Category Archives: Law Enforcement

Long-Term Effects of Law Enforcement’s Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

Source: Lois M. Davis, Michael Pollard, Kevin Ward, Jeremy M. Wilson, Danielle M. Varda, Lydia Hansell and Paul Steinberg, Prepared for the National Institute of Justice by the RAND Corporation, document number 232791, December 2010

This study examined the long-term adjustments that large, urban law enforcement agencies made to accommodate the renewed focus on counterterrorism and homeland security. The researchers present case studies of five major law enforcement agencies in major metropolitan areas to understand their experiences in these areas post-9/11.

The Growing Legal Implications of Tasers: A primer on the development, uses, and consequences of Tasers

Source: Maureen Moran, LLRX, August 18, 2011

Maureen Moran addresses research associated with the civil liberties, legal and law enforcement issues involving widespread availability – approximately 11,500 law enforcement agencies have acquired CEDs, or conducted energy devices. Tasers are the most common electronic control device used by law enforcement today.

Strategic Cutback Management: Law Enforcement Leadership for Lean Times

Source: Jane Wiseman, U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Research for Practice, NCJ 232077, July 2011

The United States is experiencing the 10th economic decline since World War II. This document presents lessons learned from past experience and suggests approaches leaders can use to address financial crises in law enforcement agencies.

Leadership is the most critical element for success. We know from the past that an organization’s leaders create a shared sense of the importance of the priorities and tasks of the group. It is this inspiration that induces workers to follow along in support of the group’s mission.

Additional lessons learned from the past:
• Avoid across-the-board cuts. They cause disproportionate harm.
• Use the crisis to improve management and improve productivity. In law enforcement, examples abound of departments faced with unfortunate crises — from consent decrees to accidental shootings — where the events provided meaningful moments of reflection, learning and process improvement. Budget crises are no different.
• Think long term. Research has shown that organizations capable of enduring a deep fiscal crisis had developed and were able to stick to a strategic plan with a multiyear time frame.
• Do not just cut costs, look for revenue opportunities. Research on past recessions shows that increasing a tax or fee provides relief faster than cutting expenditures. Although police agencies do not have the power to levy taxes, they may be able to charge user fees for some services.
• Invite innovation. During past fiscal crises, new approaches were tried that are now standard in many cities. For example, local governments have privatized certain city services and sold public facility naming rights.
• Look outside for help. Law enforcement can look outside the department to other government agencies, or to suppliers, academics or other subject matter experts for suggestions on improving operations at reduced cost.
• Targeted layoffs are more effective than hiring freezes.

Census Of State And Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008

Source: Brian A. Reaves, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 233982, July 26, 2011

From the abstract:
Presents the results of the Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, which is conducted every four years and covers approximately 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. This report includes the number of state and local law enforcement agencies as of September 2008 and the number of sworn and civilian employees. Breakdowns are presented for general purpose agencies, including local police departments, sheriffs’ offices, and primary state law enforcement agencies. The report also provides data for agencies that serve special jurisdictions “such as parks, college campuses, airports, or transit systems” or that have special enforcement responsibilities pertaining to laws in areas such as natural resources, alcohol, or gaming.

Highlights include the following:

* State and local law enforcement agencies employed about 1,133,000 persons on a full-time basis in 2008, including 765,000 sworn personnel.
* About half (49%) of all agencies employed fewer than 10 full-time officers. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of sworn personnel worked for agencies that employed 100 or more officers.
* From 2004 to 2008, state and local law enforcement agencies added about 9,500 more full-time sworn personnel than during the previous 4-year period.

2011 Mid-Year Officer Fatality Report

Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Research Bulletin, 2011

A total of 98 federal, state and local law enforcement officers died during the first half of 2011 (January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011), according to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. This represents a 14% increase over the 86 officer fatalities during the same time in 2010. Firearms-related fatalities reached a 20-year high, increasing 33% from 30 to 40 officers shot and killed in 2011.
See also:
Press Release
Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: Final 2010 Report
Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: Final 2009 Report
Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: Final 2008 Report
Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: Final 2007 Report

Police and Fire Pensions in Florida: A Historical Perspective and Cause for Future Concerns

Source: Robert E. Lee, Joseph Vonasek, Compensation & Benefits Review, Vol. 43 no. 3, May/June 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Supplementary contributions to pension plans are predicted to increase for some Florida municipal governments because of the funding source used for police and fire plans. This article examines the history of local government pensions and focuses on Chapter 175 and 185 Pension Plans, which access funding through a tax on property insurance premiums. The notable legislative changes, Attorney General Opinions and court cases are also briefly assessed. This study research examines a sample of 32 pension funds in 20 Florida cities and indicates that the cost of providing these pensions is increasing because of legislative mandates for use of these revenues. This is evidenced by a historical decrease in the funding ratios of the funds of the cities sampled.

2010 End of Year Officer Fatality Report

Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Research Bulletin, December 2010

From the summary:
A total of 162 federal, state and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 12 months, according to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). This represents a dramatic increase over the 117 officer fatalities in 2009, which marked a 50-year low.
See also:
Preliminary 2010 End of Year Officer Fatality News Release

Electronic Privacy on the Job

Source: Devallis Rutledge, Campus Safety Magazine, December 10, 2010

Can a department monitor its officers’ use of official devices?

Several important points can be derived from statements in the court’s decision in City of Ontario v. Quon:

* Public employers are bound by the Fourth Amendment.
* Legitimate expectations of privacy may evolve with changing technology.
* It is important for employers to have clear, comprehensive policies that put employees on notice of the conditions of use of department-issued equipment.
* Since police communications may become evidence in a criminal case, officers should realize the risk that their messages may have to be disclosed.
* The ruling in Quon may not apply to all future scenarios of employer access to employee communications made over employer-issued devices.