Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, No. 541 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY October 15, 2000

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: The real Worcester chief; from the frying pan to the fire; still too smart for policing; Riseling rising; now you see them, now you donít.
Ripple on the gene pool: DNA testing flap threatens cases in Michigan.
To arms (or not to arms): Making the call on heavier weapons vs. non-lethal alternatives.
Digital stalemate: To get a grant for buying a computer, first the department needs a computer.
No free lunch: Florida city cracks down on longstanding police perks.
Long-term investment: Cops focus their efforts on kids.
Shakedown shakeup: Chicago cops get stung extorting immigrants.
Show me the money: Civil judgment could bankrupt neo-Nazi group.
Forum: The drug warís terrible price; serious crime thatís not taken seriously.
Got change for a Buckeye? The Justice Department now has two Ohio departments under scrutiny.
Two-timing: Asset forfeiture may be double jeopardy, and New Mexico criminal justice officials are stymied.

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.

Readers are invited to voice their opinions on topical issues, in the form of letters or full-length commentaries. Please send all materials to the editor.


The drug war is exacting a terrible price

      With each massive drug seizure, evidence mounts that this country is sadly losing the war on drugs - not to drug cartels or drug traffickers over there but to the dependably relentless appetite for illegal drugs created by our neighbors right here at home. Eighty-six years after Congress passed the 1914 Harrison Act that criminalized drugs, Americaís drug consumption thrives. Our nationís premier drug-war strategy of more police, more interdiction, and more incarceration is failing and the trajectory continues downward.
      Our strategy calls for more police presence on our nationís streets. Drug-law enforcement, however, is a very difficult proposition at all levels. Drug violations are generally consensual. In almost every case, willing buyers and willing sellers participate secretly in this highly profitable criminalized industry...

A serious crime weíre not very serious about

      Have you ever been robbed? Luckily, most of us havenít. And even if youíre among the unfortunate victims, the good news is youíre safer than ever before. The National Crime Victimization Survey, administered each year by the Department of Justice, reports that burglaries are down, thefts of motor vehicles are down, and there are fewer muggings and purse-snatchings today than there were a quarter-century ago. Since the surveyís inauguration in 1973, burglaries have been reduced by two-thirds (to roughly 34 households per 1,000); the number of motor-vehicle thefts today is about half the rate in 1973.
      Our property is safer, and Americans are also less likely than ever to be hurt or killed by criminals. The FBIís Uniform Crime Report tells us that what the bureau calls serious crimes ó murder, assault, burglary, robbery, rape, larceny, arson and auto theft ó are all in decline...