Category Archives: Law Enforcement

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.

#MeToo Movement May Impact Law Enforcement Operations In Key Ways

Source: Michael Levin Epstein, Esq., Employment Alert, Volume 35, Issue 10, May 15, 2018
(subscription required)

Two words have become a rallying cry for victims of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault—and have been incorporated into a social media hashtag to help promote awareness of the problems.

#MeToo came into national attention last October after accusations of sexual harassment and assault were directed against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Other complaints have alleged misconduct by individuals in the news media, business, and politics—including members of Congress.

The impact on law enforcement

Police and law enforcement operations may be affected in several ways by the “Me Too” movement, including increased complaints by individuals against alleged offenders—and complaints aimed at police officers.

Complaints often involve allegations of use of excessive force, but published reports note state records of police license revocations indicate that sexual misconduct by officers appears to be a problem as well. ….

Flawed Judgment in Use of Force Against Students?

Source: Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Inside Higher Ed, April 19, 2018

Only some college and university police officers are being trained to handle students’ mental health crises, experts say.

….Ideally, university police forces would be trained with a deep 40-hour program called the Memphis model, in which they’re taught how to ease the stress of a student experiencing a mental health break, James said. Developed by the University of Memphis’s Crisis Intervention Team Center, the training introduces cops to victims of mental health crises. The Atlantic reported that officers trained in this method are much less likely to use force when dealing with people with mental health problems…..

The Effect of Collective Bargaining Rights on Law Enforcement: Evidence from Florida

Source: Dhammika Dharmapala, Richard H. McAdams, John Rappaport, University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 831, Last revised: January 27, 2018

From the abstract:
Growing controversy surrounds the impact of labor unions on law enforcement behavior. Critics allege that unions impede organizational reform and insulate officers from discipline for misconduct. The only evidence of these effects, however, is anecdotal. We exploit a quasi-experiment in Florida to estimate the effects of collective bargaining rights on law enforcement misconduct and other outcomes of public concern. In 2003, the Florida Supreme Court’s Williams decision extended to county deputy sheriffs collective bargaining rights that municipal police officers had possessed for decades. We construct a comprehensive panel dataset of Florida law enforcement agencies starting in 1997, and employ a difference-in-difference approach that compares sheriffs’ offices and police departments before and after Williams. Our primary result is that collective bargaining rights lead to about a 27% increase in complaints of officer misconduct for the typical sheriff’s office. This result is robust to the inclusion of a variety of controls. The time pattern of the estimated effect, along with an analysis using agency-specific trends, suggests that it is not attributable to preexisting trends. The estimated effect of Williams is not robustly significant for other potential outcomes of interest, however, including the racial and gender composition of agencies and training and educational requirements.

America’s Growing ‘Guard Labor’ Force

Source: Richard Florida, City Lab, March 13, 2018

Many large urban areas in the U.S. now have more “guard labor” than teachers. ….

…. Our definition of guard labor is narrower than that of Bowles and Jayadev, limited to what they call “protective guard labor”—that is, police officers and detectives, prison guards, private security guards, transportation security screeners, and other protective service workers. Our definition of teachers includes pre-school, elementary, middle-school, and high-school teachers, as well as special-education teachers.

For each metro, we looked at the change in guard labor over time, the number of guards per 10,000 people, the location quotient for guard labor, and—most importantly for our purposes—the ratio of guards to teachers. ….

Determinants of citizen support for community-oriented policing

Source: Heeuk D. Lee, David Kim, Youngki Woo & Bradford W. Reyns, Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, Latest Articles, Published online: October 30, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The extent to which community members are willing to cooperate with the police and become involved with various community crime prevention programs depends on citizen perceptions of the police and of the community in which they reside. The purpose of the present study is to explore factors that affect support for community policing in a small rural city. Findings revealed that the majority of respondents supported community policing. Using community survey data collected from over 400 citizens in a small metropolitan area in the intermountain West, this study also explored the importance of demographic factors, community characteristics, and public perceptions and experiences with police in predicting citizens’ support for community policing. Citizen support for community-oriented policing varied somewhat by demographic factors (i.e., gender, education), and by community characteristics (i.e., disorder, social cohesion).