Category Archives: Law Enforcement

Smart on Crime: Reconsidering the Death Penalty in a Time of Economic Crisis

Source: Richard C. Diete, Death Penalty Information Center, October 2009

From the press release:
A report released today by the Death Penalty Information Center concludes that states are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on the death penalty, draining state budgets during the economic crisis and diverting funds from more effective anti-violence programs. A nationwide poll of police chiefs conducted by RT Strategies, released with the report, found that they ranked the death penalty last among their priorities for crime-fighting, do not believe the death penalty deters murder, and rate it as the least efficient use of limited taxpayer dollars.
See also:
Executive Summary

The Role of Local Police: Striking a Balance Between Immigration Enforcement and Civil Liberties

Source: Anita Khashu, Police Foundation, April 2009

From the abstract:
While local law enforcement agencies collaborate with federal immigration authorities in a wide range of activities, most of this project’s discussions focused on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287(g) program of deputizing local and state police to perform immigration enforcement activities. Police executives have felt torn between a desire to be helpful and cooperative with federal immigration authorities and a concern that their participation in immigration enforcement efforts will undo the gains they have achieved through community oriented policing practices, which are directed at gaining the trust and cooperation of all members of the communities they serve.

This project revealed local law enforcement concerns about the impact of local police immigration enforcement on the relationship between immigrant communities and police and the probability of reduced cooperation of witnesses and victims of crime, thereby having a negative overall impact on public safety. They were also concerned about increased victimization and exploitation of immigrants, a possible increase in police misconduct, the impact on law enforcement budgets and resources, the high possibility of error given the complexity of immigration law, the possibility of racial profiling and other civil lawsuits, and the effect on immigrant access to other municipal services.

The report includes research on the rights of undocumented immigrants and the legal framework for the enforcement of immigration laws, demographics, immigration and criminality, evaluation of federal efforts to collaborate with local police on immigration enforcement (287(g) program), a national survey of law enforcement executives on immigration issues and local policing, the experience of undocumented youth, and a survey of law enforcement executives attending the foundation conference about their views on local immigration enforcement issues.

Finally, the report outlines local law enforcement views on the costs and benefits of immigration enforcement by local police and includes recommendations and policy positions that developed from project activities.

See also:
Press Release
Executive Summary

HR 413, The Public Safety Employer – Employee Cooperation Act: How Will it Impact Your Jurisdiction?

Source: Joseph Adler, HR News, Vol. 75 no. 8, August 2009
(subscription required) (scroll down)

HR 413, The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives in the 111th. Congress ( January 9, 2009) by Representative Dale Kildee (D. Mich.) and Representative John Duncan Jr. (R. Tenn.) and assigned to the Committee on Education and Labor. As of early July 2009, HR 413 had 117 cosponsors. In the previous 110th Congress, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 314-97 but stalled in the Senate in a procedural maneuver. If enacted in its current form, the legislation would establish federal government oversight over a major portion of state and local human resource practices, specifically the conduct of labor relations for public safety officers. HR 413 overrides current state and local government laws,
policies and practices, and instead establishes a uniform standard across the country on how governments could approach public safety collective bargaining. Additionally the legislation proposes to expand the jurisdiction of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) by
vesting it with the power to administer the Act and to determine whether existing state and local government bargaining laws meet the threshold set by HR 413.

Shared Perceptions Among Lesbian and Gay Police Officers – Barriers and Opportunities in the Law Enforcement Work Environment

Source: Roddrick Colvin, Police Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 1, March 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Building on existing race- and sex-based research into the law enforcement workplace, this study examines differential treatment of lesbian and gay officers. A survey of 66 police officers revealed that lesbian and gay officers not only face barriers to equal employment opportunities similar to those faced by women and other minorities in law enforcement but also perceive some workplace benefits as lesbian or gay officers. The research suggests that police departments have made good strides in opening the law enforcement workforce but continue to face ongoing challenges in creating fair, diverse, and representative work environments for lesbian and gay officers. Policy implications as well as the organizational effects of both barriers and opportunities identified are discussed.

Law enforcement officer deaths: Mid-Year 2009

Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Research Bulletin, July 2009

After falling to their lowest level in nearly five decades in 2008, line-of-duty deaths among U.S. law enforcement officers rose 20 percent during the first six months of 2009. Still, officer fatalities remain low when compared with mid-year totals in recent history.

Reforming Repression: Labor, Anarchy, and Reform in the Shaping of the Chicago Police Department, 1879-1888

Source: Sam Mitrani, Labor, Volume 6, Number 2, Summer 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In the article “Reforming Repression: Labor, Anarchy, and Reform in the Shaping of the Chicago Police Department, 1879-1888,” Sam Mitrani examines the dramatic strengthening of the Chicago Police Department in the 1880s. Beginning in 1879, Mayor Carter Harrison pulled the department back from its least popular activities, such as enforcing temperance regulations and breaking strikes, to increase the legitimacy of the force. This was part of Harrison’s policy of class collaboration aimed at calming the tension in the city after the strike and riot of 1877. His administration also hired hundreds of new officers and funded an extensive police telegraph system. Meanwhile, the city’s workers were organizing in new unions, anarchist organizations were growing, and the city’s business leaders were preparing for new clashes by organizing themselves in a citizens’ association and an organization known as the Commercial Club. When a new strike wave began in 1885 and his class collaborationist policies ceased to ensure civic peace, Harrison deployed the newly strengthened force against strikers and their anarchist allies, with telling effect. After the Haymarket bombing and the repression of the anarchists in 1886, the police department further consolidated and reinforced itself with increased support from the city’s business leaders and their organizations. The article concludes that the Chicago Police Department was largely built in this era in reaction to the labor movement. The department’s main task was to contain that movement and protect “order” as defined by businessmen.

Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project

Source: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2009

The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project, coordinated by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, is an unprecedented, national effort to help local, state, and federal policymakers and criminal justice and mental health professionals improve the response to people with mental illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

The landmark Consensus Project Report, which was written by Justice Center staff and representatives of leading criminal justice and mental health organizations, was released in June 2002. Since then, Justice Center staff working on the Consensus Project have supported the implementation of practical, flexible criminal justice/mental health strategies through on-site technical assistance; the dissemination of information about programs, research, and policy developments in the field; continued development of policy recommendations; and educational presentations.
See also:
The Law Enforcement Response to People with Mental Illnesses: A Guide to Research-Informed Policy and Practice

ARRA-funded justice grants available

Source: American City and County, March 13, 2009

Of the $787 billion in federal aid included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) will distribute $2.76 billion through several grant programs. The largest program, OJP’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), will receive $2 billion from ARRA that will go to help local governments prevent crime and improve the criminal justice system. JAG funding is distributed according to a formula of population and crime statistics. Read the entire article here.

State and Local Law Enforcement Training Academies, 2006

Source: Brian A. Reaves, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 222987, February 2009

From the press release:
A total of 648 state and local law enforcement training academies were providing basic training to entry-level recruits at yearend 2006, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, announced today. An estimated 57,000 recruits entered basic training at these academies during 2005. Eighty-six percent of recruits successfully completed training and graduated from the academy.

The average cost of operating a training academy totaled $1.3 million during 2005. Academies spent an estimated $16,000 per successful recruit.

Nearly all academies trained recruits for careers as local police officers (92 percent), and many academies trained recruits who were hired as sheriffs’ deputies (70 percent) or campus police officers (50 percent). Some academies also trained recruits for careers as state police officers (21 percent), constables (16 percent), tribal police officers (15 percent), natural resources officers (15 percent), or transportation police officers (14 percent).

More than two-thirds of academies were operated by colleges and universities (45 percent) or municipal police departments (22 percent). Training programs averaged 761 hours of classroom time. A third of academies required an average of 453 hours of mandatory field training.

The academies employed more than 10,000 full-time and 28,000 part-time instructors during 2006 and spent around $33,000 per full-time equivalent employee.

Federal Funding for State Innovation: Implementing the Recovery Plan: A Resource Guide for State Legislators and Advocates

Source: Progressive States Network, Stateside Dispatch, February 19, 2009

Recognizing the severity of the economic crisis our nation faces, President Obama this week signed the landmark American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a plan aimed at “restoring or saving” 3.5 million jobs and investing in the long-term future of the American economy.

Built into the plan is a recognition that while the federal government can assist in funding the work, most of the implementation of the plan will happen in the states. This Dispatch provides facts, guidance and a collection of resources to state leaders and advocates on how to implement the recovery plan in a strategic manner that strengthens our states and honors our progressive values.

Contents include:
Overview – Summaries and Key Resources

Transparency Requirements for States


Health Care:

* Medicaid Support | Health Care for the Unemployed | SCHIP expansion and inclusion of immigrant children and pregnant women | Health Information Technology

Clean Energy and Transportation Investments

* State Energy Conservation Programs | Upgrading the Electrical Grid | Transportation and Infrastructure Investments

Broadband Provisions

Unemployment and Training Programs:

* Extended and Expanded Benefits | Modernizing Unemployment Insurance Systems | Training Funds | Expanded Safety Net Support | TANF Funding | Nutrition Programs | Child Care and Support | Affordable and Emergency Housing

Criminal Justice Funding