Recently in Policing Category

The Training of Federal Agents

Even though I was at one point Counselor to the Administrator of the DEA, I did not know this until just now:  The DEA, along with the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement,  the Secret Service and the U.S. Marshals, sends its agents-in-training to the Holocaust Museum to give them a close up look at what happens when legitimate law enforcement morphs into a police state.

I wonder how many of those who routinely accuse federal agents of being Nazis have ever even visited the Holocaust Museum.

FBI Agents Also Revolt

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I noted before that hundreds of career prosecutors have revolted against the Justice Department's backing of a Senate bill that would slash mandatory minimum sentences across the board, no matter how dangerous the drug or unrepentant the pusher.

Today, there is another revolt, this one by career FBI agents.  Kent noted, here and here, that the Administration, which for these purposes prominently includes Eric Holder, has nominated, to serve under Holder as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Debo Adegbile.  Adegbile won fame primarily for his defense of, and, more flagrantly, his cheerleading for, cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.  

No one doubts that Abu-Jamal was entitled to a legal defense.  That's not the problem.  The problem is that Adegbile led not just a defense but a street campaign to denounce the policeman Abu-Jamal killed, Officer Daniel Faulkner, and the police in general, as an occupying fascist army.

Today, FBI agents couldn't take it anymore.

Re-breaking the Windows

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Heather MacDonald has this story in the City Journal:

Bill de Blasio won the mayoralty of New York by running a demagogic campaign against the New York Police Department. He has now compounded the injury by dropping the city's appeal of an equally deceitful court opinion that found that the department's stop, question, and frisk practices deliberately violated the rights of blacks and Hispanics. De Blasio may thus have paved the way for a return to the days of sky-high crime rates.

Some Really Good News

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Except for people who have unhinged hatred for the police  --  which unfortunately is quite a few  --  this has to be seen as a wonderful development.

Qualified Immunity and Reasonable Force

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The US Supreme Court today took up a case on qualified immunity for police officers who are sued for using force claimed to be excessive. The case is Plumhoff v. Rickard, No. 12-1117.  The Questions Presented page from the certiorari petition of Officer Plumhoff follows the break.

It's Up to You, New York, New York

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New York had its primary election yesterday.  Policing will be front and center in the general election for mayor.  Mary Kissel interviews New York Post editorial writer Robert George on the election in this video at
Sean Gardiner has this article in the WSJ.
Heather MacDonald has this article with the above title in the WSJ.  We already know the California method for increasing crime -- ram a flaky, untested idea through the Legislature in a single day and then test it on 38 million people to see if it works.  MacDonald, though, is worried about a New York development that she anticipates might spread nationwide.  Instead of trying a new program that probably will not work, tear down an existing one that has proven effective in reducing crime.

A racial-profiling lawsuit over the New York Police Department's "stop, question and frisk" policies is now in the hands of a judge whose decision is expected within weeks. Many New Yorkers watched the two-and-a-half-month trial nervously, concerned that a ruling against the NYPD by U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin could spell an end to a police practice that helped the city achieve an astonishing drop in violent crime.

But non-New Yorkers would do well to worry about the case too. A decision against the NYPD would almost certainly inspire similar suits by social-justice organizations against police departments elsewhere. The national trend of declining crime could hang in the balance. And the primary victims of such a reversal would be the inner-city minorities whose safety seems not to figure into attempts to undermine successful police tactics.

See also prior posts of March 28, Feb. 13, Jan. 24, and another Jan. 24.

The Commish on Stop and Frisk

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Mary Kissel of the WSJ has this video interview with NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly on the stop and frisk policies of the NYPD.  These policies are part of the reason New York has seen a dramatic plunge in its murder rate and in crime generally, so naturally they are under attack in the courts.

Against the charge of racism made with statistics, Kelly notes what I call the Fallacy of the Irrelevant Denominator.  Comparing the racial statistics of stops to the general population, it would seem that the police are unfairly targeting minorities.  The reality, though, is that the racial statistics are proportional to the perpetrators of violent crime, the correct basis of comparison.

Kelly also explains that the "activists" challenging the policies do not speak for all people of their particular racial groups.  Minorities are disproportionately the victims of crime, and many support the policies.

Crime and What Works

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The parents of Hadiya Pendleton, murdered at the age of 15, were present as President Obama delivered his State of Union speech last night.  Would Hadiya's tragic murder have been prevented by any of the measures Mr. Obama proposed?  Probably not.

Would a ban on assault weapons have prevented this crime?  No, the killer probably used a revolver.  Would background checks have helped?  Probably not, despite what the expert interviewed in the preceding link says.  Extending background checks to gun shows or even to private sales by law-abiding individuals won't stop criminals from getting them through black-market sales or just stealing them.  (I am not against background checks.  I just don't think they will have a large effect on crime rates.)

So what does work?  Mostly measures that are opposed by the same people calling for these ineffective measures.  First, locking criminals up works.  Jason Meisner of the ChiTrib reports:

The reputed gang member accused of gunning down 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton last month was on the street even though he had been arrested three times in connection with break-ins and trespassing while on probation for a weapons conviction in recent months, the Tribune has learned.

In two of those arrests, including one just 2 1/2 months ago, Cook County probation officials failed to notify prosecutors or the judge that Michael Ward had been arrested on the new misdemeanor charges and allegedly violated his probation.

The head of the county's probation department acknowledged Monday that his office fell short in its responsibilities and vowed to find out what went wrong.

If they hadn't "fallen short" in locking up this criminal, Hadiya would be alive.

Another measure that works is the proactive policing of the kind New York City uses over the vehement opposition of the Politically Correct.  Holman Jenkins has this column in the WSJ:

Stop-and-Frisk in NY

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Meanwhile, back in New York, Heather MacDonald has this article in the City Journal on the ACLU's court campaign against effective policing.

Ligon v. New York challenged a decades-long program that authorizes New York police officers to patrol private buildings for trespassers and other lawbreakers. The Trespass Affidavit Program (TAP) tries to give low-income tenants in high-crime areas the same protection against intruders that wealthy residents of doorman-guarded buildings enjoy. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), however, police officers routinely abuse their power under TAP by stopping and arresting minority residents and their guests on suspicion of trespass without any legal justification.

The NYCLU didn't come close to proving its case. But the litigation's most disturbing failure was its blindness to the realities of inner-city crime.

Debbie McBride has nothing but contempt for the ongoing litigation. McBride is a street-hardened building superintendent in the heart of the South Bronx zone targeted by the NYCLU. When asked about TAP, also known as the Clean Halls program, she doesn't mince words. "I love it!" she roars. "I'm serious, I love it. Me being a woman, I feel safe. I can get up at 4 AM and start working."

Bratton in Oakland

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The city of Oakland, California has hired Bill Bratton, former police chief in LA and NY, as a consultant.  Naturally, the usual "activists" are up in arms.  Matthai Kuruvila and Justin Berton report for the SF Chron:

Famed lawman William Bratton was pilloried by hundreds of Oakland activists who fear he will bring "stop-and-frisk" tactics to the city.

But they're already here.

In fact, the practice is widely used by police across the country and hardly new: The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed its legality nearly a half century ago.

That case, BTW is Terry v. Ohio, an opinion by CJ Earl Warren.

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