Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, No. 545, 546 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY December 15/31, 2000

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In this special double issue:

(All unsigned articles by Jennifer Nislow. Uncredited photos by AP/Wide World.)

Crime rates: Is the party over?
NYPD bounces off Bumpurs: EDP training evolved out of 1984 shooting
Problem-solving, community policing blend smoothly with EDP response
The pendulum of case law on the mentally ill
Looking for the right mix in handling domestic violence.
100,000 cops later, is the COPS office doing its job?
Capital punishment: Fatal flaws in the machinery of death?
Looking for the truth? It might be in your genes.
Welcome technical advances come in small packages.
Despite a manpower buildup, frustrations are building along the border with Mexico.
Coast-to-coast, facing up to unflattering profiles.
New Jersey remains ground zero in the racial profiling uproar.
People & Places: Personalities who made 2000 distinctive.
Seattle becomes a code word for protest.
Speed is the name of the game on the drug front.
The Rampart scandal could help reinvent the LAPD.
“Help wanted” signs spring up throughout law enforcement.
34 years later, the Miranda decision has a new day in court.
Who’s got their finger on the trigger of the gun issue?
Justice by the Numbers: A statistical profile of criminal justice in 2000.

Justice by the Numbers
A statistical profile of criminal justice in the United States, vintage 2000

      0: The number of guilty verdicts returned in the trial of four white New York City police officers charged in the shooting death of Amadou Diallo.

      1.2: The percentage of federally licensed gun dealers responsible for the original sale of 57 percent of all firearms used in crimes, according to data from the ATF’s new gun-tracing system.

      6: The number of times that Butte-Silver Bow, Mont., undersheriff Bob Butorovich failed the agency’s marksmanship qualification test, prompting his dismissal in September by interim sheriff John Walsh.

      6: The number of models of autoloading pistols that failed to meet minimum federal performance standards required for a law enforcement sidearm. All failed the requirement of firing 600 rounds with no more than five malfunctions. Some models also failed the drop safety test, which requires the gun to be dropped from a height of four feet without firing, as well as other standards.

      7: The percentage decrease in reported serious crime in 1999, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. Crime has declined for eight consecutive years, but criminologists warn that the relatively small dip in the murder rates of major cities is an indication that the days of record-setting reductions may be nearing an end.

      7: The number of states that have on the books a package of “basic” gun-control laws, according to a survey by the Founder’s Collaborative for Gun Violence Prevention. The package includes registration of handguns and assault weapons; a minimum age for gun possession; owner licensing; a waiting period before purchase; a junk-gun ban, and a one-gun-a-month law.

      7.5: Percentage increase in violent crime in the first half of 2000 in Los Angeles, including a 30-percent rise in murders. Police officials blame inter-gang conflicts for the increase.

      9: The number of people shot, three fatally, by controversial Detroit Police Officer Eugene Brown during his six years on the job.

      $10: The annual fee charged to the Rock Springs, Wyo., P.D., by a local car dealer for short-term use of some of the dealership’s vehicles in special operations such as surveillance. Chief Nick Kourbelas praised Whisler Chevrolet for providing a public service.

      11: The percentage growth in the full-time ranks of federal law enforcement between 1996 and 1998, with sizable increases in the INS and Border Patrol making up the lion’s share of the overall growth.

      20: Percentage of officers who feel their agencies would be overly harsh in handling incidents of officers accepting free meals, discounts or holiday gifts; covering up a DWI accident involving a fellow officer, and use of excessive force, according to a federally funded study of police integrity.

      21: Percentage decrease in the level of violence against women from 1993 to 1998, according to a Justice Department study released in May.

      22: Percentage vacancy rate in the ranks of the Sanger, Calif., P.D., which is losing officers to the better-paying Fresno police force.

      24.2: Percentage of women in the sworn ranks of the Philadelphia P.D., the best proportion among U.S. law enforcement agencies, according to a study by the National Center for Women and Policing.

      28: The number of years as police chief served by Pat Minetti, who stepped down as top cop in Hampton, Va., in January.

      40: The percentage of incidents of use of force by white officers that also involved black suspects, according to a study of the Miami-Dade County, Fla., Police Department. The study, which examined the roles played by officer and suspect ethnicity in use-of-force episodes, also concluded that Miami-Dade officers, on average, used a level of force that was less than the degree of resistance shown by suspects.

      41: Percentage of officers in a study of police fatigue by the Police Executive Research Forum who were found to have clinical sleep pathologies.

      43: Percentage of inmates sent to Tennessee prisons in 1998 who were repeat offenders, according to a state audit released in April.

      42: The number of variables having “a significant effect on the likelihood of closing a [homicide] case,” according to a federally funded study. Of these, 37 variables were said to be controllable by police.

      79: Percentage increase in rape arrests by the Philadelphia P.D. in the first three months of 2000, after the department overhauled its widely criticized practice of classifying many rape reports as “unfounded.”

      93: The percentage of Columbus, Ohio, police officers who logged four or fewer civil complaints from 1995 to 1999, according to police documents analyzed by The Columbus Dispatch. Twelve of the city’s 1,700 officers generated at least 10 complaints each, while more than 600 logged none

      151: The number of federal, state and local law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2000, according to a preliminary tabulation by the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund. The total includes 51 shot to death; 67 killed in automobile accidents or struck by automobiles while outside their own vehicles. Eight officers were killed in motorcycle accidents; 7 in aircraft accidents; 6 succumbed to job-related illnesses; 3 drowned; 3 died in falls; 2 were stabbed; 1 died in a bicycle accident, and 1 in an accident involving a horse; 1 was beaten to death, and 1 died in a bomb-related incident. The 2000 tally is 11 percent higher than the death toll from a year earlier.

      230: The number of deaths in Florida from 1997 to 1999 attributed to the use of Ecstasy, GHB and other so-called “teen party drugs,” according to state officials.

      254: The number of guns auctioned off by the state in the first resale of confiscated firearms under a controversial new state law.

      262: Baltimore’s homicide total for 2000, the first time in a decade the annual total fell below 300.

      458: The number of wanted fugitives who have appeared on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in March.

      2,736: The number of police agencies collecting and submitting comprehensive crime data under the National Incident-Based Reporting System, compared to 14,043 that still use the FBI’s Summary Uniform Crime Reporting approach.

      $100,000: The death benefit for Iowa police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty, under a bill signed into law in March.

      $105,000: Projected top salary for Suffolk County, N.Y., patrol officers in 2003, after an arbitrator awarded police successive annual raises of 5.5 percent.

      $240,000: Estimated amount of cash said to have disappeared from the Fresno, Calif., police evidence room, according to internal auditors.

      $250,000: The prize money won by Omaha police Lieut. Eric Buske as a contestant on the TV game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

      $289,000: The amount of money Salt Lake City expects to save each year from its decision to drop the DARE anti-drug curriculum for fifth-graders.

      $1.6 million: The cost of a computer system intended to track corruption complaints for the NYPD, which internal affairs investigators say now has to be overhauled because it doesn’t function properly. The system was two years late coming on line.

      1,860,520: The number of inmates in local, state and federal prisons and jails as of mid-1999, according to a report released in April by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

      3.5 million: Estimated number of Ecstasy pills confiscated by Customs inspectors nationwide in fiscal year 1999. More than one-third of that total was seized in New York City alone.

      $4.85 million: Estimated value of gems and luxury watches stolen in six states by a jewel-theft ring masterminded by former Chicago chief of detectives William Hanhardt. Hanhardt, who was suspected of having ties to organized crime during his heyday with the Chicago P.D. in the 1950s, is believed to have gotten police officers to use department computers to furnish him with information needed for the thefts.

      $6.3 million: The punitive and compensatory damages awarded in a civil lawsuit against the white supremacist group Aryan Nations, for negligence in hiring, training and supervising two security guards who assaulted a woman and her son outside the group’s Idaho compound two years ago. The damage award was said to be large enough to bankrupt the neo-Nazi organization.

      $81 million: The damage award sought in a lawsuit filed against New York City and four NYPD officers by the family of police shooting victim Amadou Diallo.

      $200 million: The projected cost of merging fingerprint data bases of the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, a project spurred by the inadvertent release in 1999 of a serial killer after the Border Patrol found no computer record to indicate that he was wanted by the FBI and local law enforcement.