Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVIII, Nos. 581, 582 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY July/August 2002

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Going, going, not gone; magnetic Compass; Palmer’s one regret; African adventure; Parker’s new challenge; cop wants you sauced; Earl change.
The party’s over: UCR sees reversal in crime decline.
Bad-neighbor policy: Side effects of college binge drinking.
A new look: Changes OK’d in federal death benefits for cops.
Cold cases on the menu: Society of sleuths tackles frustrating cases.
Virtual education: CJ master’s degree is now online.
Now you see them, now you don’t: Changes in police leadership.
Goodbye, cruel world: Training cops to respond to animal abuse.
A better mousetrap: Improved DNA method holds promise.
Radical surgery: Britain responds to rising violent crime with plans for sweeping change.
LEN interview: North Miami Beach, Fla., Police Chief Bill Berger, president of the IACP.
Forum: Wake up, policing, the honeymoon is over; Mr. Magoo vs. the terrorists.
Criminal Justice Library: Policing’s impact on domestic violence, and vice versa; the idiot’s guide to wiseguys.

Thinking locally, acting globally
NYPD, others expand their reach in fighting terrorism

     In the post-9/11 world, it appears, it is no longer enough for the New York Police Department to confine its patrolling and other police work to the city’s five boroughs. In recent months, the agency has undertaken its own set of counter-terrorism strategies which include sending investigators overseas on intelligence-gathering assignments, surveying the language skills of personnel who might speak Arabic, Fujianese and other tongues, and a training program for patrol officers in the event of an attack.

     Said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly: “The federal government has a national focus. We have a much more parochial focus. We feel we have to protect ourselves.”...

Licenses to kill?
New moves to link visas, driving permits

     Agreeing with the argument that thousands of immigrants with expired visas may be in Minnesota — some of whom could be involved in terrorist activities — the state’s chief administrative law judge has given the Department of Public Safety the green light to note visa expiration dates on driver’s licenses, which are often used as proof of identity.

     The proposal was made by Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver, who hailed the ruling as significant move against terrorism. Implementation of the plan began on July 8. “From a public safety standpoint, that is most important — that cops can see when a visa expired,” he told The Minneapolis Star Tribune...

Spotting gambling cheats is more than just luck of the draw

      The Missouri Gaming Commission is trying to even the odds with those who would try to cheat while working or playing at the state’s riverboat casinos by teaching law enforcement the tricks of the gambling trade.

      “The need for this is critical because this is a very complicated industry,” Kevin Mullally, the commission’s executive director, told The Associated Press. “You’re dealing with a lot of cash money, so the risks are very high.”...

The party’s over. . .
UCR shows 10-year crime drop at an end

      Last year, as the nation’s law enforcement priorities turned increasingly toward counterterrorism, and the economy began to slide, the United States became a more violent place, according to preliminary statistics from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, which showed the first uptick in crime since 1992.

      Overall, crime rose by 2 percent in 2001 compared to the previous year, with the volume of violent offenses up by 0.6 percent. Murders increased by 3 percent, and robbery by 3.9 percent — the steepest rise among violent offenses. The homicide total does not include the 3,000 victims lost in the terror attacks on Sept. 11...

There goes the neighborhood: Binge drinking problems spill over from college campuses

      No longer just a problem on college campuses, binge-drinking by students — and the fallout from it — is spreading out to surrounding communities where behaviors such as public urination and vandalism are affecting residents’ quality of life, according to a new study by Harvard researchers.

      A survey of more than 2,000 households nationwide found that those living near college campuses were more likely to experience the secondhand effects of alcohol, such as vomiting, drunkenness, noise and other disturbances. The areas with the most disruptions also had high numbers of liquor stores, bars, clubs and other alcohol outlets, said the report...

A new look for federal death benefits — any beneficiary will do, even same-sex partners

      An inadvertent victory was scored for gay rights last month when President Bush signed a bill that expands the federal public safety officers’ death benefit to include the same-sex partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

      Although similar legislation had been proposed more than a decade ago by Representative Donald Marzullo, a Republican of Illinois, at the behest of the Rockford Police Department, the idea took on greater impetus after Sept. 11. Under the old law, drafted 34 years ago, only a spouse, parent or child could claim the $250,000 death benefit. The new law, called the Mychal Judge Act after the New York Fire Department chaplain who died at the World Trade Center, anyone designated as a beneficiary can collect the sum...

Keeping a legendary French sleuth’s spirit alive:
Group’s luncheon menu includes cold cases

      For the members of the Vidocq Society, an elite group of sleuths and criminalists who re-examine some of the most brutal murders in police agencies’ cold-case files, it is not all fine dining in the charming 19th-century environs of Philadelphia’s historic Public Ledger Building.

      Over the course of 12 years, the society has helped local law enforcement solve a number of prominent cases, including the 1984 murders in Pennsylvania of Terry Brooks, a fast-food restaurant manager, and of Drexel University student Deborah Lynn Wilson. Virtually all of the group’s cases come from police agencies or relatives and are from five to 15 years old...

Personalized graduate degree available from a distance

      Getting a personalized graduate education at Boston University’s Metropolitan College does not mean having to get up close and personal with instructors and fellow students in a traditional classroom setting, thanks to the college’s online master’s degree program in criminal justice.

      The university’s first full graduate degree to be offered via the Internet, the accelerated program consists of nine courses totaling 36 credits. Criminal justice professionals focus on only one class at a time, participating in two six-week courses per semester. While many of the students who completed the first semester were from the West Coast and Alaska, individuals from Japan, Singapore and other foreign countries are registered for the fall semester...

Now you see them, now you don’t

      Two long-time law enforcement executives said goodbye to all that in July: Washington County, Ore., Sheriff Jim Spinden and Mansfield, Ohio, Police Chief Lawrence E. Harper.

      Spinden served 10 years as sheriff during a 31-year career with the Washington County department, one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the state. During his last term in office, a string of incidents forced him into the media glare...

Mo. campus pioneers with animal cruelty school

      Protecting people from other people — even sometimes from animals — is a big part of what police usually do. In recent years, though, law enforcement has increasingly found itself in the position of protecting animals from people.

      Enter the National Cruelty Training School, a division of the Law Enforcement Training Institute based at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Perhaps the only program of its kind to offer such instruction, the school joined hands in May with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Under the partnership, the Humane Society will provide instruction for police and for civilians who work with law enforcement on animal cruelty issues...

From a paper napkin, coming soon to a crime lab near you

      Some of the best ideas in policing seem to begin life on a paper napkin — first Compstat, now a DNA sequencing method that promises to sharply reduce the time and expense associated with matching and identifying samples.

      The method being developed by Phil Danielson, a University of Denver biology professor, and Gregg LaBerge, head of the Denver Police Department’s forensic DNA unit, uses mitochondrial DNA instead of nucleic DNA, the standard in police work...

Brits eye radical CJ changes to fight rising violent crime

      Faced with double-digit increases in violent crime and dwindling public confidence in law enforcement and the courts, British authorities in July set out a long-term strategy for overhauling the nation’s criminal justice system, including among other measures the elimination of double-jeopardy protection in some cases.

      In “Justice For All,” a white paper published on July 17, Home Secretary David Blunkett told the House of Commons that radical changes are needed that will favor the victim. The paper makes dozens of recommendations on each aspect of the criminal justice system, including victims’ rights, trials, sentencing and incarceration...

A LEN interview with
Police Chief William B. Berger of North Miami Beach, Fla.

      LAW ENFORCEMENT NEWS: Your vantage point as president of the IACP gives you a world view on policing that not many have. From that perspective, how would you assess the changes in law enforcement since last September 11th?

      BERGER: I don’t think there will ever be another time in history that will have such an impact. I think you’ve got to go back to the old days for something similar — for our generation, it would be when President Kennedy was assassinated; for today’s young generation, now you have 9/11. This had significant impact on law enforcement, as did the Kennedy assassination. I think we changed a lot of things; I think we look globally now. We’re much more cautious as a nation. We’re much more attuned to our communities. As you know, America has opened its doors and hearts to every visitor throughout the world — I think every country in the world probably has a resident here, and unfortunately, our kind nature has caused us the problems that took place on 9/11 by relaxing immigration and relaxing a lot of the restrictions that other countries are very tight about. I don’t think that will ever happen again...

Pathbreaking & myth-shattering:
Policing’s impact on domestic violence (& vice versa)

      For many years it seemed that domestic violence was rampant, out-of-control, and reaching epidemic proportions. Over the past several years, however, domestic violence offenses, like other violent crimes, have gradually decreased nationwide, and Dr. Albert Roberts, a professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., is convinced that this reduction is the result of implementing better, more effective and more responsive law enforcement strategies. Especially in the past decade, law enforcement and other elements of the criminal justice enterprise have made tremendous progress in terms of protecting battered women and reducing recidivism among batterers.

      Roberts has edited an important new book, “The Handbook of Intervention Strategies with Domestic Violence: Policies, Programs and Legal Remedies,” which examines the positive impact of an array of approaches that include mandatory arrest policies, electronic monitoring, and the effective use of restraining orders. This new book, which in many respects provides the blueprint for a proactive approach to preventing and eliminating domestic violence, can be seen as the antidote to complacency and a return to escalating domestic violence rates...