Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXIX, Nos. 609, 610 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY November 15/30, 2003

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Robo cop; crossing the pond; drawing card; it’s time to go; Chicago PD has its Phil; Potter’s field in Portland.
Major-city pink slips: Chiefs are unceremoniously bounced in Portland & Dallas.
Added incentive: St. Pete tries to keep its cops closer to home.
Growth industry: First half of 2003 brings spike in violence.
Keeping track: Washington court curbs GPS use in tailing suspects.
Sparkle & shine: South Carolina deputies strut their stuff in beauty-pageant fundraiser.
Poking holes: Probers find it’s easy to get licenses using fake ID’s.
Different strokes: State & local cops in Alaska differ on pot busts.
A bit too personal: Bidding “adios” to Latino database.
Fit to be tied: Utah union rejects a compromise on fitness standards.
Arresting development: What to do about collars made by uncertified Idaho cops?
Forum: Local police shouldn’t perform immigration duties; one-stop shopping for terrorism screening.
Scams, not lassos: Modern rustlers have South Dakota ranchers reeling.
Upcoming Events: Opportunities for professional development.

Lock & load
Police execs concerned at continued growth of concealed weapons laws

     With eight hours of instruction and a clean police record, any Missourian age 21 or older can now carry a concealed weapon. The state was one of four to pass such legislation this year — despite the wishes of the Show Me State’s voting public — and while considered a victory long sought by gun-rights advocates, opponents point to provisions not found in older statutes which indicate greater moderation in these new laws.

     Missouri is the 45th state to permit the carrying of concealed weapons in some fashion. Passage of the law was hard fought on both sides and only came about because state lawmakers successfully overrode Gov. Bob Holden’s veto in September. It also reverses the outcome of a voter referendum on the issue in 1999, in which 52 percent of the voters rejected the right to carry concealed weapons...

Agency consolidation plans weigh whether one head is better than two

     City and county residents in jurisdictions nationwide say they want to see police and sheriff’s deputies driving in the same color cars, and wearing the same color uniforms – in other words, consolidated into a single agency.

     In Knox County and Knoxville, Tenn., a telephone survey in August found respondents overwhelming in favor of an elected “top cop,” should the two governments be unified...

Helping first-response cops do the right thing when human organs are at stake

     Although it is required under state law, first responders in California do not always inform the coroner that the victim of a fatal accident wished to be an organ donor. So the Pleasanton Police Department, at a citizen’s urging, is developing a new policy that would make it standard operating procedure.

     Major organs are no longer fresh and usable for transplantation in the time it takes for a coroner to get to the scene. But there are other tissues, including the eyes, corneas, joints, heart valves, bone products and arteries, which can be recovered up to 10 or 12 hours after death, even without life support...

Portland’s Kroeker yields to mayor’s “quit or be fired” ultimatum

     When the dust settles, supporters of Portland, Ore., Police Chief Mark Kroeker believe that his contributions to the agency during his three and a half years in command will be obvious. For now, however, it is Kroeker’s detractors who are having their say — and their way — with the man who abruptly became their ex-chief last month.

     On Aug. 29, a tearful Kroeker issued a statement at the city’s Justice Center, saying that he had been given the option through an intermediary for Mayor Vera Katz to either resign, or face being fired...

Some in Dallas see chief’s ouster as a slap in the face

     Citing a litany of problems that included an embarrassing fake-drug scandal and alarming crime statistics, Dallas officials in August abruptly fired Terrell Bolton, the city’s first black police chief.

     “After four years of Chief Bolton’s leadership I just thought it was time to go in a new direction,” said City Manager Ted Benavides. “I think he’s a really good guy. Sometimes events overtake you.”...

St. Pete tries to keep its cops home with housing incentive

     Trying to stanch a “hemorrhage” of sworn police personnel, officials in St. Petersburg are tempting officers with an incentive – up to $14,000 for the purchase of a new house, or the remodeling of an old one — provided they stay within the jurisdiction and remain on the force for seven years.

     The program, called Police in Neighborhoods (PIN), is a modification of an older program that had been aimed at creating high-visibility of law enforcement in low-income communities. It was not a success, acknowledged George Kajpas, the police department’s director of public information...

Growth industry?
First half of 2003 brings spike in violence

     As one Florida officer observed, crime is like the temperature — it has its ups and downs. But in recent months, there seems to have been a spike in violent crime, especially murder, in a number of jurisdictions nationwide.

     Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey declared a crime emergency for Washington, D.C., in August following the shootings of five women and three men outside a nightclub, and the death of Shirley Pugh, a 60-year-old city employee whose car was struck by a stolen vehicle driven by a 13-year-old...

High-tech tracking curbed in case of Washington child-killer

     In a decision said to be the first of its kind in the nation, the Washington Supreme Court in September ruled unanimously that law enforcement must obtain a warrant if it wants to tail a suspect using a Global Positioning System tracking device.

     The ruling stemmed from a case involving a Spokane man found guilty of murdering his 9-year-old daughter in 1999. It does not, however, overturn his conviction...

Deputies sparkle in S.C. pageant fundraiser

     Just like real women everywhere, the male deputies participating in the recent Beaufort County, S.C., “Womanless Beauty Pageant Fundraiser,” searched high and low for that special outfit that would show off their legs and wouldn’t make their backsides look too big.

     The charity event held on Oct. 4 raised $1,550 for an officer appreciation dinner scheduled for December, according to Lance Cpl. Midge Scott, who coordinated the pageant. While participants had fundraising in mind, she told the newspaper Lowland Country Now, some seemed to be in the event for the competition...

Fed probers use fake IDs to poke holes in MV licensing agencies

     Despite efforts to tighten procedures for obtaining a driver’s license, federal investigators using fake identification were able to fool motor vehicle departments in seven states, according to a report to Congress in September.

     Agents for the General Accounting Office used fraudulent utility bills, Social Security cards and forged driver’s licenses from other states to obtain driver’s licenses or state identity cards from the District of Columbia, New York, Maryland, Arizona, California, South Carolina, Michigan and even Virginia, where five of the Sept. 11 hijackers illegitimately obtained licenses. One investigator was successful there two out of three times, said the report...

State & local Alaska cops differ in approach to pot busts

     Small amounts of marijuana may be legal under state law in Alaska but not under federal law, noted state Attorney General Gregg Renkes in a recent memorandum to law enforcement stating that pot should be seized and held as evidence for potential prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

     A state appellate court ruling in August left law enforcement confused over whether to proceed with pot busts involving four ounces or less. Municipal agencies said they would continue to enforce a ban on the substance, while state police said they would not. Renkes’s memo, meant to draw municipal and state police together, instructed them to make no arrests, but to confiscate any pot they find...

Getting a bit personal:
Agencies say “adios” to Latino database

     Some three dozen law enforcement agencies are having to make do without the wealth of personal information on Latin American nationals provided by an American data vendor that was recently forced to pull up its stakes in Mexico and 10 other countries following a public outcry over invasion of privacy.

     ChoicePoint Inc., based in Alpharetta, Ga., received $1 million a year from the federal government in return for access to a database holding information on 65 million voting-age Mexican citizens. The data was considered a potent investigative tool by United States law enforcers for identifying potential terrorists and unmasking fraudulent identities. But most importantly, it gave authorities the ability to initiate their own investigations in Mexico without having to alert local agencies...

Fitness compromise gives Utah union fits

     The police union in Ogden, Utah, has flatly rejected a compromise offered by Mayor Matthew Godfrey in September for dealing with officers who fail a physical fitness test, which would have transferred them to non-sworn positions — possibly with lower pay — instead of firing them outright.

     The 38-to-4 vote against the proposal by members of the Ogden Police Benefit Association was the latest salvo in a fight that has been brewing for months as the November deadline for passing the exam approaches...

Questions surround two decades of arrests by uncertified Idaho cops

     It is possible that convictions based on thousands of arrests made by Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, police officers who were uncertified at the time could be overturned, but Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas finds that prospect unlikely, given the virtually impossible task of determining who was certified, and when.

     Audits conducted by the Coeur D’Alene City Attorney’s office and the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy revealed that over the past 25 years as many as 26 officers had performed law-enforcement duties with lapsed certification from time to time. The most recent were six officers graduated from the last two academy classes...

Forgoing lassos, rustlers have S. Dakota ranchers reeling

     Modern-day cattle rustlers who use scams rather than lassos to steal livestock have caused an estimated $12-million loss to ranchers in South Dakota in recent months, according to state officials.

     Statistics compiled by the South Dakota State Brand Board, the authority that polices cattle theft, show that reported crimes increased by 300 percent between 2001 and 2002. But unlike the cattle thieves of yesteryear, the modern-day rustler is more likely to commit a fraud than actually back a truck up and steal the animals...

Upcoming Events:
Opportunities for professional development

     0-11. Managing the Internal Affairs Unit. Presented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Oswego, N.Y.

     10-12. Low Light Survival Shooting Instructor Course. Presented by Streamlight Academy. San Diego. $350...