Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVII, No. 550 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY February 28, 2001

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Getting even; miracle return; Sid on top of the world; never too old; away from the desk.
Rainbow coalition: Diversity training in Portland focuses on transgender community.
Kinder, gentler policing: Chief takes a different tack with young first-time drug violators.
Bottoms-up policing: More officers getting responsibility for geographic beats.
The beat goes on: From the White House to the statehouses, new racial-profiling developments.
Making their points: Special skills are worth money to Mesa cops.
Sweetening the pot: Departments dangle bonuses in front of would-be recruits.
America rules: U.S. teenagers outdo their European counterparts in drug use.
Checkout time: M.O. changes have an impact on drug busts by NJSP’s “hotel
The jury is out: Do sex offender registries help reduce crime?
Payback: Seized drug money helps pay deputies’ college tuition.
Moonlight sonata: Off-duty work plan lowers rents, but raises questions.
Balancing act: Supreme Court weighs police needs vs. ciitizens’ rights.
Forum: A drug-control strategy for the new millennium.

Truth, DARE & consequences
Anti-drug program officials say curriculum needs a makeover

      After years of denouncing studies that said the DARE program’s methods for steering children away from drugs to be ineffective, or even counter-productive, officials of the anti-drug program this month conceded that their curriculum needed an overhaul.
      The nation’s most-popular and best-funded substance abuse prevention program for elementary and middle-school students, DARE is taught in 75 percent of the school districts in the United States and in 54 other countries. It has a budget of $225 million, with $1.7 million of that coming from the Department of Justice; $215 million from police departments who pay the salaries of officers; and about $15 million from corporate contributions...

As costs soar, questions of quality dog Mass. college-for-cops program

      As the overall cost of a program that provides educational incentives for police in Massachusetts balloons to a projected $2 billion by 2016, questions are being raised about the academic rigor demanded of students by four major university- and college-based night schools that offer the courses.
      “The time is long overdue for the state to evaluate whether the millions we’re paying for these diplomas are worth the paper they’re written on,” said Samuel R. Tyler, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau. “The graduation standards for high school seniors are tougher than the standards for some of the police officers in these programs.”..

Virtual drug dealing is all the rage with Internet set

      In what is perhaps a post-modern twist on the venerable board game Monopoly, a new Internet game downloaded by more than two million users so far allows players to accumulate wealth by becoming successful drug dealers. The Drug Enforcement Administration is not amused.
      “This game, at least subtly, if not overtly, glamorizes being a drug dealer,” said DEA Special Agent John Lunt. “If [the police] don’t win every time, it’s sending the wrong message.”..

Diversity training for Portland officers includes the transgender community

      Prompted by the hiring of transgender and transsexual employees, who are now covered under the city’s civil rights ordinance, the Portland Police Bureau has been providing in-service training to officers in order to deepen their understanding of a group many have little personal knowledge of.
      The communications classes began in November and will continue through September. During the one-hour sessions, presentations are made by volunteers from the transgender community, who talk about their own life experiences, the variations within the community, and psychological and physiological issues. Then they answer personal questions from their audience...

Youthful indiscretions?
Taking a different road with first-time drug violators

      Taking a kinder, gentler approach to some first-time juvenile offenders, police and village officials in Wayne, Ill., will deal locally with those caught drinking or possessing small amounts of marijuana, under an ordinance adopted by village council members in February.
      The new policy calls for teenagers to sit down with parents or lawyers, the village attorney and the officer involved in the arrest to try and work out a punishment that will fit the crime. If the parties cannot come to a resolution, police still have the option of charging the juvenile under state laws. Moreover, the ordinance treats teenagers who are children and those who are legally adults the same...

Bottoms-up! C-OP seen giving more officers specific beat responsibility

      Some 90 percent of all local law enforcement agencies serving populations of 50,000 or more helped facilitate community policing goals by giving patrol officers responsibility for specific geographic beats, according to a new study released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
      The report, “Community Policing in Local Police Departments, 1997 and 1999,” queried 3,246 state and local law enforcement agencies about their community policing personnel, training, policies and programs. Among its key findings was that the number of designated community officers grew during the years of the study from 4 percent to 21 percent, or to 113,000 full-time sworn personnel engaged in such activities during 1999...

Racial profiling: The beat goes on
New developments from the White House to the statehouses

      According to a memo released by the White House on Feb. 28, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has been directed by President Bush to “review the use by federal law enforcement authorities of race as a factor in conducting stops, searches and other investigative procedures,” as a step toward reducing the practice of racial profiling.
      The memo also directs Ashcroft to work with Congress and state and local law enforcement officials to collect data and “assess the extent and nature of any such practices.”..

Points well made:
Special skills are worth more in Mesa

      A point system that translates into extra money per month is the plan Mesa police officials are hoping will help retain veteran officers in an atmosphere of near cutthroat competition for experienced law enforcement personnel.
      The Career Enhancement Program, as the plan is called, is intended to keep skilled personnel on the force by promoting job satisfaction and professional growth. Open to all officers below the rank of sergeant and Master Police Officer, it assigns point values to a variety of categories, including fluency in Spanish, driving accident-free for a period of two years, and being a certified paramedic or a field training officer. Compensation ranges from $40 to $160 a month for the most experienced officers...

Departments dangle dollar signs in front of would-be police recruits’ eyes

      As the recruitment crisis in law enforcement drags on, a number of departments around the nation are sweetening the pot for applicants by offering sign-on bonuses.
      The Los Angeles Police Department, which had set a goal two years ago of putting 10,000 officers on the street, is offering $2,000 in relocation money as well as medical insurance for recruits’ domestic partners. It has also promised to increase basic pay from $42,000 to $47,000 if the rookie has a four-year college degree...

U.S. teens outdo Euro counterparts in illicit drug use

      One-fourth of 10th graders in the United States have used illicit drugs, as compared with one in every 10 students in European countries with the highest rates of use, according to a study of 31 nations released in February at the meeting of the World Health Organization in Stockholm.
      Analyzing the findings of an anonymous survey sent in 1999 to 14,000 American high school students and 95,000 students in 30 European countries, researchers from the State University of New York in Albany found that 41 percent of 10th graders in the United States said they had tried marijuana and 23 percent had tried other illegal drugs. In Europe, less than half that number — 17 percent — said they had tried pot and just 6 percent said they had used other substances...

Changes in M.O. hamper drug-bust activities of NJSP ‘hotel squad’

      The ability of the New Jersey State Police’s six-member hotel squad to make drug busts has been sharply undercut due to a change last summer in the regulations governing the unit’s investigative activities, a state police official said in February.
      Lieut. Col. Vince Modarelli, the NJSP’s second highest-ranking officer, said that information from hotel registration cards supplied by desk clerks had allowed the unit to work with federal authorities to determine whether a visitor had recently crossed the border or had been arrested before...

Jury still out on whether sex-crime lists cut crime

      As an investigative tool, sex offender registration provides police with a ready file of suspects, and parole officers with a way to supervise newly released convicts. But as an effective means of reducing sex crimes, there is little research to show whether notification and registration work, according to some Minnesota experts.
      State lawmakers there last year appropriated $18.4 million to improve offender tracking and establish a framework for a criminal justice information system. The improvements, made under the statute known as Katie’s Law, are the sixth to be added to the state’s decade-old registration statute...

Drug money pays deputies’ tuition

      Despite the withdrawal by Florida lawmakers of a bill that would have required all law enforcement officers in the state to have a two-year college degree by 2005, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department is moving forward with its plan to send its deputies to school.
      According to Sheriff W.R. Geiger, the program will be paid for with confiscated drug funds. Although the initial money for school will be laid out by deputies, the agency will pick up the tab for any deputy who earns a C average or better, he told Law Enforcement News...

Moonlight plan for Va. cops lowers rents, raises questions

      An ordinance passed this month in Herndon, Va., which allows police to moonlight at a local apartment complex in exchange for living there at half the usual rent has some residents and civil libertarians questioning whether property managers or municipal officials will be responsible for the actions of armed officers.
      According to Kent Willis, executive director of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, off-duty officers are typically hired through their police departments. By hiring an officer directly, as qualified by a rent reduction, accountability becomes murkier, he said...

Supreme Court continues its balancing act between police needs & citizens’ rights

      In the effort to seek balance between the needs of law enforcement and a citizen’s right to privacy, the U.S. Supreme Court in February came down on the side of police in one of two cases heard last year dealing with that issue.
      The Justices voted 8-to-1 this month that a Sullivan, Ill., officer acted appropriately four years ago when he prevented a man believed to have marijuana hidden under his sofa from entering his home. For about two hours, Charles McArthur stood outside his trailer with the officer, whom he refused to allow inside without a warrant...