Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVIII, No. 569, 570 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY January 15/31, 2002

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: From FOP to the top; prime Meridian; coming full circle; the power of a hug; Oliver’s travels; just call him “Dave.”
Truth decay: NJ troopers admit to lying in Turnpike shooting case.
The face is familiar: British cops hope to use biometric technology to ID child-porn victims.
Record numbers: Does NYC’s homicide total for 2001 deserve an asterisk?
Unfit for duty? Some Omaha cops were hired without doctor’s physicals.
Federal File: Criminal justice developments at the federal level.
Unavailable for comment: Interviews with Middle Easterners in Michigan aren’t going as well as expected.
Two-way street: Kentucky judges makes waves with ruling on protection orders.
Tough medicine: New Mexico has a new prescription for chronic DUI’s.
Let the sun shine in: San Antonio use-of-force reports aren’t confidential, a judge rules.
Forum: A new way of doing business at NIJ; rethinking community policing.
Upcoming Events: Opportunities for professional development.

A dangerous place to work
When it comes to on-the-job perils, police have it the worst

      Although the level of workplace violence for those in the law enforcement field was cut by more than half from 1993 to 1999, a study released in December by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that police still experience significantly more violence on the job than do those in any of the other occupational fields covered in the report.

      According to the study, “Violence in the Workplace, 1993-99,” Americans suffered an annual average of 1.7 million violent workplace incidents during those years. The overall rate of such violence, however, fell by 44 percent between 1993 and 1999, or from 16 incidents per 1,000 workers to 9 per 1,000. In addition to non-fatal crimes, there were an average of about 900 workplace-related homicides annually within that period, with workplace violence accounting for 18 percent of all violent crime...

Back in the saddle, Kelly offers hints of the NYPD’s post-9/11 look

      Act locally, think globally. It’s a catch phrase that could describe New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly’s strategy for maintaining the quality-of-life standards set under the city’s previous administration while upgrading the police department’s response to any future terrorist attacks.

      “The days when you could just focus on crime and quality-of-life-violation suppression are over,” Kelly told The New York Times. “Not that we’re going to back away from that; that’s a core mission of the organization. But now you have this whole other area that has to be focused on. We’re going to be involved in that for a long, long time.”...

Fire, police experts cite communication failures during Trade Center response

      In post-9/11 New York, communication between police, fire and other emergency service agencies needs to be re-examined and dramatically overhauled, according to a panel of experts who came together in New York in January for a forum on urban hazards.

      Attendees at the forum, which was co-sponsored by John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, heard a top fire official say that while it is unlikely that any fire department could have prepared for what ensued on Sept. 11, the inability to make contact with a police helicopter overhead was unfortunate.

Truth decay:
NJ troopers lied in turnpike case

      James Kenna and John Hogan, the two former New Jersey state troopers whose shooting of four unarmed minority men in a van on the New Jersey Turnpike brought a simmering debate over racial profiling to a boil, admitted this month that they had lied to investigators the night of the incident, with coaching from dozens of colleagues.

      Not only did the two admit to “exaggerating and embellishing” the incident on the night of April 23, 1998, but they also said they routinely engaged in the targeting of minority drivers. Kenna shot into the van 11 times, seriously wounding three of the men inside. Until their admission on Jan. 14 in Superior Court in Mercer County, Hogan and Kenna had maintained that they feared for lives when the driver tried to run them down. Both were charged with aggravated assault; Kenna faced a charge of attempted murder...

The face is familiar
Brits hope facial-recognition technology can help ID child-pornography victims

      Facial recognition technology is not just for finding perpetrators, but for identifying victims, or so believe British law enforcement authorities, who are creating a data base using millions of pictures seized in child pornography raids and matching them against photos of missing youngsters.

      The project has its roots in a 1997 sweep of a child pornography ring called Wonderland, which resulted in 101 arrests worldwide. With those raids and others, authorities were able to collect some 3 million images — far too many to be sorted by hand. A previous effort yielded just 1,200 identifiable faces with just 18 children identified, one of whom had been murdered...

New York City’s homicide total dropped again in 2001 — or did it?

      New York’s homicide total for 2001 may end up looking like Roger Maris’s one-time record of 61 home runs in a season: tagged with an asterisk.

      Reports circulated at the end of the year that the roughly 3,000 victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 would be classified as homicides in the FBI’s upcoming 2001 Uniform Crime Report — which, if true, would more than quadruple the annual murder toll. An FBI spokesman maintained, however, that no definitive decision has yet been made on classifying the deaths...

With doctor’s exams lacking, some Omaha cops may not be fit for duty

      Doctor examinations for nearly one-quarter of Omaha’s 752-member police force were ordered in January by Chief Don Carey and Mayor Mike Fahey after the discovery of an error made in 1996 that caused the department to violate a state law requiring doctor’s examinations of all recruits.

      Officials believe that 184 in-service officers and 49 recruits in a current training academy class did not have proper physical exams. A mistake was made by the city’s personnel department when it changed its health-screening provider from Creighton Family Services to Excel Physical Therapy five years ago. While Creighton provided doctor exams, Excel screenings involving physical agility or functional capacity for job-related duties were conducted by a nurse or physical therapist...

Federal File

      More than 200,000 complaints of identity theft were collected by more than 50 law enforcement agencies and consumer groups last year, far exceeding other areas of fraud, the Federal Trade Commission said in January. Identity theft now accounts for more than 40 percent of consumer fraud complaints, and privacy advocates say the number of identity-theft victims may be as high as 750,000 a year. “We’ve seen an explosion in this crime, and it’s not going away,” said Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a San Diego-based consumer group.

      Car accidents involving 16-year-old female drivers rose by 9 percent from 1990 to 2000, to a per capita rate of 175 accidents per 1,000 drivers. The increase is due to girls driving more miles, according to insurance industry statistics. Since 1975, girls ages 16 to 19 are driving 70 percent more, averaging 6,870 miles a year. Teenage boys are driving 16 percent more, averaging 8,200 miles a year. Sixteen-year-olds, regardless of gender, crash three times more often than 17-year-olds and five times more often than 18-year-olds, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...

Can we talk?
Interviews of Middle Easterners fall short

      Of the 500 Middle Eastern or Muslim men sought by federal authorities in Michigan for questioning in the aftermath of the September terrorist attacks, just over half had been interviewed as of a month after the Justice Department’s Dec. 21 deadline.

      Agents have been unable to locate 81 of the subjects on the list. Eight men declined to be interviewed; 50 were found to be living outside of the country; and 36 outside of the state, according to Gina Balaya of the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit. So far, the office has received reports on 280 of the men, with 66 reports still pending...

Two-way street:
Protection orders apply to both parties

      A Kentucky judge this month shocked advocates and attorneys for battered women when she sought to apply the strictures of a protective order equally to victims as well as their suspected abusers by citing two women for contempt after they returned to men ordered to stay away from them.

      “For over five years, I’ve been in court practically every day on these abuse cases, and I’ve never before had a victim threatened with contempt,” said Cindra Walker, a lawyer with Central Kentucky Legal Services, which represented the victims, Robin Hull and Jamie Harrison. “The domestic violence law is a tool for victims to use to be safe, not a device to punish them...”

New Mexico prescribes tougher medicine for chronic drunk drivers

      Packets containing information on nearly 1,000 habitual drunk drivers will be distributed to State Police districts around New Mexico this month as part of an initiative aimed at allowing police to keep a closer eye on them.

      Thomas English, the state’s new Secretary of the Department of Public Safety, said the dossiers will include profiles of those convicted three or more times of DUI, along with their photos and license plate numbers. The information will come from the department’s Special Investigations Division, which is compiling a list from data kept by the Administrative Office of the Courts...

Use-of-force reports aren’t confidential, Texas court rules

      The Texas Supreme Court this month affirmed an appellate finding that use-of-force reports currently required by the San Antonio Police Department — which detail an incident, who was present and whether a prisoner was injured — are not part of an officer’s personnel record and thus are not confidential.

      The decision by the court not to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling will allow the news media access to records that document incidents in which “any type of force except verbal persuasion or open/empty hand control techniques.”

Upcoming Events

      22-23. Leadership & Quality Policing. Presented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Colorado Springs, Colo. $385.

      22-23. Excellence in the FTO Program. Presented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Buffalo Grove, Ill. $385...