June 3, 2014
News From the Field
9-1-1 Text Feature Unveiled
In the information age when cell phones are natural extensions of the human body, law enforcement is adapting to keep up with the technology, which now includes having the ability to text 9-1-1 for emergency help.
Working with the Federal Communications Commission, wireless service providers recently unveiled a text-to-9-1-1 feature, allowing people to do just that in an emergency if making a phone call is an impossible option. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon — service providers for 90 percent of Americans — are participating, and the FCC has required all providers to be on board by the end of the year. However, it will take more than just their efforts to successfully launch the program nationwide.
Public safety answering points (PSAPs) are responsible for locally executing the texting service in their respective regions, and as of mid-May, only a handful of counties in 16 states—including in Illinois, New York, and Texas—can respond to emergency texts, according to the FCC.
Calling on PSAPs to promptly implement the text-to-9-1-1 service, the FCC still advocated for users calling instead of texting when it is an option, but recognized the various situations where the service would prove useful.
“In certain circumstances, such as domestic violence or kidnapping situations, or when faced with network congestion, texting 9-1-1 may be the only practical way to get help,” FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler said in a statement. “In almost all circumstances for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, texting is the primary means for reaching out for emergency assistance.”
Read the FCC Statement on Text-to-9-1-1.
View of list of U.S. counties where feature has been enabled.
Conviction Integrity Units Starting to Catch On
Going against the grain of high conviction rates and closed cases, Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins is leading the pack in investigating potential wrongful convictions and rectifying miscarriages of justice. Since Watkins established the Dallas Conviction Integrity (CI) Unit in 2006, his office has worked to exonerate 33 wrongly convicted people through various methods, from DNA testing to investigating gross prosecutorial oversight.
Watkins’ efforts and new unit have caught national attention, leading to CI units popping up in nearly a dozen district attorneys’ offices, including Detroit, Michigan; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Chicago, Illinois.
Last week, Kenneth Thompson—the district attorney in Brooklyn, New York—announced his CI unit plans to investigate 90 cases (mostly homicide) from the 1980s and 1990s, searching for any evidence of a wrongful conviction.
Criminals Posed as DEA Officers in Extortion Ring
Resulting from an international extortion scheme, 21 citizens of the Dominican Republic are facing federal charges, including extortion, wire fraud, and conspiracy to impersonate United States law enforcement officers, according to the Manhattan federal court indictment that was unsealed last week.
The defendants are accused of posing as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to run an extortion ring and attempting to scam online and over-the-phone buyers of possible illegal prescription drugs from at least 2008 through March 2013. In a phone call, victims were fraudulently told they were being investigated for purchasing illegal drugs and could avoid prosecution if they paid a fine.
Through wire transfers, the defendants, posing as DEA agents, allegedly extorted at least $880,000 of an attempted $3.5 million.
On behalf of the United States, law enforcement in the Dominican Republic spent the month of May locating and arresting 17 of the accused—who now are awaiting extradition—while the remaining four are still at-large.
The defendants are facing three different conspiracy charges, and under the maximum sentences, they, individually, are looking at up to 45 years in prison and $750,000 in fines—five years and $250,000 for impersonating a law enforcement officer and 20 years with $250,000 in fines for extortion and wire fraud.
Nationwide Police Chief Vacancies
Study Reveals High Rates of Hearing Loss in Police Officers
Given the nature of their jobs, it should come as no surprise that law enforcement personnel are more susceptible to hearing loss and have higher hearing loss rates compared to the general workforce. According to a recent EPIC Hearing Healthcare study, 52 percent of law enforcement personnel have a diagnosed hearing problem—40 percent higher than overall workers.
Despite the impact accurate hearing might have on job performance, safety, and overall health, more than 75 percent of law enforcement personnel surveyed agreed that moderate hearing loss would affect their productivity on the job, yet less than one-fifth said they had their hearing checked within the last two years.
An additional 28 percent of law enforcement surveyed suspect they have hearing loss but have yet to seek treatment. Within that subset, 61 percent of law enforcement personnel reported both often misunderstanding what information is being said and sometimes pretending to hear when they cannot—compared to 42 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of overall workers with untreated hearing loss.
Learn more about the EPIC study and hearing loss in the workplace.
Find out more about the study’s specific impact on law enforcement.
Juvenile Justice Data Study and Resources
A recent study on juvenile recidivism rates by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ public safety performance project, the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center, and the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators investigated current data collection practices, measurement, and reporting in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
With varying practices and definitions of juvenile recidivism, the study found 25 percent of juvenile corrections agencies do not regularly collect and report recidivism data. While 13 states have agencies that currently do not collect or report recidivism data, many that do are not tracking recidivism over time or not comparing information against a wide range of offenders.
Of the remaining 38 state agencies, 33 report recidivism rates regularly—annually, quarterly, or monthly—while the remaining five only report for special analysis or in response to a specific request.
But the practices in each state vary in every aspect, from what is considered recidivism to the length of follow-up with offenders. For example, Illinois and the District of Columbia monitor people only while on parole or under state commitment, whereas states like Texas and New Jersey follow up with offenders for 36 months.
For more information about juvenile recidivism data collection and reporting by state, read the complete study here.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has launched the OJJDP Online University website geared toward the juvenile justice community.
In addition to being a resource for upcoming OJJDP events and traditional training opportunities, the website also provides information about webinars, classroom trainings, and materials to advance the juvenile justice field.
Visit OJJDP Online University.
Two Qualified Immunity Decisions by U.S. Supreme Court
Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States rendered unanimous decisions on two qualified immunity cases, siding with law enforcement in both matters.
In Plumhoff v. Rickard—a lawsuit that arose out of a deadly high-speed chase in West Memphis, Arkansas, where police fired shots at the car and contributed to the driver and passenger’s causes of death—the court ruled that police were immune from suit because they did not violate any laws when using deadly force to end the chase. Despite the excessive force argument, the court agreed “the officers acted reasonably” to end the chase.
Read the case summary and court’s opinion.
In Wood v. Moss, qualified immunity became the issue at hand after anti-Bush protesters argued their First Amendment rights were violated when the Secret Service moved them farther down the street than supporters of then-President George W. Bush, while he dined on an outdoor patio in Jacksonville, Oregon. The court asserted the agents did not engage in viewpoint-based discrimination and are immune from this type of suit, citing that “safeguarding the President is also of overwhelming importance in our constitutional system.”
Read the case summary and court’s opinion.
Law Enforcement Technology Minute -- Digital Officer Safety
Latent Print Development Course – Registration Ends Tomorrow
West Virginia University will host a Latent Print Development course from June 12-13, 2014, at its Morgantown campus, aimed at patrol officers assigned with processing crime scenes but who lack formal training in various methods. The course will cover basic techniques of latent print documentation and chain of custody.
Registration ends June 4 at 7 a.m. For more information about the training or to register.
WICLEIM 2014 Opens June 10 in Amsterdam – Register Now!
The World Innovation Conference – Law Enforcement Information Management (WICLEIM2014) will begin with an opening night reception on June 10 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This inaugural conference focuses on The Future of Law Enforcement Information Management and features keynote presentations by Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol and Lord Wasserman, British Adviser on Policing and Criminal Justice.
Find additional details about the keynote speakers.
Learn more or register for conference.
2014 Law Enforcement Ride & Run to Remember
Juvenile Justice Training – June 23-24, 2014
Frequently interact with young women and girls on the job? Sign up for the Law Enforcement Responses to Adolescent Girls training course to develop specific skills and gain effective responses to situations with teenage girls as victims, suspects, or offenders. Registration ends June 11.
Learn more or register for the event.
No-Cost Leadership Course for Smaller Agencies – July 7-9, 2014
Visit the Lone Star State this summer for a leadership training event focused on legacy development for the individual, organization, and community, hosted by the Crowley Police Department.
More information about the no-cost training course from July 7-9.
Planning, Designing, and Constructing Police Facilities Seminar – September 24-26, 2014
Inside the IACP
Excellence in Police Aviation Awards – Extended Deadline
Each year, the IACP Aviation Committee presents the Excellence in Police Aviation Awards at the IACP Annual Conference to recognize an individual who holds a management or leadership position in police aviation, and to large and small aviation units that exemplify excellence in airborne law enforcement. These awards, sponsored by Bell Helicopter, emphasize initiatives to enhance the general level and safety of operations, accident prevention programs, and the efficiency and effectiveness of airborne law enforcement.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 awards, to be presented at the 121st Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference and Law Enforcement Education and Technology Exposition in Orlando, October 25–28.
Deadline extended! Mailed nominations must be postmarked by June 21, 2014; emailed nominations must be received no later than midnight (EDT) on June 21, 2014.
Learn more about nomination guidelines or how to submit nominations.
Deadline Approaching for IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award
Would you like to win a trip to the 121st Annual IACP Conference in Orlando, Florida? Has your agency implemented an innovative program that demonstrates a dedication to improving the quality of life within your community? If you answered yes to both of these questions, consider applying for the IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement. Two representatives from each of the top three winning agencies will be recognized at the IACP Conference for their efforts. The deadline to submit an application is Friday, June 20, 2014.
Police Chief June Poll on Education Requirements
Advanced Supervision Skills Training Course – November 5-7, 2014
What Job Features Do Officers Value Most?
June 17, 2014
News from the Field
Supreme Court Decision Rules Against “Straw” Firearm Buyers
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court came down with a decision that marginally tightens the strings of gun control. In the case of Abramski v. United States, the court rendered a 5-4 decision, upholding lower courts’ rulings against straw purchasers of guns. The decision asserts that gun purchasers must acknowledge when they are buying firearms for other people, even if both parties are legal gun owners—as in the situation out of which this case arose. The majority opinion cited paperwork examples, such as a disappearing paper trail in the event a straw-purchased gun was used to commit a crime, to explain its reasoning.
Read the full decision.
Social Media’s Influence on Law Enforcement
Social media generally has enhanced personal and profession communication for the average person, but how is it specifically affecting law enforcement? While news spreads like wildfire online, agencies have found social media also facilitates fast information dissemination and direct communication between law enforcement officials and citizens.
For example, in New York, Broome County officials are embracing communication and technological advancements, utilizing social media to connect with the masses. From helping to identify suspects to alerting the public of important information, the agency employs social media to communicate with potentially thousands of people, as opposed to speaking face to face with a handful.
“With the use of social media, we have an avenue to put out a photograph, a video, very quickly to a massive amount of people,” Broome County Sheriff Captain Frederick Akshar told Time Warner Cable News in Binghamton, New York. (See article.)
Recently, in San Francisco, California, the Federal Bureau of Investigation successfully enlisted social media to obtain information and track down a suspect who was considered armed and dangerous.
However, it might be best for agencies to employ social media on a case-by-case basis because of the potential drawbacks. Despite having the ability to provide law enforcement with evidence or information about a crime, interaction via social media may open the floodgates for misinformation, false accusations, and possible benefits to at-large suspects.
Read more about social media and law enforcement.
Access IACP’s free model policy on social media.
Surplus Military Supplies Land with Local Law Enforcement
As the U.S. government strives to end both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is finding itself with an abundance of gear and equipment, which now is being transferred to state and local law enforcement agencies.
Ranging from night-vision equipment to armored cars and aircrafts, police departments across the United States are being armed with surplus military supplies. Recently, The New York Times reported that on a national scale, police departments have received “tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars, and aircraft.”
With the number of police SWAT teams on the rise, police departments are finding major benefits to the military transfer program—particularly being provided with otherwise unaffordable equipment and adequately arming officers for potential conflict with equally armed criminals.
The military-transfer program was created in the early 1990s in response to an increase in violent crimes. The transferring of equipment depends on the military’s surplus and individual police department’s specific requests and needs.
Marijuana’s Effects on Driving
After doing a toxicology examination of almost 24,000 driving fatalities, a Columbia University study concluded that marijuana contributed to 12 percent of traffic deaths in 2010, which is three times more than in 1990. However, it is unclear how far in advance each driver ingested marijuana prior to driving.
Drugged driving is particularly common among young drivers, and it appears it’s becoming more popular as states are taking steps to legalize the drug medically and recreationally. Almost half of the fatalities where drivers tested positive for marijuana were younger than 25, while nearly a quarter of drivers killed in drug-related accidents were younger than 25.
According to USA Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse are nearing completion of a three-year study to determine the impact of inhaled marijuana on driving performance. It is taking place at the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator, which also has been utilized to study the effects of alcohol on driving.
How to Survive an Active Shooting Incident
Various Alberta, Canada, higher education institutions recently launched a campaign to educate students and staff about what to do in an active shooter situation. In response to school and mass shootings, the University of Alberta, Concordia University College, Mount Royal University, and the University of Lethbridge, among others, partnered with police experts to create a brief video with live-action scenarios instructing people on what to do if they encounter an active shooter attack.
Suggestions for what to do include
- Observe your surroundings and trust intuition.
- Assess the situation.
- Get out safely if you can.
Fight—A Last Resort
- Get out of the line of fire.
- Barricade your hiding place.
- Lock doors, turn off lights, and silence your cellphone.
- Commit to an aggressive, physical attack.
- Improvise weapons from your surroundings.
- Disarm and incapacitate the shooter any way you can.
Read more about the initiative and see the video.
Purchase IACP’s Active Shooter Model Policy.
Anti-Defamation League Launches Updated List of Extremist Symbols
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recently established an updated, online database of extremist and racist symbols on its “Hate on Display” page. The list showcases 175 hate symbols that can be used as identifiers of extremists, racists, and haters. It also is broken down into categories—such as hate acronyms and abbreviations, Ku Klux Klan symbols, and Neo-Nazi symbols, among many others, with each symbol described and put into context.
Check out the hate symbols database.
More information about ADL.
New Resources for Investigating Sexual Assault Against People with Disabilities
End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) recently developed a training module titled Successfully Investigating Sexual Assault Against Victims with Disabilities, and hosted a webinar focusing on how to successfully go about this type of investigation. The module and webinar, among several other resources across a range of topics, are available online at no cost, and they cover topics ranging from the beginning states of an investigation to how to tailor trial preparation.
More information about and to access the webinar.
View and learn more about the resources made available by EVAWI.
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Sex Offender Registration – Free Webinar
A no-cost webinar discussing updates on sex offender registration will be held on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, and facilitated by U.S. Department of Justice senior policy advisor Allison Turkel. The event will cover relevant case law, demonstrations of the National Sex Offender Public Website, and updates on the implementation of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act—particularly focusing on Title I, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
To register for the webinar, email BBrown@ncmec.org with your name, office email address, and the name of your agency.
Webinar on Stalking and Intimate Partner Violence – June 26, 2014
The Family Justice Center Alliance is hosting several webinars this summer on issues with which law enforcement is faced. Topics throughout the summer include stalking and intimate partner violence, reproductive coercion, and pediatric strangulation. Upcoming, the organization’s next webinar is June 26, 2014, and will last 90 minutes.
For more information about the webinars or to register, visit www.familyjusticecenter.org/index.php/training-main/training-overview/webinars.html.
No-Cost Partnerships for Safe Schools Training – June 15-16, 2014
The IACP is collaborating with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention within the U.S. Department of Justice and the Belleville Police Department to hold a no-cost training course, Partnerships for Safe Schools, on July 15 and 16, 2014, in Belleville, Michigan. The two-day event is designed to bring various members of school safety teams together to work to strengthen school safety plans. Registration ends July 1, 2014.
For more information, visit www.theiacp.org/belleville or contact Eileen LeFurgy at 800-843-4227, extension 830 or at email@example.com.
Crime Analysis Symposium for Law Enforcement Executives – July 16, 2014
Law enforcement executives are invited to a free, information-packed symposium on how crime analysis can be used to reduce crime and make their force more efficient. The Police Foundation and the International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) are presenting the symposium on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at the Microsoft Training Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Executives will be shown how to expand the use of crime analysis throughout their agencies to process data they are already collecting. The expert team of presenters—a police executive, two criminologists, and a crime analyst—will explore how agencies of all sizes can integrate approaches such as problem-oriented policing, hotspots policing, community policing, predictive policing, and intelligence-led policing.
Registration for the symposium, which has been supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, is available on the IACA website: www.iaca.net/training.asp?cid=1100. The deadline to register is July 4, 2014.
More information is available from Adam Kaufman at the Police Foundation, (202) 833-1460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Link to pdf flyer
Inside the IACP
Preventing Law Enforcement Officer Suicide
Last summer, the IACP collaborated with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) for a symposium to discuss the development of a national action plan to curb officer suicide rates. Entitled Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Suicide and Mental Health, the symposium also was geared toward increasing awareness of mental health issues within law enforcement and focused on real-world strategies to prevent, intervene, and present successful response protocols for suicides within agencies.
Download a PDF copy of the symposium report.
Body-Worn Camera Model Policy and Paper Available to IACP Members
In recognizing the increased popularity of body-worn cameras (BWCs) in law enforcement, the IACP composed the IACP Body-Worn Camera Model Policy, a collection of policy resources and guidelines for employing this new technology. The model policy was compiled with law enforcement officials; subject matter experts from IACP divisions, committees, and sections; and the IACP National Law Enforcement Policy Center, among others, and is now available at no cost to members.
The model policy and related concepts and issues paper can be downloaded at www.theiacp.org/IACPmembersonly and is listed under the “documents” tab. Members who have previously purchased the policy should contact email@example.com or call 800-THE-IACP ext. 319.
Now Accepting Nominations for the 2014 Indian Country Officer of the Year Award
The IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section now is accepting nominations for the 2014 Indian Country Officer of the Year. This award provides international recognition of a police officer who has demonstrated exceptional valor in service to the people of Indian Country, thereby exhibiting the highest traditions of law enforcement. To be eligible for the award, a nominee must be a sworn law enforcement officer employed within Indian Country who has performed an act of valor or exceptional service during the past year, regardless of rank or position. The application deadline is August 15, 2014.
Visit the Indian Country Section page for the nomination form and additional information.
Women’s Leadership Institute Offers Training in Ontario, Canada – July 19–25, 2014
In response to feedback surrounding the need for a training program tailored to women in law enforcement, the IACP developed the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI)—a new, entrepreneurial effort toward an academically rigorous training program. It will be hosted by York Regional Police in Ontario, Canada, from July 19, to July 25, 2014. It recognizes the unique challenges and opportunities women face as they rise through leadership positions in public safety organizations and is highly interactive, featuring senior women instructors and mentors from United States and Canadian law enforcement agencies.
To register, please contact the Center for Police Leadership and Training project coordinator Laura Renenger at 703-647-7274 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the WLI.