Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, No. 540 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY September 30, 2000

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Policing becomes a habit; bumps in the road; say “Ahh”; going out in style; good news for Newport News; dead or alive; missing the mark.
The long & winding road: A special supplement to this issue celebrates LEN’s 25th anniversary with a look back at policing over the last quarter of the 20th century.
Warm bodies: How two cities are bucking the troubling recruitment trend.
It’s murder out there: New Orleans tries a two-pronged approach to get a handle on homicides.
Choosing their targets: How Minneapolis police are driving down crime.
Mind fields: Charleston police learn to spot Alzheimer’s disease sufferers & come to their aid.

Corps values
Navy SEAL-type training for Police Corps recruits questioned

      In the years since the Police Corps program was introduced to a decidedly mixed welcome from law enforcement professionals, some of those who were initially enthusiastic about the plan to supply police departments with federally subsidized, college-educated recruits have now soured on it, saying its intensive military-style training is incompatible with today’s model of policing
      The Police Corps’s perceived shortcomings — as well as its virtues — were scrutinized recently in an investigative series by two reporters from The Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat. The newspaper also closely examined the way in which the Police Corps mirrors the world view of its creator, Adam Walinsky, and how his determination to retain authority over the program, often to the point of micromanagement, has put him at odds with state and local law enforcement...

Unprecedented RICO suit against police is a bad fit, LA officials say

      The plaintiffs in a racketeering suit filed against the Los Angeles Police Department still have a long way to go before they may be able to collect damages, according to some legal experts, but the fact that such a claim was successfully lodged in the first place is, if not unprecedented in law enforcement, then at least highly controversial.
      U.S. District Judge William Rea ruled on Aug. 28 that the beleaguered police department may be sued under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The suit stems from last year’s scandal in the Rampart Division, which so far has resulted in more than 100 criminal convictions being tossed out, and more than 70 officers investigated. At least five officers have been arrested and face criminal charges...

Criminal justice innovations earn a place in the limelight for three agencies

      A community-oriented policing initiative in California that targets at-risk youths and their families, a program that has reduced violence in New York City’s jails and an alternative to juvenile incarceration being practiced in Oregon are among the 25 programs chosen last month as finalists for the Innovations in American Government Awards.
      The award, which recognizes public-sector agencies that have found creative ways to resolve internal or external issues confronting them, has had 85 percent of its winners over the past 14 years see their ideas replicated. The winners, who will be announced on Oct. 12, each get a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation; all finalists get $20,000 grants...

How two cities buck the recruitment trend

      With recruitment considered to be among the most pressing problems in law enforcement, police departments in the cities of Madison, Wis., and Baltimore are bucking the trend, reporting healthy numbers of applicants.
      While Madison has not suffered the dearth of recruits that other cities have, the same cannot be said about Baltimore. Said Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris about his department: “Things weren’t going well [before]. Crime is very high, we weren’t viewed as a real energized agency, and the pay was not that good. Now that has been rectified.”..

Two-pronged approach to drive down homicides

      To reduce the city’s double-digit surge in homicides this year, New Orleans police officials have rolled out a two-pronged strategy, increasing the number of city narcotics officers and teaming police with probation and parole officers to track repeat offenders.
      During the first six months of this year, murders in New Orleans rose by 34 percent over the same period in 1999. Even with the increase, the 137 homicides in the first half of this year — up from 102 in 1999 — represent the second lowest six-month tally in the past 12 years...

Keeping Alzheimer’s sufferers in mind

      They can be calm one moment and belligerent the next, stubborn and defiant, or seemingly lost. But these individuals are not necessarily drunk — they could be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and the distinction is one that police in Charleston, S.C., have learned to identify, thanks to a series of roll call training sessions earlier this year.
      According to Sgt. Joe Dunmeyer, a training officer with the Charleston Police Department, there had been a number of incidents in which Alzheimer’s patients were misidentified. In April, police found 67-year-old Albertha Randolph peering into parked cars. She told officers that she had misplaced her black Oldsmobile. When police finally dropped her off at a hotel, they did so without knowing that family members in Beaufort County were looking for her, reported The Charleston Post and Courier...

MPD chooses its targets

      An anti-crime strategy that includes the targeting of lesser offenses and use of a computerized mapping program is being hailed by Minneapolis police officials as key factors in a 10-percent decline in the city’s crime rate during the first six months of 2000 compared with the same period last year.
      “Definitely, our decrease in crime surpasses the national average,” said Lieut. Mike Martin. Minneapolis recorded an 11-percent drop in 1999 when the rest of the nation saw declines averaging 7 percent, noted Police Chief Robert Olson...