Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVIII, No. 576 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY April 30, 2002

[LEN Home] - [Masthead] - [Past Issues] SUBSCRIBE

In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: A leg up; down but not out; no longer the department of Parks; speaking out — in Afghanistan; now you see them, now you don’t.
On the same page: Congress weighs bill to standardize DNA colection & preservation.
Who won? Ruling on Boston PD hiring & promotions has both sides puzzled.
Strings attached: Two departments have problems with COPS grants.
Cutting its losses: Omaha PD bites the bullet on costly, overdue records system.
Going up? Spike in violence makes NYPD officials take notice.
All in the family: Marriage is out for some New Hampshire cops.
Hitting the books: In Colorado court, First Amendment trumps drug enforcement.
One head, two hats: Why town’s part-time chief may have to go.
Long-term fallout: Domestic violence cases continue to reverberate.
Whose land is it, anyway? Native American sovereignty becomes a “get-out-of-jail-free” card.
Forum: Racial profiling & anti-terror strategies; who says policing isn’t a science?
Federal File: A roundup of criminal justice activities at the federal level.
Loose nuts: Bill targets gun-wielding ex-mental patients.

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.


Racial profiling in anti-terrorism strategies

     Imagine standing in line at a security check at one of the nation’s busiest airports. Ahead of you is a group of men who could be from the Middle East. The group reaches the security officers, who subject the men to a search far more intense and harsh than anyone else in the line. Do you feel sympathy, relief or both? If you feel relief, are you supporting racial profiling?

      I submit that you are not. Even a person who strongly opposes racial profiling (correctly defined) could support certain terrorism-prevention tactics that focus on specific segments of the population...

Who says policing isn’t a science?

      Earlier this year, Portsmouth, Va., City Manager Daniel Stuck’s responded to concerns about police officers’ low salaries with the quip, “We’re not paying them to be rocket scientists.” Like many others, I was shocked by his remark.

      This comment is unfortunate for several reasons. First, as a city leader, it appears that Stuck had very little understanding of law enforcement. Perhaps more important, I’m afraid that many citizens tend to agree with his characterization of policing. After all, our men and women in blue, though professionals, are often portrayed in the media as a bunch of bumbling Columbo-like fools who occasionally stumble onto the truth...