Breaking and updates

Federal prosecutors charged Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio and three underlings with criminal contempt of court for defying a judge’s order to stop targeting Hispanic persons. For our prior post on this long-running saga click here.

DOJ assumes leadership of the Police Data Initiative, a program that would collect data about stop and frisk, uses of force (not just lethal), officer-involved shootings and "other police actions" from law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. $750,00 is awarded to the Police Foundation to develop a plan with 100 cooperating departments.ť

Thinking they were responding to a "simple family disturbance," two Palm Springs officers were shot and killed and a third was wounded by an ex-con with a violent past. At least two persons knew that he was armed and intended to murder cops but the information was apparently not passed on. How to keep patrol officers informed will be discussed in a forthcoming post.

Shootings by police continue, as do protests against the use of lethal force. But it seems that many citizens were indeed armed. Is there a solution? Check out our new post, "Is it Always About Race?".

Riots break out in Charlotte after an officer shoots and kills a black man who allegedly brandished a handgun. In August charges were dropped against another Charlotte officer who killed an unarmed black man in 2014. For more about the earlier incident see "Does Race Matter? (Part I)".

Is inflammatory anti-police rhetoric getting cops killed? Check out our new post, "Words Matter".

With 90 homicides in August, and 471 so far in 2016, exceeding NYC and L.A. combined, Chicago's murder spree is at a two-decade high. For our thoughts on what can be done check out "Role Reversal".

Recent use of force episodes have rekindled interest in having officers live where they work. "Where Should Cops Live?" examines residency requirements in depth. Are they really a good idea?

In yet another violent inner-city episode, Milwaukee police shot and killed a man, and rioting followed. Our new post, "Getting Out of Dodge" discusses a Federal program that offers long-suffering residents an opportunity to escape crime and disorder.

DOJ releases a blistering report accusing Baltimore PD of engaging in a pattern of "unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests" directed particularly against African Americans. For more on what propelled DOJ's inquiry check out our recent post, "A Very Rough Ride".

Federal authorities indicted ex-L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca on two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of lying to the FBI. Baca had withdrawn a guilty plea to lying after the judge nixed a plea-bargained six-month stretch as a sweetheart deal, inconsistent with the stiff terms that Baca's minions got. For more on the saga see our recent post, "Orange is the New Brown."

Stung by a hung jury and two acquittals, the Baltimore D.A. threw in the towel on prosecuting the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man whom police gave "A Very Rough Ride". Three of the six cops who faced charges, the D.A. who went after them, and the judge who rendered two not guilty verdicts were also black.

Have violence against officers and controversies about the treatment of black citizens placed American policing at a crossroads? For our take on things see our new posts, "Good Guy/Bad Guy/Black Guy" Part I and Part II.

A sniper killed five Dallas police officers and wounded seven during a July 7 protest against police shootings of black men. The gathering was spawned by recent incidents in Baton Rouge, involving an allegedly armed man, and in a St. Paul suburb, during a routine traffic stop (the victim reportedly carried a licensed gun.) Recently, in "Working Scared," we discussed how violence and the proliferation of guns might be affecting police behavior. We'll have more to say about this in the next few days.

"A Very Rough Ride" probes the evolving saga in Baltimore, where judges have so far acquitted two out of six cops charged in connection with Freddy Gray's lethal "rough ride." (A third got a hung jury.) But is there something else that can be done besides going after cops? Read the piece to find out.

Obstructing the FBI earns L.A.'s former undersheriff five years in Federal prison. For more about the dysfunction that landed him there check out our recent post, "Orange is the New Brown."

In the wake of Orlando, Hillary Clinton calls for reinstating the Federal assault weapons ban. Would that help? See our new post, "A Ban in Name Only." Also check out Jay's interview by Boston public radio, his December 2015 op-ed in the Washington Post and our Gun Control posts, including "Disturbed Person + Assault Rifle" and "Don't Blame the NRA."

Recent posts

NEW "A Matter of Life and Death": In an era of highly lethal firearms, keeping patrol informed is job #1 (#281, 10/20/16)

"Is it Always About Race?": Unruly citizens and streets brimming with guns make risk-tolerance a very hard sell (#280, 10/5/16)

"Words Matter": In a conflicted, gun-saturated land, heated rhetoric threatens cops’ effectiveness – and their lives (#279, 9/17/16)

"Where Should Cops Live?": Officer-citizen conflicts stir renewed interest in residency requirements (#278, 9/2/16)

"Getting Out of Dodge": For families caught in dangerous neighborhoods, there is one option (#277, 8/19/16)

"Better Late Than Never (Part II)": DOJ proposes rules for forensic testimony. Do they go far enough? (#276, 8/3/16)

"Good Guy/Bad Guy/Black Guy (Part II)" Aggressive crime-fighting strategies can exact an unintended toll (#275, 7/18/16)

"Good Guy/Bad Guy/Black Guy (Part I)" Do cops use race to decide who poses a threat? (#274, 7/18/16)

"Intended or not, a Very Rough Ride": A hung jury and two acquittals mar Baltimore's crusade against police violence (#273, 7/3/16)

"A Ban in Name Only": Pretending to regulate only makes things worse (#272, 6/21/16)

"Better Late Than Never (Part I)": A "hair-raising" forensic debacle forces DOJ's hand (#271, 6/10/16)

"Location, Location, Location": Crime happens. To find out why, look to where. (#270, 5/25/16)

"Orange is the New Brown": L.A.'s past sheriff and undersheriff pack their bags for Hotel Fed. (#269, 5/7/16)

"Role Reversal": Chicago's falling apart. Who can make the violence stop? (#268, 4/25/16)

"Is a Case Ever too Cold?": Citing factual errors, an Illinois prosecutor successfully moves to free a convicted killer (#267, 4/16/16)

"After the Fact": Ordinary policing strategies can't prevent terrorism (#266, 3/31/16)

"More Rules, Less Force?": PERF promotes written guidelines to reduce the use of force. Cops aren't happy (#265, 3/18/16)

"By Hook or by Crook (Part II)": Smart enforcement could "make communities safer" even if new laws are out of reach (#264, 3/4/16)

"A Dead Man's Tales": Apple extends posthumous protections to a dead terrorist's cell phone (#263, 2/21/16)

"Working Scared": Fearful, poorly supervised cops are tragedies waiting to happen (#262, 2/16/16)

"By Hook or by Crook (Part I)": In a last-ditch effort to stem gun volence, a frustrated Prez turns to executive action (#261, 2/7/16)

"Deescalation: Cure, Buzzword or a Bit of Both?": As bad shootings dominate the headlines, cops and politicians scramble for answers (#260, 1/13/16)

"State of the Art...Not!": Forensics, six years after the NAS report (#259, 12/21/15)

"Does Race Matter? (Part II)": The Philadelphia story, and its implications for urban policing (#258, 12/14/15)

"Does Race Matter ? (Part I)": Police killings of black persons roil the nation (#257, 12/2/15)

"Sometimes There is no Second Chance": Preventing horrific terrorist attacks may require new legal rules (#256, 11/23/15)

"More Criminals (on the Street), Less Crime?": Debating the virtues of a less punitive agenda (#255, 11/10/15)

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