IACP/ChoicePoint Award 2008 Winners
The IACP congratulates the winners of the IACP/ChoicePoint Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigations. The IACP/ChoicePoint Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigations is given to law enforcement agencies, law enforcement units, task forces, or interagency task forces in recognition of exceptional innovation and excellence in the area of criminal investigations. The 2008 winners will be honored at the annual IACP conference in San Diego, California.
Winner: Richmond County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office Gang Task Force
Using an operational tattoo shop as a business front, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Gang Task Force demonstrated a high degree of ingenuity and proficiency in the art of conducting undercover investigations aimed at reducing gun sales by local street gangs. The task force added significantly to the art and science of criminal investigations by developing innovative strategies to maintain secrecy while gathering intelligence information that led to the prosecution of numerous individuals.
First Runner Up: Pasadena, California, Police Department
Using specially trained civilian volunteers, the Community Response to Eradicate and Deter Identity Theft (CREDIT) program provides an innovative approach to the investigation and resolution of identity theft cases, resulting in both a professional and a personal response to identity crime victims.
Second Runner Up: Palm Bay, Florida, Police Department
Through the development of a local DNA index system readily available to patrol officers and detectives, the Palm Bay Police Department introduced a valuable tool to identify multiple offenders in a timely manner, resulting in the possible prevention of further crimes by the same perpetrator. (For more information on this system, see the article by Bill Berger, Joe Chimera, and John Blackledge, “LODIS, a New Investigative Tool: DNA Is Not Just Court Evidence Anymore,” in the April 2008 issue of the Police Chief.)
Finalists (in alphabetical order)
- Central Florida Airport Narcotics Task Force
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Cold Case Unit
- Houston, Texas, Police Department, Operation 2 x 4
- Joint Violent Crime Task Force, Saginaw, Michigan
- Los Angeles County Regional Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Team
- Los Angeles Police Department, Valley Traffic Division/H2O Unit
- Metro Gang Task Force, Colorado
- Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C., Violent Crimes, Homicide, and Major Narcotics Unit
- Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Department, Foothills Directed Patrol
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, Montreal, Quebec
- Southern Colorado Drug Task Force
- Tulsa, Oklahoma, Police Department, Child Crisis Unit
- Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigations
For more information, readers can contact Phil Lynn at 1-800-THE-IACP, extension 324, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Law Enforcement Challenge Award Winners
The annual judging for IACP National Law Enforcement Challenge applications took place at IACP headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 12–18, 2008.
The Law Enforcement Challenge is a competition between law enforcement agencies of similar sizes and types. It recognizes and rewards the best overall traffic safety programs in the United States. The areas of concentration include efforts to enforce laws and educate the public about occupant protection, impaired driving, and speeding. Agencies submit an application that documents their efforts and effectiveness in these areas. The winning safety programs are those that combine officer training, public information, and enforcement to reduce crashes and injuries within its jurisdiction.
A total of 24 judges, representing various traffic safety disciplines, evaluated the submissions. All applications were assigned to a team of three judges who reviewed each application in their assigned categories.
A total of 560 Challenge applications were submitted this year, an increase from 545 in 2007. There were 361 applications from municipal agencies, 18 state police/highway patrol entries, 72 sheriff’s department applications, 2 foreign entries, 13 entries from multijurisdictional agencies, 4 military police applications, 21 college law enforcement entries, and 23 entries in the championship class, which consists of first-place winners from last year.
There were 95 entries from California, 82 from Georgia, 81 from Florida, 66 from Tennessee, 52 from Virginia, 43 from Illinois, 22 from Connecticut, 15 from Vermont, and 3 from Maryland. Each of these states has its own state-level Challenge program. A total of 30 states were represented.
In addition, 11 “special category” awards were determined by the judging team.
First-place winners in each category receive roundtrip air transportation to the annual IACP conference, lodging for two nights, two complimentary registrations, and complimentary seating for four at the awards ceremony.
For a complete listing of this year’s winners, please visit the National Law Enforcement Challenge page on the IACP Web site (www.theiacp.org).
Agencies interested in applying for the National Law Enforcement Challenge should contact Clarence Bell, NLEC Program Manager, at 1-800-THE-IACP, extension 215, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Identity Crime Model Policy Available
Identity crime is the fastest-growing and most serious economic crime in the United States. Although identity crime presents unique challenges, law enforcement agencies have an ethical and professional obligation to assist identity crime victims and bring criminals to justice. To assist local agencies in meeting this challenge, the IACP is making the Model Policy as well as the Concepts and Issues Paper on identity crime available to departments at no cost.
It is important for law enforcement agencies to take the following measures to respond to identity crime: record criminal complaints; provide victims with necessary information to help restore their precrime status; provide victims with copies of reports as required by federal law; work with other federal, state, and other local law enforcement and reporting agencies as well as financial institutions to solve identity crime cases; seek opportunities to increase community awareness and prevention of identity crimes; and provide identity crime training to officers.
To obtain the Model Policy, visit the IACP Web site (www.theiacp.org), or for more resources on identity crime, visit www.idsafety.org.
For more information, readers can contact Irene Romashkan at 1-800-THE-IACP, extension 814, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Risk of Death from Conducted-Energy Devices
An expert panel of medical professionals found no decisive evidence of a high risk of death or serious injury from the direct effects of Tasers and other conducted-energy devices (CEDs).
The panel’s interim report states that the risk of death or serious injury is low when police use Tasers against healthy adults. Certain groups of people may be at a much higher risk of injury or death from Tasers, including children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people who have heart disease. Police officers should avoid the use of Tasers against these groups unless the situation excludes other choices.
The U.S. Department of Justice is aware of more than 300 cases of U.S. citizens dying after Tasers were used against them. Some were normal, healthy adults. Others had medical conditions such as heart disease, mental illness, or chemical dependencies.
The full interim report, Deaths Following Electro-Muscular Disruption, (PDF, 21 pages), is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/222981.htm or through less-lethal.org. The panel expects to release a final report in 2009.
The less-lethal technologies Web site was created by the Less Lethal Working Group (LLWG) to assist local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in developing, implementing, and enhancing policies governing the use of less-lethal (commonly referred to as nonlethal) technologies. The Web site is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services of the Department of Justice.
Technologies that the LLWG explores include pepper spray and mace spray, stun guns, and Tasers. The LLWG also promotes information on law enforcement techniques and policies pertaining to less-lethal technologies as well as education and research on the use-of-force continuum.
The site is hosted by the IACP, a participating agency in the LLWG. Other agencies in the working group include the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA); the Major City Police Chiefs Association; the National Sheriffs Association (NSA); the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF); the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP); the Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Department; the Police Foundation, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).
Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims: A 21st-Century Strategy
A new IACP publication, Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims: A 21st-Century Strategy, introduces the benefits, challenges, methods, and responsibilities for enhancing response to victims of crime. As the first of three companion volumes, this document discusses the evolution of enhanced victim response, summarizes its four key principles, identifies the seven critical needs of victims, and illustrates the potential of community partnerships in the implementation of the strategy.
Although state laws define the rights and redress of victims of crime, very often these individuals are neglected in the criminal justice system. Historically, the law enforcement profession has focused on the apprehension and prosecution of perpetrators. The strategy of enhanced response to victims, however, developed and tested with the direct participation and input of the law enforcement community, is intended to assist U.S. law enforcement agencies in embracing a philosophy that places crime victims’ interests and needs at the zenith of response to crime and community problem solving.
Every sworn and nonsworn law enforcement employee plays a key role in enhancing response to victims. This effort is not simply the creation of a separate victim unit but an integrated and inclusive effort that extends to all branches and levels of every agency. In championing enhanced victim response, the IACP designed this strategy for use by agency executives and leadership, middle management, and frontline officers serving in state, county, municipal, tribal, and college and university law enforcement agencies.
The strategy has been successfully pilot tested by three police agencies: Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Beaverton, Oregon; and Mundelein, Illinois. This publication documents the benefits these departments enjoyed as a result of implementing enhanced response to victims.
Two companion documents to this publication are being developed: the Implementation Guide and the Resource Toolkit. When published, these documents will provide detailed lessons learned and methods developed through the efforts of personnel and their partners at these sites.
The Implementation Guide will outline a step-by-step process for strategy implementation. It instructs law enforcement agencies how to identify their goals and measurements of success, gather pertinent information, develop action plans and performance monitoring approaches, and sustain their efforts in the long term.
The Resource Toolkit will provide templates to aid in implementing the steps in the Implementation Guide. In the Resource Toolkit, law enforcement agencies will find sample documents and materials developed by the three pilot sites. This publication will include such resources as revised mission statements, schedules, and process descriptions; key stakeholder interview questions; sample action plans; partnership agreements; policies and procedures relating to victim response; press releases; and Web site samples.
The IACP encourages law enforcement agencies to begin making a positive difference in victim response now. Leadership and dedication are required to take this very important step, but its clear benefits for victims of crime, community members, and law enforcement personnel demonstrate that the strategy is overwhelmingly rewarding.
For more information, readers can contact Suzanne E. Jordan at 1-800-THE-IACP, extension 803, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has published Best Practices to Address Community Gang Problems: OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model. This report provides communities responding to a present or potential youth gang problem with guidance in implementing the OJJDP’s comprehensive gang model. It describes the research informing the model, notes findings from evaluations of several programs demonstrating the model, and outlines best practices derived from practitioners with experience in planning and implementing the model in their communities.
Best Practices to Address Community Gang Problems: OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model (NCJ 222799) is available at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/222799.pdf. Print copies maybe ordered at http://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/alphaList.aspx.
For additional information about the OJJDP’s efforts to prevent and address gang problems, readers can visit http://ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/programs/antigang/. ■