Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXX, No. 618 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY May 2004

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
A mismatch: Comparing DMV, Social Security data — a bad idea?
Improving a good thing: Seattle refines domestic-violence response.
That’s a wrap: Agreements end federal probe of county force.
“Back in business”: Reopening a pipeline of seized-asset funds.
The big bang: Tracing the origins of guns used in crimes.
People & Places: Putting a Hurtt on Houston policing; man of mystery; field of dreams; making history; $10-million send-off; goodbye, Madison.
Short Takes: Easy-to-digest news capsules.
Bigger picture: Tampa expands benefits to cover domestic partners.
Forcing the issue: Use of force is scrutinized in Austin.
Trading places: Why U.S. & Canadian prosecutors swapped homes & offices.
The mighty Quinn: Higher ed for Mass. cops may face a different future.
Disconnected: Pa. deputies lose court case over wiretap authority.
Fighting back: Chicago cops sue those who make false claims.
Balancing act: Problems linger with Megan’s Laws.
Forum: The threat of improvised explosive devices.
Split verdict: Should police prosecute traffic cases?
In Baltimore, it’s same crimes, new approaches.

 People & Places

Man of mystery

     Unlike the majority of rock musicians who live to be recognized by their audience, there is at least one drummer in Austin, Texas, who hopes that no one in the crowd knows his true identity. He is not a comic book super hero; he is a cop.

     “I’ve had people come and go ‘Where do I know you from?’ said Todd Myers, a senior police officer who is a veteran of the band Funky Old Soul, and also plays with Undercover, a newly formed all-cop group. “I’m like, ‘What’chu talking about, man?’”...

Field of dreams

     When former baseball player Kurt Abbott reported for training in February, it was not to practice swinging a bat.

     Abbott, 34, was a shortstop on the Florida Marlins team from 1994 through its 1997 championship season, and has the World Series ring on his finger to prove it. But when his career was cut short last year by a snapped Achilles tendon, he decided it was time to think about life after baseball....

Putting a Hurtt on Houston policing

     Houston officials in February hired Phoenix Chief Harold L. Hurtt to lead their city’s police force, in the hopes that he can bring down its use-of- force rate much the same way he did in Phoenix during his six-year tenure there.

     Hurtt served as police chief of the Oxnard, Calif., Police Department before returning to Phoenix, where he began his career 36 years ago. When Phoenix’s police shooting rate more than doubled that of Los Angeles and New York in 2003, Hurtt became the first chief in the country to outfit all of his patrol officers with Taser electronic stun guns. ...

Making history

     As Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino aptly noted during the swearing-in ceremony of Kathleen M. O’Toole, the first woman ever named to lead the nation’s oldest police agency, the city that day was not only making history, but preparing for the future.

     O’Toole became Boston’s 37th police commissioner on Feb. 19 in a middle school auditorium with her mentor, former Boston commissioner and current Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton in the front row. During a career that began on a downtown patrol beat in 1979, O’Toole, 50, has led the 600-member Metropolitan District Commission police force, founded an international consulting firm, and served as secretary of public safety under former Gov. William F. Weld....

$10-million send-off

     All it took was about $10 million for a Ventura County, Calif., sheriff’s deputy to retire one year earlier than planned.

     Deputy Robert A. Arnold, 52, was one of two winning ticket holders for a recent California Super Lotto Plus jackpot worth $42 million. Accepting his share of the prize in one lump sum, Arnold should receive approximately $10.5 million, minus taxes....

Goodbye to Madison

     There are no axes to grind, it’s just time to go, said Madison, Wis., Chief Richard Williams, who resigned in March after a decade-long tenure.

     Williams was only the fifth person to lead the department, and the city’s first black chief. Lately, his management style had come under criticism from city officials and union leaders who said Williams needed to be a more visible presence. ...