Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, No. 544 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY November 30, 2000

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: An OK chorale; exiting in protest; working without Annette; smaller pastures; outside track; tough top cop.
Olympic undertaking: Finding enough cops to police the 2002 Winter Games.
Paying up: College settles suit over false promises to CJ students.
Partners against crime: College & industry team up to fight cyber-crime.
Domestic help: Rethinking the merits of mandatory arrest & restraining orders in fighting domestic violence.
Candid cameras: In-car video recorders may not be working out.
Quality counts: IACP honors three cutting-edge programs.
Cleaning up their act: Solutions to nagging graffiti problems.
Quota, unquota: Is 19 years long enough for hiring decree?
A ruse is a ruse: Albuquerque says “oops” over wiretap subterfuge.
Power of suggestion: Few teens are counseled to think of police careers.
Forum: Random thoughts on the KC patrol study; the Wardlow ruling takes flight.
Criminal Justice Library: Gender & community policing; a guide to selecting a police chief.
All aboard: Model railroaders help police with tabletop simulations.

Virtual porn, very real problem
Computer-generated images raise question of “victimless” crime

      While it is highly likely that the Child Pornography Protection Act of 1996 (CCPA), meant to close legal loopholes created by technology, will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the very near future, in the meantime law enforcement authorities have a dilemma on their hands: Is possessing computer-generated images of fictional children engaged in sexual activity an enforceable offense?
      Two Arizona judges last year said no. The rulings set no legal precedent, but they have prompted debate over whether the state’s child-exploitation laws should be changed, and if so, should they mimic the statute which has split the nation’s circuit courts...

Hiring problem? What hiring problem? NYSP has answers to recruiting slump

      With police departments across the country bemoaning the recent dearth of quality recruits, the New York State Police just swore in its largest class in 30 years last month. And until his agency has pulled out all the stops with its new recruitment drive, State Police Superintendent James W. McMahon says he will not accept the economy as the reason behind law enforcement’s continuing difficulty in attracting and retaining worthy candidates.
      Building on its latest success, the NYSP has launched an extensive campaign aimed at drawing an even greater number of applicants to entrance exams being given throughout the state in March and April. If all 249 trainees from its more recent class graduate next spring, the strength of the force will be up to 4,266, the highest in its 83-year history...

Memphis PD is king of the NIBRS hill, although getting there is a hard climb

      There is apparently no easy way to convert from the FBI’s traditional Uniform Crime Reporting system to the more detailed National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), as the Memphis Police Department discovered during a transition period that agency officials described as “three long, hard years.”
      Memphis became the largest municipal police agency in the nation to switch to the incident-based system when it was certified on Nov. 7. A state-specific version of the program, called the Tennessee Incident-Based Reporting System (TIBRS), will be submitted to the state Bureau of Investigation, which will in turn send the data to the FBI. The conversion will mean more federal grants and a tremendous improvement in crime analysis, said Maj. Wink Downen, the police department’s CompStat and information technology manager...

Olympic undertaking:
Finding cops for 2002 Games isn’t easy

      Law enforcement officials in Utah County, Utah, may have balked at donating full-time officers to cover events of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games held in other jurisdictional venues, but encouragement by a trio of the state’s police leaders this month has netted dozens of lawmen from around the nation who are willing to help.
      Much of Utah County’s law enforcement brass agreed with Mike Larsen, director of public safety in Orem, when he told The Salt Lake Tribune in October that donating officers to the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command decreased his ability to staff his own city...

College’s unfulfilled promises to CJ students prove costly

      A community college in Washington state this month settled part of a $2.1-million lawsuit by giving free tuition to students in its criminal justice program, who claimed the school falsely represented its ability to help them get jobs.
      Some 179 students identified in the class-action suit filed in May 1999 will receive vouchers for up to 90 credits at Green River Community College in Auburn. The vouchers may be used by the students or immediate family members, said John Ramsey, a college spokesman...

Partners in crime-fighting
College, software giant team up against cyber-crime

      Pointing to a need for more sophisticated criminal justice training to address the growing problem of cyber-crime, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Computer Associates International are jointly developing a state-of-the-art training and research facility.
      The Stephen E. Smith Cyber Crime Center will bring together financial, corporate, law enforcement and academic institutions to support technology-enhanced crime-fighting research initiatives, according to a statement by the college, which is part of the City University of New York system...

Elusive answers to domestic violence:
Do restraining orders, mandatory arrest really help?

      In jurisdictions around the country, the battle continues to rage over whether mandatory arrest policies and the use of restraining orders make a difference in reducing levels of domestic violence.
      Police and prosecutors in Denver, speaking last month before a Governor’s Task Force on Violent Crime, argued that a 1994 law mandating arrests in all domestic abuse cases will create a backlog of minor cases for the courts and clog jails. The ordinance became news in October after Colorado Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy, the winningest goalie in the National Hockey Association, was arrested at his Greenwood Village home. Although his wife was not hurt, Roy was taken into custody after pulling two bedroom doors off their hinges during a fight...

Video killed the radio car:
Police rethink cruiser cameras

      When they work, they can provide solid evidence of a law enforcement officer’s conduct. But when they don’t — which seems to be more often the case — any protection offered by a video camera installed in a patrol car is negligible, according to a number of departments that have removed the devices.
      Audio and video feeds from cruisers are used increasingly in court to prove or disprove misconduct. In a report prepared for the Chicago Police Department, Jess Maghan, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, cites an internal audit which found that some sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles County had tried to sabotage the equipment when it was first installed, believing it would be used to spy on them...

Quality rules the day in IACP awards

      The three winners of the 2000 Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement, presented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, tackled problems as diverse as underage drinking, homelessness and gun violations. What they had in common was a level of success that could be measured in double digits.
      In Fontana, Calif., over 96 percent of high school seniors who participated in the Police Department’s DRY2K prevention, education and enforcement program said their attitude toward alcohol use had been changed...

Problem-solving approaches take aim at graffiti

      Concerned teenagers can be the eyes and ears of police officers, as the San Diego Police Department has learned through its Kids in Control (KIC) program, a graffiti-reduction initiative that recently won a top honor in the area of problem-oriented policing.
      The program was developed by Officer David Tos and his partner, Officer Corinne Hard, last October. Noticing that more youths than adults attended community meetings in the City Heights neighborhood, they wanted to provide a means for adolescents to get involved in their community...

Teens lack guidance into police work

      Only 3 percent of teenagers who responded to a nationwide poll said they were encouraged by high school guidance counselors into pursuing a career in law enforcement, according to an Internet-based company that provides preparatory materials for police entrance tests.
      The poll, conducted by, asked 914 teenagers and young adults what influenced them the most to think about a career in law enforcement and what concerned them most about applying for such a job, said a spokeswoman for the company, a division of LearningExpress...

Too much of a good thing? Georgia lawsuit says 1981 hiring quota is now reverse discrimination

      White police officers and firefighters in Macon, Ga., have gone to court to try and dismantle a hiring quota imposed nearly 20 years ago, contending that the quota’s objectives have been met and now constitute reverse discrimination.
      In two separate lawsuits, some 16 officers and 60 firefighters asked U.S. District Judge Duross Fitzpatrick this month to dissolve a consent decree and affirmative action plan adopted in 1981. The suits also seek an injunction prohibiting the city’s two public safety agencies from making any promotions pending the outcome of the litigation...

A ruse by any other name: Albuquerque PD seeks to avoid repeat of wiretap subterfuge

      After an ill-conceived operation based on a ruse last year caused the Albuquerque Police Department to lose credibility in the eyes of the community, the agency has taken pains to make sure it does not happen again.
      Any similar plans in the future will have to be cleared by Chief Jerry Galvin and the deputy chief involved in the investigation, as well as by the City Attorney and the APD’s legal adviser. Previously, such efforts were discussed only with the district attorney...

Criminal Justice Library: Caught in a gender-bender?
Yet another angle on the community-policing issue

      Gender and Community Policing: Walking the Talk.
By Susan L. Miller
Boston: Northeastern University Press (The Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime and Law), 1999.255 pp.
      Were you convinced that community policing had been analyzed from every possible angle? Think again...

Playing with trains is not just kid stuff, PD is glad to learn

      Simply and cost-effectively, disaster management training has gone 3-D at the Virginia Beach Police Department, which recently acquired tabletop simulations of the city built by a local model railroading club.
      In addition to two modules — a school and a business — which can be used interchangeably, the department now has a scale model of the city’s Oceana neighborhood. The simulations will be used to train officers in the event of plane crashes, hurricane, fires, floods and complex criminal situations...