Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXXI, No. 632 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY May 2005

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
It’s no secret: Portland pulls cops from terror squad over secrity clearance.
Free at last: Who’s off the hook from consent decrees — and who’s not.
Black & white issues: A look at who gets stopped & who gets searched.
Whodunnit? Finger-pointing over failed effort to address Texas DNA woes.
Fine whine: Disparity in substantiated complaints puzzles police.
It’s not who you know: San Diego to test new promotion system.
Keeping up with Jones: Ex-chief loses bias case.
People & Places: Sad day in Syracuse; his act’s no bomb; bound for the Rockies; a day in the park; Gallegos’ goodbye; leaving port; not just about money; change agent; women policing milestones.
Gangsta nation: States face up to gang issues.
Law & order: Injunctive relief curbs gangs.
Judicial notice: State courts have their say.
More than words: Building rapport with young victims.
Sinister hi-tech: Digital stalkers targeted.
Criminal Justice Library: Female chiefs’ paths to the top.
Forum: The 10 essential traits of achievement-motivated people.

It’s no secret
Portland yanks cops from terror unit over clearance issues

     The city of Portland, Ore., last month had what many consider to be the dubious honor of being the first city in the United States to pull its police officers out of an FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force.

     City Council members voted 4-1 to approve the recommendation made by Mayor Tom Potter to withdraw from the task force on the grounds that unless he had the same top-secret clearance as the two officers assigned to the unit, he could not guarantee that police were obeying a state law prohibiting investigations based on one’s beliefs or religion....

Pittsburgh is freed from consent decree, but Cincinnati is still on the hook

     Just as the Pittsburgh Police Bureau was freed last month from the strictures of a consent decree, its counterpart in Cincinnati was being warned by a federal judge that it had better comply with a federal monitor assigned to oversee reforms.

     Eight years to the month after Pittsburgh entered into an agreement with the Justice Department, a joint motion was filed in April by the city and the federal government to end oversight of the PPB....

Who gets stopped, who gets searched? A study in black & white

     A government study on contact between law enforcement and the public, released last month, reaffirmed what many in the criminal justice research community have already found: that blacks drivers are searched following a traffic stop at higher rates than are whites, but are less likely than whites to be carrying contraband.

     In its study of police contacts with the public during 2002, researchers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that roughly 21 percent of the 216 million United States residents over the age of 16, or 45.3 million, had at least one face-to-face encounter with police. ...

Finger-pointing accompanies failed effort to address Texas DNA lab woes

     The sponsor of a bill that would have created regional DNA processing labs across the state of Texas has pointed a finger of blame at Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt for the proposal’s demise during the recent legislative session.

     Representative Kevin Bailey, a Democrat from Houston, said Hurtt’s 11th-hour demands of a guaranteed turnaround time on evidence analysis and a reduced rate for processing Houston’s samples killed his bill....

Gender disparity in substantiated complaints puzzles SLC police

     Salt Lake City officials are puzzled by a discrepancy in the number of complaints substantiated by a Civilian Review Board when the complainant was a man as compared to when it was a woman.

     According to data compiled between July 1, 2003 — when the panel was created — and Dec. 31, 2004, only one of the 34 complaints made by a man was found to have been a fabrication. In contrast, four of the 16 complaints filed by women were deemed untrue....

Goodbye to the old boys’ network
San Diego PD to test new promotion system

     The San Diego Police Department and its officers’ union have agreed to a five-year trial period of a new promotional system that many believe is a good first step toward diversifying the agency’s upper echelon.

     Officers say that under the department’s old system, promotions were based on informal, subjective evaluations by superior officers. It was very much an “old boys’ network,” they told The San Diego Union-Tribune, with opportunities for advancement tightly controlled....

Keeping up with Jones:
Jury rules against ex-chief in bias case

     Former Milwaukee Police Chief Arthur Jones failed in March to persuade a federal jury that he was not discriminating against more than a dozen white male lieutenants when he used his own highly subjective criteria as a basis for bypassing them to promote arguably less-qualified black and female officers to the rank of captain.

     It took just over a day for jurors to agree with the 17 plaintiffs that Jones had been biased in making those appointments. Among the jury’s findings were that, collectively, the men had been passed over 144 times; that three had been more qualified to be captains than David A. Clarke, a Jones appointee who is now Milwaukee County sheriff; and that Lt. David Vahl had been discriminated against in 16 of Jones’ ...

Gangsta nation
States confront a variety of gang issues

     Around the nation, jurisdictions large and small are wrestling with gang-related issues. Following is a roundup of recent developments:

     CALIFORNIA — At a meeting in March with police officials, Ceres residents voiced apprehension about tactics they contend target young Latinos who they say might dress like gang members but are not. The town is still reeling from the murder in January of Officer Howard Stevenson who was shot by a U.S. Marine, Andres Raya, who police say was involved in gangs....

Turning to injunctions to help break up the old gang network

     The continued proliferation of street gangs has prosecutors and police in many jurisdictions turning increasingly to the courts for legal remedies that they believe ultimately drain power from the gangs by keeping their members from congregating.

     In Los Angeles, Mayor James K. Hahn plans to make the city a gang-free zone with a sweeping injunction that would cover every neighborhood. If it is approved, as much as 50 percent of Los Angeles’ 49,000 gang members would be prohibited from congregating anywhere within the city’s roughly 470 square miles....

Judicial notice
Top state courts have their say

     Exemptions from public records laws, the rights of foreign nationals, and the privacy of household trash were among the issues decided in March by top state courts.


On the record

Records containing the names of some 200 reserve deputy sheriffs in Barnstable County, Mass., are not immune from inspection under any state statute, ruled the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. ...

More than words:
Ohio seeks breakthrough with young victims

     Ohio law-enforcement officers, prosecutors and child-protection workers last month received training under a program designed to make interviews of children more productive, and less traumatic for young victims.

     The program, called “Finding Words,” is sponsored by the Minnesota-based American Prosecutors Research Institute. First offered in 1998, 11 states including Ohio have signed on for the training. The institute’s stated goal is to having “Finding Words” offered by 25 states within the next five years....

When technology gets diabolical:
Florida trains its sights on digital stalkers

     Florida law enforcement will receive a share of a half-million-dollar grant to train law-enforcement officers in how to beat digital stalkers at their own game by improving police and victims’ own knowledge of high-tech equipment.

     The money will be awarded by the Wireless Foundation, an industry group, as part of a series of such grants to training programs across the country. In Florida, programs will be coordinated by the state’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Police and advocates who undergo the training will be taught how to instruct victims to use technology for their own good....

Criminal Justice Library
Tracking women in policing — two views

     “Breaking the Brass Ceiling” is a long overdue documentary of 30 years of strife for women in law enforcement. It does an admirable job in two main areas. First, it superbly presents minibiographies on the most pioneering and influential women in policing and, second, it delivers a thorough primer on American law enforcement organizations, using an interesting and easily readable style. The insight and experience of the author, Dorothy Schulz, adds life to the interpretation of data gathered through questionnaires and interviews.

     This work should be a must-read for women and men entering law enforcement today. It provides a unique historical context within which to educate readers about the complexities of policing in the United States and rare insights into the lives of successful women pioneers. This is a rare glimpse into the heads of chiefs across the nation, from whom we all can learn....