury investigation of police corruption in Hartford, has taken over as the state’s Commissioner of Public Safety, succeeding world-renowned forensic scientist Dr. Henry C. Lee.
      Lee, 61, whose investigation of blood stains on a sock helped win the acquittal of O.J. Simpson on murder charges, said he believed that he had fulfilled his duty as the public safety commissioner during his two years in office, and now plans to focus his energy on unsolved murders, such as the JonBenet Ramsey case. “I have finished the projects I promised the governor I would get done and now it is time to step back,” Lee said...