Category Archives: Law Enforcement

Body‐Worn Cameras and Policing: A List Experiment of Citizen Overt and True Support

Source: Daniel E. Bromberg, Étienne Charbonneau, Andrew Smith, Public Administration Review, Volume 78 Issue 6, November/December 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Police body‐worn cameras (BWCs) have gained popularity in recent years. However, many minimize the complexity of this transparency initiative and elevate the potential benefits. While BWCs can promote police accountability, they may also reduce citizen trust in police organizations. For BWCs to achieve win‐win solutions, police organizations should determine the level of citizen support for specific BWC practices. However, measuring citizen support presents several challenges. Social desirability may impact polling results, as participants underreport responses they perceive to be outside the norm. The authors employ a list experiment design to measure true citizen support for BWC practices. They find statistically significant levels of social desirability for police discretion in the activation of BWCs and for restriction of footage accessibility regarding suspects with mental illness. Decision makers should not rely on public opinion polls as a gauge of true citizen support for BWC use.

Effects of environmental stressors on daily governance

Source: Nick Obradovich, Dustin Tingley, and Iyad Rahwan, Proceedings on the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), August 13, 2018

Significance:
Public servants are often first responders to disasters, and the day-to-day completion of their jobs aids public health and safety. However, with respect to their individual psychological and physiological responses to environmental stressors, public sector workers may be harmed in much the same way as other citizens in society. We find that exposure to hotter temperatures reduces the activity of two groups of regulators—police officers and food safety inspectors—at times that the risks they are tasked with overseeing are highest. Given that we observe these effects in a country with high political institutionalization, our findings may have implications for the impacts of climate change on the functioning of regulatory governance in countries with lower political and economic development.

Abstract:
Human workers ensure the functioning of governments around the world. The efficacy of human workers, in turn, is linked to the climatic conditions they face. Here we show that the same weather that amplifies human health hazards also reduces street-level government workers’ oversight of these hazards. To do so, we employ US data from over 70 million regulatory police stops between 2000 and 2017, from over 500,000 fatal vehicular crashes between 2001 and 2015, and from nearly 13 million food safety violations across over 4 million inspections between 2012 and 2016. We find that cold and hot temperatures increase fatal crash risk and incidence of food safety violations while also decreasing police stops and food safety inspections. Added precipitation increases fatal crash risk while also decreasing police stops. We examine downscaled general circulation model output to highlight the possible day-to-day governance impacts of climate change by 2050 and 2099. Future warming may augment regulatory oversight during cooler seasons. During hotter seasons, however, warming may diminish regulatory oversight while simultaneously amplifying the hazards government workers are tasked with overseeing.

Cameras can catch cars that run red lights, but that doesn’t make streets safer

Source: Justin Gallagher, The Conversation, August 15, 2018

The automobile is a killer. In the U.S., 36,675 people died in traffic accidents in 2014. The year before, 2.3 million people were injured in traffic accidents.

During the past decade, over 438 U.S. municipalities, including 36 of the 50 most populous cities, have employed electronic monitoring programs in order to reduce the number of accidents. Red light camera programs specifically target drivers that run red lights.

In a study I co-authored with economist Paul J. Fisher, we examined all police-recorded traffic accidents for three large Texas cities over a 12-year period – hundreds of thousands of accidents. We found no evidence that red light cameras improve public safety. They don’t reduce the total number of vehicle accidents, the total number of individuals injured in accidents or the total number of incapacitating injuries that involve ambulance transport to a hospital….

Differences in Perceptions of Organizational Fairness Based on Job Characteristics among Police Officers

Source: Paul D. Reynolds, Richard C. Helfers, American Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 43 Issue 2, June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Profuse research supports that organizational work environments are linked to varying police officers’ work-related attitudes and behaviors. Yet, there remains a lack of information pertaining to how perceptions of organizational fairness may differ among police officers based on job characteristics. To help fill this void, this exploratory research examines differences in fairness perceptions based on officers’ tenure, rank, duty assignment, and department size with their perceptions of organizational fairness. To examine this relationship, an online survey of police officers (n = 1649) in a southern state in the United States that were members of a police officer association was conducted. Findings support that differences in overall fairness perceptions exist for all the aforementioned job characteristics. This study furthers our knowledge and understanding of how job characteristics (e.g., tenure, rank, duty assignment, and department size) may be associated with police officers’ work-related attitudes.

Do Work-Family Conflict and Resiliency Mediate Police Stress and Burnout: a Study of State Police Officers

Source: Jennifer D. Griffin, Ivan Y. Sun, American Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 43 Issue 2, June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Occupational stress and burnout have long been recognized as common hazards among police officers. The present study examines whether demographic characteristics and assignment affect police officers’ work-family conflict (WFC), resiliency, stress and burnout, and whether WFC and resiliency mediate the stress and burnout of police officers. The data were collected from a Mid-Atlantic state police agency in the United States of America through a web-based survey. Regression results revealed that minority officers tended to have lower levels of WFC and burnout and better educated officers reported lower degrees of WFC and stress. WFC was positively related to stress and burnout, while resilience was inversely linked to stress and burnout. The effects of race and education disappeared when WFC and resiliency entered the regression, suggesting that their impact was largely mediated by WFC and resiliency. Lastly, stress was found to be positively associated with burnout. Implications for research and policy are discussed.

Police Officers’ Perceptions of Body-Worn Cameras in Buffalo and Rochester

Source: Joseph A. Gramagila, Scott W. Phillips American Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 43 Issue 2, June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Police body-worn cameras have been advanced as a solution to disparate perceptions among the citizenry, public officials, community leaders, and the police themselves in the highly contested arena of police-citizen encounters. As with previous innovations in policing it is important that programs or policies developed for street-level application be planned in advance, and the opinions of police officers should be understood prior to implementation. This study provides survey responses from police officers in Buffalo and Rochester regarding their perceptions of body-worn cameras. Survey items were borrowed from prior research in Phoenix and Los Angeles. It also included items intended to measure the officer’s opinions about examining camera images prior to writing a report, an issue that is the subject of some disagreement among policy makers. Findings suggest similar attitudes toward body cameras not only among Buffalo and Rochester police officers, but also with police officers in other agencies. Almost all respondents agree or strongly agree that police officers should have the ability to review body camera images prior to writing a report. The policy implications of this finding are discussed.

Parents Were Targeted Under The “Zero Tolerance” Policy, A New Analysis Of Immigration Data Finds

Source: Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed News, August 2, 2018

The Trump administration said family separation was the result of a “zero tolerance” prosecution strategy. But a new analysis shows that parents with children were the ones sent to court, while adults without kids weren’t.

Related:
“Zero Tolerance” at the Border: Rhetoric vs. Reality
Source: TRAC Immigration, July 24, 2018

….Family separations, the Administration stated, was the inevitable consequence of prosecuting everyone caught illegally entering this country. As the press widely reported, “[t]he Justice Department can’t prosecute children along with their parents, so the natural result of the zero-tolerance policy has been a sharp rise in family separations. Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from parents during six weeks in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.”

However, since less than a third of adults apprehended illegally crossing the border were actually referred for prosecution, the stated justification does not explain why this Administration chose to prosecute parents with children over prosecuting adults without children who were also apprehended in even larger numbers. As shown in Table 1, the total number of adults apprehended without children during May 2018 was 24,465. This is much larger than the 9,216 adults that the administration chose to prosecute that month.

Thus, the so-called zero-tolerance policy didn’t as a practical matter eliminate prosecutorial discretion. Since less than one out of three adults were actually prosecuted, CBP personnel had to choose which individuals among those apprehended to refer to federal prosecutors[4]. The Administration has not explained its rationale for prosecuting parents with children when that left so many other adults without children who were not being referred for prosecution…..

Behind the Badge: Police Policies Revealed

Source: New York Civil Liberties Union, 2018

When are police officers authorized to use force? What is the process for handling and correcting officer misconduct? How are officers using high-tech surveillance technology? New Yorkers have a right to know what rules the police are following to keep us safe. But far too often, police departments across the state don’t have clear or specific policies in place, or they are made with no community input and hidden from the public.

Driven into Debt: How Tickets Burden the Poor

Source: ProPublica and WBEZ, 2018

Parking, traffic camera and vehicle tickets generate millions of dollars in desperately needed cash each year for the City of Chicago. But for the working poor, and particularly for African Americans, paying for tickets can be difficult — opening the door to more fines and fees, and spiraling debt. Drivers who don’t pay what they owe face tough punishments from the city and state that threaten their livelihoods.

Articles include:
Chicago Hiked the Cost of Vehicle City Sticker Violations to Boost Revenue. But It’s Driven More Low-Income, Black Motorists Into Debt.
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, and Elliott Ramos, WBEZ July 26, 2018

Now, a former official regrets the move and wants the city to revisit it. Some policies, she said, are “terrible.”

How ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Worked Together to Find Thousands of Duplicate Tickets in Chicago
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, and Elliott Ramos, WBEZ July 6, 2018

We heard from you about how ticket debt, especially from $200 city sticker citations, has affected you. And we would like your help as we continue our reporting.

Three City Sticker Tickets on the Same Car in 90 Minutes?
Souce: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, and Elliott Ramos, WBEZ June 27, 2018

Chicago has issued 20,000 duplicate city sticker tickets since 2007. City officials are now looking at whether this violates a city ordinance and say motorists might be in for a refund.

Chicago Begins To Rethink How Bankruptcy Lawyers Get Paid
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, May 9, 2018

Judges are demanding that lawyers tell their clients that their other debts might not get paid, but their lawyers will.

Some States No Longer Suspend Driver’s Licenses for Unpaid Fines. Will Illinois Join Them?
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, March 15, 2018

Our analysis shows suspensions tied to ticket debt disproportionately affect motorists in largely black sections of Chicago and its suburbs.

She Owed $102,158.40 in Unpaid Tickets, but She’s Not in the Story
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, March 2, 2018

Still, we want to tell you a little bit about her, and about some of the other people we interviewed, because they helped inform our ticket debt investigation.

How Chicago Ticket Debt Sends Black Motorists Into Bankruptcy
Source: Melissa Sanchez and Sandhya Kambhampati, ProPublica, February 27, 2018

A cash-strapped city employs punitive measures to collect from cash-strapped black residents — and lawyers benefit.

The Many Roads to Bankruptcy
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, February 27, 2018

Here are some stories of Chicagoans driven into ticket debt.

Fentanyls and the safety of first responders: Science and recommendations

Source: John Howard, Jennifer Hornsby‐Myers, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: 25 June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Opioids have many beneficial uses in medicine, but, taken inappropriately, they can cause life‐threatening health effects. The increasing use of physician‐prescribed and illicit opioids, including highly potent fentanyl and its analogs, have contributed to a significant increase in opioid‐related drug overdoses in the United States, leading to a public health emergency. There have been a number of reports describing adverse health effects experienced by police officers, fire‐fighter emergency medical services providers, and private sector ambulance personnel when responding to drug overdose incidents. Several sets of exposure prevention recommendations for first responders are available from government and the private sector. Understanding the scientific basis for these recommendations, increasing awareness by responders of the potential risks associated with opioid exposure during a response, and educating responders about safe work practices when exposure to opioids is suspected or confirmed are all critical prevention measures that can keep first responders safe.