Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXX, No. 626 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY November 2004

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
Rough treatment: Study eyes recidivism & drug treatment links in California.
Strapped for cash: Defeat of budget measures has some agencies scrambling.
Getting the dirt: Porn found at crime scenes to get a closer look.
Shut out: Illinois SP academy suspends training for local agencies.
Ho-hum: New Orleans residents don’t seem to care where cops live.
Ready to go: Jacksonville to roll out civilian community service squad.
People & Places: Counting the days; five-year plan; twice is nice; bass instincts; hear, hear; Noble efforts; no to Apple source.
Having their say: Voters decide on criminal justice-related measures.
LEN interview: Michael Scott of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.
Uncharted waters: States take new tacks against sex offenders.
At a stand-still: Rookies face months of fixed-post training.
Forum: Giving new life to community watch efforts.
Offline: DEA yanks guidelines on MD-prescribed narcotics.

Before the going gets too tough...
Police suicide awareness and prevention get agencies’ attention

     Despite strong arguments by academics and practitioners on both sides of the issue, there remains no consensus on the rate at which police are believed to commit suicide, or indeed, whether they actually kill themselves at a higher rate than those in other professions.

     But given the stress of police work, and a culture that still prefers to keep feelings of depression closeted, some departments make suicide awareness and prevention a routine part of training. ...

Study links recividism, drug treatment

     Researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles found less intensive treatment and the poor matching of clients to services to be key factors behind a high recidivism rate among drug offenders diverted into treatment programs under a 2000 ballot measure.

     The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000, commonly known as Proposition 36, offers nonviolent offenders convicted of drug possession the option of treatment over incarceration. Sixty-one percent of California voters approved the measure in the belief that it would reduce the cost of criminal justice services. In its first year, Proposition 36 diverted 30,500 defendants into treatment. That figure grew to 36,000 in 2002....

Defeat of budget measures has some agencies scrambling for funds

     The rejection by voters on Nov. 2 of a ballot measure that would have raised Los Angeles County’s sales tax by half a cent has forced Los Angeles City Council members to come up with a new way to pay for the hiring of thousands of additional police officers.

     The city was one of numerous municipalities nationwide that tried on Election Day to persuade voters to say yes to tax increases and bond issues that would benefit public safety. The results of those efforts were mixed....

Porn found at crime scenes to get a closer look

     Pornography found at certain crime scenes will be documented by Cache County, Utah, deputies under a policy the agency is developing in hopes of discovering whether a link exists between such materials and specific offenses.

     Although no connection between pornography and criminal behavior has ever been proven, law enforcement has seen a steady increase in pornography during arrests and at crime scenes, said Lt. Matt Bilodeau, a department spokesman....

Locals are shut out of Illinois SP academy

     The Illinois State Police has shut the doors of its Lake Springfield-area academy to local police departments, citing money problems.

     The State Police announced in August that while it would continue to train new troopers, current fiscal challenges had forced it to suspend basic law-enforcement training. Municipal departments will have to send their recruits to one of five other training academies around the state. ...

Residency rule is a yawner
New Orleans residents don’t seem to care where cops live

     Opponents of a New Orleans residency rule that has been on the books since the 1950’s, but largely ignored until now, contend they have proof that a majority of residents do not care if their police officers live outside the city limits.

     This month the New Orleans Police Foundation released a study which showed that nearly three-quarters of residents oppose the requirement. The poll of 400 city residents was conducted in September by a political analyst and assistant sociology professor at Xavier University, Silas Lee. His findings showed 73 percent agreeing that “it’s OK for police officers to live in other parishes,” and 55 percent who somewhat or strongly disagreed with the residency rule....

Stepping out in Jacksonville:
Community service officers ready to go

     The Jacksonville-Duval County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department’s first all-civilian squad of community service officers is due to hit the streets in January, ready to enforce litter laws, direct traffic and respond to minor crashes.

     Thirty people ranging in age from 18 to 62 enrolled in the agency’s academy in August. By the time they graduate, they will have received 480 hours of training. After an additional two months with a field training officer, the recruits will operate solo as community service officers....

The voters have their say:
Mergers, residency, DNA are on the ballot

     Criminal justice-related Election Day results around the nation included:

     ALASKA — An initiative that would have ended marijuana prohibition in favor of state regulation was rejected by 57 percent of Alaskan voters. Opponents argued that the measure would have created a complicated liability issue for employers, while advocates contended that prohibition has been both expensive and ineffective....

The LEN interview
Michael Scott
Director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

     LAW ENFORCEMENT NEWS: In a 1997 interview with LEN, Herman Goldstein expressed concern that a lot of departments at the time claimed to be involved in problem-oriented policing, but were really engaging in — to paraphrase him — superficial or peripheral endeavors. What’s your take on the status of problem-oriented policing today?

     SCOTT: American police agencies in recent years, certainly since 2001, have been understandably distracted by concerns about counterterrorism. That’s where a great deal of the federal emphasis in law enforcement is currently, and also where some of the financial support for local enforcement is. Some of the attention has understandably been turned in that direction....

Uncharted waters:
States take new tacks against sex offenders

     States seeking new ways to keep track of their most dangerous sexual predators and prevent them from committing further offenses are entering uncharted waters when they start using such means as asset forfeiture and information about offenders’ partners and relatives on online registries, according to some legal experts.

     In Englewood, Ohio, authorities in August renewed a civil action filed in 2002 to seize the home of Brian R. Gillingham, a twice-convicted sexual offender....

Rookies face months of fixed-post training

     It’s going to be a long year of on-the-job training for Baltimore’s rookie officers, most of whom have been assigned to street corner posts in some of the city’s worst neighborhoods under an initiative launched by former Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark.

     The district stabilization unit, as it is called, has stirred some controversy. Critics, including Baltimore’s police union, complain that it will deprive recruits of much needed experience, and will simply displace crime into other areas. Police officials, however, contend that saturating targeted communities makes a difference to residents....

DEA yanks guidelines on M.D.-prescribed narcotics

     The Drug Enforcement Administration last month abruptly pulled from its Web site guidelines for law-enforcement personnel and physicians that explained what each group needed to know about addiction and prescribing narcotics to patients suffering from debilitating pain.

     While the agency has remained largely silent on why it chose to withdraw its support for the document, “Prescription Pain Medications: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Health Care Professionals, and Law Enforcement Personnel,” patients’ rights advocates charge that the reversal was triggered by the prosecution in November of Dr. William E. Hurwitz, a McLean, Va., pain-management specialist....