Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXIX, Nos. 595, 596 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY March 15/31, 2003

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Then there was Nunn; NJSP goes to the doctor; standing tall; going back to school; a sense of mission; all clear in SF.
Credit to the profession: Mass. rethinks higher education for cops.
School pictures The growing appeal of real-time video surveillance.
Seeing red over Amber: Could an alert have saved Nebraska teen?
Tell it to the police: Violent crime reporting rate improves.
Moonlight blues: Denver wrestles with comp-time abuse.
Killer at large: Methadone is proving deadly.
Calling off the search: CHP agrees to alter traffic-stop practice.
Safety last: Dallas’s problems with the Crown Vic appear unabated.
Wartime on the homefront: A photo essay.
More less-than-lethal: Santa Ana rethinks the beanbag round.
Property values: Oregon court reconsiders seizure limits.
Clueless in Seattle: Do police fail to take missing-person reports seriously?
It’s official: Supreme Court settles “three-strikes” question.
Sudden impact: NYPD rookies get right into the mix.
Self-protection: LAPD takes on Hollywood over its image.
Haves & have-nots: Colorado seeks more equality in funding for training.
Group effort: New association for police trainers.
Criminal Justice Library: Exposing fraud; curbing stress.
Forum: Big results from thinking small; making sense of community policing.
Upcoming Events: Professional development.

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Sometimes thinking small can produce big results

     Mansfield, Ohio, is a mid-sized Midwestern community with a dark past. Once known as “Little Chicago,” the city was a mecca for drugs, gambling, prostitution, pornography and the public corruption that naturally flows from such activities. From 1978 to 1993, the residents of Richland County, of which Mansfield is the seat, saw two sheriffs indicted, a third quit under fire, several deputies indicted, and a city police lieutenant convicted of aggravated murder — a crime he committed while on duty. This troubled past left a legacy that may include more than 20 unsolved murders in a county with a population of only 125,000.

     In 1988 an upstart young defense attorney named James Mayer Jr. made a bid for Prosecuting Attorney. His father was a criminal court judge who had been drummed out of office for his honest appraisal of the local political climate; needless to say, local oddsmakers viewed Mayer’s candidacy as a long shot. Yet despite the odds, Mayer was elected the county’s chief law enforcement officer...

Making sense of community policing

     Community policing has as many faces as Zelig, Woody Allen’s human chameleon character from the 1983 movie of the same name. Zelig showed up at the most fashionable parties, alongside marquee personalities of the day. The many faces of Zelig ranged from that of renowned actor to son of a jazz musician to brilliant doctor. Along the way, he manages to impress the likes of Susan Sontag, Irving Howe, Saul Bellow and Bruno Bettelheim, all playing themselves. Zelig’s curse is that he has no personality of his own; he wants so desperately to fit in that he becomes whomever he’s with. In the end, Zelig broadcasts amends over radio to all the victims of his misrepresentations: “I especially want to apologize to the Trochman family in Detroit.... I never delivered a baby before, and I just thought that ice tongs were the way to do it.”

     Like Zelig, community policing shows up everywhere, across the full spectrum of policing styles, from “zero tolerance” for squeegee-men and turnstile jumpers in New York under Commissioner William Bratton to Officer Friendly on foot patrol in downtown Seattle under Chief Gil Kerlikowske. Other faces of community policing include the problem solver and crime preventer, community builder, “weed-and-seed” strategist for drug-plagued areas, concentrator on crime hot spots, partner with other agencies, reducer of the bloated police bureaucracy, and proactivist rather than passivist, driven to deal directly to combat the signs of crime. Little that has been new to policing since 1985 has not qualified as yet another aspect of community policing...