WBEZ | law enforcement http://www.wbez.org/tags/law-enforcement Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Could Hospital ERs Provide Missing Data On Police Shootings? http://www.wbez.org/news/could-hospital-ers-provide-missing-data-police-shootings-114759 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/istockER.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the past two years, Joseph Richardson has been trying to figure out how to keep young black men with knife and gunshot wounds from turning up again with similar injuries at Prince George&#39;s Hospital Trauma Center outside Washington, D.C.</p><p>Richardson is director of the Violence Intervention Research Project at the trauma center. When these men are admitted, he shows up at their rooms to ask them to take part in his ongoing study on risk factors for repeat violent injuries. Sometimes he finds them handcuffed to a hospital bed, guarded by a police officer or two. Richardson has to walk away. The patients are under arrest and off-limits to him.</p><p><a href="http://aasd.umd.edu/facultyprofile/Richardson,%20Jr./Joseph">Richardson</a>&nbsp;is also a criminologist and associate professor at the University of Maryland. And recently, in the context of a national discussion about police violence, he got to thinking about the lack of access that kept him from asking these men what happened. How many of those handcuffed shooting victims had taken a bullet from a cop, he wondered?</p><p>With&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/09/08/how-many-police-shootings-a-year-no-one-knows/">scant data</a>&nbsp;on how many people are shot by police across the country every year, Richardson sees potential in hospital emergency departments. As a researcher he might not have direct access to patients under arrest, but the doctors and nurses certainly do. He&#39;s proposing that emergency departments step in and capitalize on that unique access to compile an alternative data source.</p><p><strong>Doctors And Nurses Could Ask: &#39;Who Shot You?&#39;</strong></p><p>Richardson views police violence as a public health issue and believes health care providers have a role to play in addressing it. The concept seems simple: At some point during a patient&#39;s visit, emergency department staffers ask patients who shot them, record their answers and report the information to state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p>He&#39;s not suggesting doctors and nurses investigate their patients&#39; claims, or that this self-reported data would even be completely accurate. After all, in quite a few cases it could be impossible to know who shot you.</p><p>Even so, Richardson says that some data are better than none. Hospital-reported numbers along with those recorded by police and media outlets could help define the true scope of police shootings.</p><p>In December, around the time Richardson floated his idea in the<em>&nbsp;Journal of Urban Health</em>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/fbi-to-sharply-expand-system-for-tracking-fatal-police-shootings/2015/12/08/a60fbc16-9dd4-11e5-bce4-708fe33e3288_story.html">the FBI announced plans</a>&nbsp;to expand its database on violent police encounters. For the first time, the agency will collect information on serious injuries, not just fatalities. But it will continue to lean on voluntary reports by local police departments.</p><p>Richardson is skeptical that the federal government can solve the data problem. &quot;There has to be a more pioneering, innovative approach to doing it,&quot; he says. That&#39;s what he&#39;s trying to figure out. He notes that information about people who survive police shootings is especially elusive. &quot;The only way we would know that is either the police would have to report that or the hospitals would have to,&quot; he says. &quot;Up to this point, neither entity has done it.&quot;</p><p>Richardson points to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19104090">2009 survey of academic emergency physicians</a>&nbsp;that found that almost all of them believed they&#39;d seen cases of excessive use of force by police but had largely failed to report them.</p><p>In interviews with the emergency department staff at Prince George&#39;s, he found that the overwhelming majority said the hospital has an ethical responsibility to record and report police-involved shootings. But doctors and nurses raised concerns about the logistics and consequences.</p><p>Some said it would be difficult to put into practice a standardized approach to collecting the information. Others felt patients weren&#39;t likely to open up to trauma staff &mdash; especially given the presence of police anytime a victim is under arrest. Still others worried they&#39;d be dragged into court to testify if they implicated the police.</p><p><strong>Can Hospitals Balance Care And Reporting On Shootings?</strong></p><p>Logistics aside, what looms over Richardson&#39;s proposal is a philosophical divide over the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-02/working-shift-ask-er-doctor-114674">role of the hospital and its staff.</a></p><p>As American College of Emergency Physicians board member James Augustine sees it, muddling a hospital&#39;s mission is bad for patients. &quot;The hospital is not a good place for legal and law enforcement activities to infringe on people&#39;s rights for health care,&quot; says the veteran emergency medicine doctor. &quot;In the emergency setting, this is not a priority.&quot;</p><p>But he doesn&#39;t dismiss the idea outright. The health care system plays a vital role in amassing data, he says. In fact, many trauma centers already collect reams of information and submit it to the National Trauma Data Bank. Stripped of names, it&#39;s used to track everything from auto accidents to clothing-related burns. It might be feasible to add information about violent police encounters to those data collection efforts, Augustine says.</p><p>David Livingston, chief of trauma at University Hospital in Newark, agrees that when it comes to collecting information, hospitals could help. &quot;Emergency departments are the canary in the coal mine of health in our communities,&quot; he says. &quot;They&#39;re a unique public health resource to gather data.&quot;</p><p>But there are serious limitations. Two years ago, Livingston and his colleagues analyzed more than 6,000 gunshot wounds treated at his hospital and found that his own trauma unit&#39;s database didn&#39;t account for nearly 20 percent of them. It turned out the emergency department, not trauma, had handled these relatively minor injuries and Livingston and his co-workers only discovered them when they scoured that department&#39;s billing records.</p><p>As for Richardson&#39;s proposal, Livingston says it could work in theory. &quot;Is it economically and logistically feasible?&quot; he asks. &quot;We&#39;d like to think it is, but I have my doubts.&quot; Getting detailed information would probably require dedicated staff, he says, and that&#39;s expensive. But he&#39;s quick to point out that similar data on cancer, heart disease, smoking, obesity and other conditions has been collected, with the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation footing the bill. &quot;In that respect,&quot; he says, &quot;Dr. Richardson&#39;s contention to put this on trauma centers is shirking the government&#39;s responsibility.&quot;</p><p>Still, Richardson suggests a place to start:&nbsp;<a href="http://nnhvip.org/">hospital-based violence intervention programs</a>. Only about 30 hospitals in the U.S. have these special programs aimed at curbing readmission for violent crimes, but Richardson sees them as prime candidates for pilot projects.</p><p>For University of California, San Francisco trauma surgeon Rochelle Dicker, who heads up the&nbsp;<a href="http://violenceprevention.surgery.ucsf.edu/">violence intervention program</a>&nbsp;at San Francisco General Hospital, keeping tabs on police violence seems like a natural extension of the work her team already does. &quot;Part of our responsibility as physicians is to not just to do the traditional &#39;treat and street,&#39; but to really get to the issues at hand and address violence in a more comprehensive way.&quot; In order to do that, she says, accurate information is key.</p><p>&quot;The work is provocative,&quot; she says of Richardson&#39;s proposal, and it will get people talking. &quot;I applaud the author for taking that first step and opening the door.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/02/04/465568899/could-hospital-ers-provide-missing-data-on-police-shootings?ft=nprml&amp;f=465568899" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/could-hospital-ers-provide-missing-data-police-shootings-114759 New 2016 Laws in Illinois Include Directives for Police http://www.wbez.org/news/new-2016-laws-illinois-include-directives-police-114315 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/police_body_cameras_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; Illinois police and sheriffs&#39; departments will have guidelines for using body cameras when new laws take effect in 2016.</p><p>Body cameras won&#39;t be mandated, but officers in departments that use them must keep them on when they&#39;re responding to calls or interacting with the public.</p><p>Law enforcement also will be prohibited from using chokeholds unless it&#39;s for self-defense.</p><p>The directives are among 237 new laws taking effect Friday, Jan. 1.</p><p>Here&#39;s a glimpse at some of them:</p><div><blockquote><ul><li>JUVENILE SENTENCING: Minors will no longer face mandatory life sentences without parole. Lifelong prison sentences can still happen for serious crimes, but judges will be allowed more discretion.</li><li>POWDERED ALCOHOL: Illinois is among 27 states to ban powdered alcohol before it&#39;s sold in stores. The makers of the product, called Palcohol, have gotten federal approval to sell it, but say on their website they&#39;re not looking for distributors in the U.S.</li><li>BOBCAT HUNTING: Hunting bobcats will be legal from Nov. 1 through Feb. 15. The aim of the new law is to control the animal&#39;s population.</li><li>911 PRANK CALLS: Intentionally calling 911 without a legitimate reason will come with a hefty price &mdash; up to $10,000 to reimburse local governments to recover associated costs.</li><li>CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS: Schools will be required to have them. Lawmakers took action after more than 180 students and staff at a rural Illinois school were taken to a hospital after a carbon monoxide leak in 2014.</li><li>PUMPKIN PIE: It will be the official state pie, because 90 percent of the pumpkins in the country are produced in Illinois.</li></ul></blockquote></div><div id="summary"><p>There will also be a requirement that people convicted of two DUI offenses have a breathalyzer in their car for five years instead of one year.</p></div><p>Mental health professionals also will be forbidden from practicing gay-conversion therapy on minors. And terminally ill patients will be allowed to try experimental drugs that haven&#39;t yet made it to market.</p></p> Wed, 30 Dec 2015 09:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-2016-laws-illinois-include-directives-police-114315 Answering The Tough Question Of Who Polices The Police http://www.wbez.org/news/answering-tough-question-who-polices-police-114030 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/chicago-protestor_custom-5a1518938369d0bf6d1be5b17c45cb109464733e-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res458216828" previewtitle="Demonstrators call for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez during a protest on Nov. 24 following the release of a video showing Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing teenager Laquan McDonald."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Demonstrators call for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez during a protest on Nov. 24 following the release of a video showing Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing teenager Laquan McDonald." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/02/chicago-protestor_custom-5a1518938369d0bf6d1be5b17c45cb109464733e-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Demonstrators call for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez during a protest on Nov. 24 following the release of a video showing Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing teenager Laquan McDonald. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/02/458175104/When%20Chicago%20Mayor%20Rahm%20Emanuel%20fired%20his%20police%20superintendent%20Tuesday,%20he%20acknowledged%20the%20problem%20that's%20been%20dogging%20law%20enforcement%20since%20the%20days%20of%20the%20first%20beat%20cops:%20How%20do%20we%20ensure%20that%20we%20are%20effectively%20policing%20the%20police?%20Of%20course,%20departments%20have%20internal%20affairs%20investigators,%20and%20some%20police%20also%20answer%20to%20civilian%20oversight%20boards.%20But%20since%20Ferguson,%20there%27s%20been%20a%20growing%20sense%20that%20the%20real%20conflict%20of%20interest%20is%20higher%20up%20%E2%80%94%20at%20the%20level%20of%20the%20local%20prosecutors.%20For%20prosecutors%20and%20grand%20juries,%20the%20decision%20to%20charge%20a%20cop%20is%20different%20from%20deciding%20whether%20to%20charge%20a%20civilian.%20There%20are%20good%20legal%20reasons%20for%20this%20%E2%80%94%20after%20all,%20cops%20are%20allowed%20to%20shoot%20people,%20if%20circumstances%20warrant.%20But%20there%20are%20also%20subtler,%20differences,%20says%20Jonathan%20Witmer-Rich,%20an%20associate%20professor%20at%20Cleveland%20State%20University%27s%20law%20school.%20%22Prosecutors%20do%20not%20seem%20to%20approach%20police%20shooting%20cases%20the%20way%20that%20they%20approach%20ordinary%20shooting%20cases,%22%20he%20says.%20Witmer-Rich%20has%20been%20watching%20the%20controversial%20handling%20of%20the%20case%20of%20an%20officer%20who%20shot%20and%20killed%2012-year-old%20Tamir%20Rice%20last%20year.%20He%20says%20prosecutors%20in%20cases%20like%20this%20one%20are%20in%20a%20tough%20spot.%20%22It%27s%20very%20delicate%20for%20them%20politically,%22%20he%20says.%20%22They%20have%20to%20work%20with%20the%20police,%20day%20in,%20day%20out.%20They%27re%20facing%20pressures%20about%20alienating%20people%20they%20work%20with%20regularly.%20And%20that%20makes%20it%20very%20hard%20for%20them%20politically.%22%20One%20idea%20for%20solving%20this%20is%20to%20bring%20in%20outsiders.%20This%20idea%20gained%20traction%20after%20the%20death%20of%20Eric%20Garner%20in%20New%20York%20last%20year,%20for%20which%20no%20officer%20was%20charged.%20This%20summer%20Governor%20Andrew%20Cuomo%20ordered%20the%20creation%20of%20a%20new%20unit%20of%20special%20prosecutors%20inside%20the%20Attorney%20General%27s%20office.%20%20When%20in%20doubt,%20says%20Alvin%20Bragg,%20who%20heads%20the%20unit,%20district%20attorneys%20are%20supposed%20to%20call%20in%20his%20crew%20to%20the%20scene%20of%20police%20shootings.%20Bragg%20cites%20an%20example%20in%20Suffolk%20County,%20Long%20Island.%20%20%22The%20initial%20report%20was%20that%20the%20person%20was%20unarmed,%22%20Bragg%20says.%20%22And%20then%20we%20got%20there%20and%20learned%20there%20was%20a%20knife,%20and%20then%20reviewed%20some%20video%20showing%20that%20the%20person%20who%20ultimately%20died%20was%20armed%20with%20a%20knife%20in%20the%20video.%20So%20therefore%20the%20case%20fell%20outside%20of%20our%20jurisdiction.%22%20Since%20the%20special%20prosecutors%20step%20in%20only%20when%20the%20dead%20person%20was%20unarmed,%20they%20don%27t%20step%20in%20much%20%E2%80%94%20they%27ve%20taken%20just%20one%20case,%20so%20far.%20Still,%20cops%20don%27t%20like%20this%20system.%20%20%20%22What%20my%20concern%20is,%20for%20those%20officers%20who%20shouldn%27t%20be%20indicted,%20then%20they%27ll%20be%20political%20pawns,%20and%20they%20will%20be%20indicted,%22%20says%20Michael%20Palladino,%20head%20of%20the%20NYPD%20detectives%27%20union.%20%20He%20says%20bringing%20in%20a%20special%20prosecutor%20also%20creates%20political%20pressures.%20%20%22There%20is%20definitely%20going%20to%20be%20an%20expectation%20...%20that%20an%20indictment%20is%20going%20to%20be%20returned,%20he%20says.%20%20The%20answer%20may%20lie%20with%20consistency:%20Bring%20in%20outsiders%20every%20time%20the%20police%20kill%20or%20seriously%20injure%20someone.%20That%27s%20what%27s%20done%20in%20many%20Canadian%20provinces.%20%20%22We%20receive%20notice%20immediately%20and%20we%27re%20the%20ones%20that%20roll%20out%20and%20take%20over%20the%20scene,%22%20says%20Richard%20Rosenthal,%20head%20of%20a%20three-year-old%20entity%20called%20the%20Independent%20Investigations%20Office%20of%20British%20Columbia.%20%22The%20police%20protect%20the%20outside%20of%20the%20scene.%20But%20we%27re%20in%20charge%20of%20the%20inside%20of%20the%20scene.%22%20%20%22So%20we%20are%20the%20actual%20criminal%20investigators,%20but%20we%27re%20not%20police,%22%20he%20says.%20%20That%20philosophy%20runs%20so%20deep,%20the%20agency%20won%27t%20hire%20recently%20retired%20British%20Columbia%20police%20as%20investigators.%20Contrast%20that%20to%20the%20U.S.,%20where%20police%20shootings%20are%20usually%20investigated%20by%20another%20law%20enforcement%20agency.%20Rosenthal%20saw%20this%20up%20close%20%E2%80%94%20he%27s%20an%20American,%20a%20former%20prosecutor%20from%20Los%20Angeles%20%E2%80%94%20and%20he%20says%20cops%20have%20a%20hard%20time%20investigating%20other%20cops.%20%22It%27s%20very,%20very%20difficult,%20for%20you%20to%20tell%20somebody%20to%20investigate%20their%20peers,%22%20he%20says.%20%22And%20the%20%27there%20but%20for%20the%20grace%20of%20God%20go%20I%27%20philosophy%20permeates%20through%20police%20investigations.%22%20%20It%27s%20true%20that%20regular%20prosecutors%20make%20the%20final%20call%20on%20charges.%20But%20there%20is%20less%20political%20pressure,%20because%20the%20investigations%20and%20reports%20always%20come%20from%20an%20independent%20entity.%20And,%20Rosenthal%20says,%20that%27s%20something%20even%20the%20police%20in%20British%20Columbia%20have%20come%20to%20appreciate.">fired his police superintendent Tuesday</a>, he acknowledged the problem that&#39;s been dogging law enforcement since the days of the first beat cops: How do we ensure that we are effectively policing the police?</p></div></div></div><p>Of course, departments have internal affairs investigators, and some police also answer to civilian oversight boards.</p><p>But since Ferguson, there&#39;s been a growing sense that the real conflict of interest is higher up &mdash; at the level of the local prosecutors.</p><p>For prosecutors and grand juries, the decision to charge a cop is different from deciding whether to charge a civilian. There are good legal reasons for this &mdash; after all, cops are allowed to shoot people, if circumstances warrant. But there are also subtler, differences, says Jonathan Witmer-Rich, an associate professor at Cleveland State University&#39;s law school.</p><p>&quot;Prosecutors do not seem to approach police shooting cases the way that they approach ordinary shooting cases,&quot; he says.</p><p>Witmer-Rich has been watching the controversial handling of the case of an officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year. He says prosecutors in cases like this one are in a tough spot.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s very delicate for them politically,&quot; he says. &quot;They have to work with the police, day in, day out. They&#39;re facing pressures about alienating people they work with regularly. And that makes it very hard for them politically.&quot;</p><p><strong>Enter The Special Prosecutor</strong></p><p>One idea for solving this is to bring in outsiders. This idea gained traction after the death of Eric Garner in New York City last year, for which no officer was charged. This summer Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the creation of a new unit of special prosecutors inside the attorney general&#39;s office.</p><p>When in doubt, says Alvin Bragg, who heads the unit, district attorneys are supposed to call his crew to the scene of police shootings.</p><p>Bragg cites an example in Suffolk County, Long Island.</p><p>&quot;The initial report was that the person was unarmed,&quot; Bragg says. &quot;And then we got there and learned there was a knife, and then reviewed some video showing that the person who ultimately died was armed with a knife in the video. So, therefore the case fell outside of our jurisdiction.&quot;</p><p>Since the special prosecutors step in only when the dead person was unarmed, they don&#39;t step in much &mdash; they&#39;ve taken just one case, so far. Still, cops don&#39;t like this system.</p><p>&quot;What my concern is, for those officers who shouldn&#39;t be indicted, then they&#39;ll be political pawns, and they will be indicted,&quot; says Michael Palladino, head of the NYPD detectives&#39; union.</p><p>He says bringing in a special prosecutor also creates political pressures.</p><p>&quot;There is definitely going to be an expectation ... that an indictment is going to be returned,&quot; he says.</p><p><strong>Difficulty In Investigating Peers</strong></p><p>The answer may lie with consistency: Bring in outsiders every time the police kill or seriously injure someone. That&#39;s what&#39;s done in many Canadian provinces.</p><p>&quot;We receive notice immediately and we&#39;re the ones that roll out and take over the scene,&quot; says Richard Rosenthal, head of a three-year-old entity called the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia. &quot;The police protect the outside of the scene. But we&#39;re in charge of the inside of the scene.&quot;</p><p>&quot;So we are the actual criminal investigators, but we&#39;re not police,&quot; he says.</p><p>That philosophy runs so deep, the agency won&#39;t hire recently retired British Columbia police as investigators.</p><p>Contrast that to the U.S., where police shootings are usually investigated by another law enforcement agency. Rosenthal saw this up close &mdash; he&#39;s an American, a former prosecutor from Los Angeles &mdash; and he says cops have a hard time investigating other cops.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s very, very difficult, for you to tell somebody to investigate their peers,&quot; he says. &quot;And the &#39;there but for the grace of God go I&#39; philosophy permeates through police investigations.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s true that regular prosecutors make the final call on charges. But there is less political pressure, because the investigations and reports always come from an independent entity. And, Rosenthal says, that&#39;s something even the police in British Columbia have come to appreciate.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/02/458175104/answering-the-tough-question-of-who-polices-the-police" target="_blank"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 02 Dec 2015 16:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/answering-tough-question-who-polices-police-114030 Police may be 'reluctant to engage' in viral video age, DEA chief says http://www.wbez.org/news/police-may-be-reluctant-engage-viral-video-age-dea-chief-says-113641 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_05101901396-1-_wide-aba1b8b04eb11c5a89a39503b2fb0bab98e43883-s1200.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration said the police may be &quot;reluctant to engage&quot; for fear &quot;rightly, or wrongly, that you become the next viral video,&quot; adding a new voice to the debate over public scrutiny of law enforcement.</p><p>Chuck Rosenberg told reporters at a pen and pad session in Washington Wednesday that &quot;I think there&#39;s something to&quot; the concept known as the Ferguson effect, which maintains that police have stopped engaging with the public in the same way as scrutiny of their interactions with minorities increased over the past year.</p><p>Rosenberg said the issue deserved more study and better data. And he offered praise for FBI Director James Comey, who first raised the idea in a pair of speeches in Chicago in recent weeks. The White House has pushed back on that idea.</p><p>&quot;I think Comey was spot on,&quot; Rosenberg said. &quot;It&#39;s hard to try to measure. It&#39;s a hard thing to grasp ... We&#39;re not entirely sure what&#39;s going on and we ought to try and figure it out.&quot;</p><p>Rosenberg spoke as the DEA unveiled a new 2015 Drug Threat Assessment. Cocaine use has declined, but abuse of methamphetamine, heroin and opiod substances still pose a big problem across the country, the assessment said. Overdose deaths are now the nation&#39;s leading cause of death by injury, tallying more than 46,000 annual fatalities and surpassing car accidents and firearms incidents, the DEA said.</p><p>The DEA leader said he attributed a spike in violence in some big cities this year to &quot;roiling and violent&quot; heroin markets, the widespread availability of firearms and finally, more &quot;trepidation&quot; among police officers.</p><p>As a longtime federal prosecutor, Rosenberg said he understood and even approved of efforts by the Obama administration and Congress to reduce the disparity in punishment among criminals who traffic in powder cocaine and those who deal with it in rock form. Those punishments have had a disproportionate impact on African Americans and Hispanics in the justice system. But Rosenberg said he&#39;d prefer to step back and see how those changes are working before further relaxing mandatory minimum sentences first imposed during the War on Drugs.</p><p>Rosenberg said the recent early release of about 4,300 convicted drug offenders was &quot;not going to keep me up at night&quot; but that he&#39;s worried about whether there are enough resources to support those people when they leave institutions.</p><p>&quot;Do cities around America really have the resources to take more mentally ill folks, more jobless folks? I don&#39;t know. That&#39;s what worries me,&quot; he said.</p><p>Turning to the fight against drug abuse, Rosenberg said he&#39;d pursue a mixture of traditional enforcement, demand reduction and community outreach, and more diversion efforts and partnerships with doctors and pharmacies.</p><p>&quot;The notion that we&#39;re going to prosecute our way out of this or jail our way out or enforce our way out of this is a joke,&quot; he said.</p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/04/454642463/police-may-be-reluctant-to-engage-in-viral-video-age-dea-chief-says" target="_blank"> via NPR</a></em></p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 14:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/police-may-be-reluctant-engage-viral-video-age-dea-chief-says-113641 Stealth mode? Built-in monitor? Not all body cameras are created equal http://www.wbez.org/news/stealth-mode-built-monitor-not-all-body-cameras-are-created-equal-113615 <p><div id="res453211563" previewtitle="Police body cameras are seen on a mannequin at an exhibit booth by manufacturer Wolfcom at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago, on Oct. 26."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Police body cameras are seen on a mannequin at an exhibit booth by manufacturer Wolfcom at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago, on Oct. 26." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/30/body-camera-police_wide-65ecdc6f5498a6862a85b65c38799f4a12b76bd0-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Police body cameras are seen on a mannequin at an exhibit booth by manufacturer Wolfcom at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago, on Oct. 26. (Jim Young/Reuters/Landov)" /></div><div><p>Amid the recent pressure on police to wear body cameras, one thing is often overlooked: Not all cameras are created equal. In fact, cameras vary a lot &mdash; and the variations &mdash; some contentious &mdash; can have a profound effect on how the cameras are used and who benefits from them.</p></div></div><p>Take the buffer function. Most cameras buffer &mdash; they save video of what happens just before an officer presses record.</p><p>Taser is a leading company in the body camera business. Its buffer function doesn&#39;t include sound.</p><p>Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for the company, says that&#39;s to avoid recording what an officer was saying right before an incident.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s video-only at that point. We want to protect the officers&#39; privacy, because those private conversations could take the context out of what they were saying, especially a joke,&quot; Tuttle said recently during an expo in Chicago at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.</p><p>Police unions like this feature. But reformers say this means Taser cameras will miss sounds, such as a telling comment inside the squad car, that could explain why an officer decided to pull someone over.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_817188906028.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 310px; width: 550px;" title="In this photo taken Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, Steve Tuttle, vice president of communications for Taser International, demonstrates one of the company's body cameras that can be attached to glasses , for the Associated Press during a company-sponsored conference hosted by Taser at the California Highway Patrol Headquarters in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)" /></p><p><strong>Who Do The Cameras Serve?</strong></p><p>Other cameras have features that are just as contentious. A company called Safety Vision makes a camera with a monitor on it.</p><p>&quot;This makes it very easy for the officer to go back, in the field, after he made a recording, and actually review, recollect everything that just happened, and that way his report&#39;s going to be accurate,&quot; said Mike Tennon, who was working at the company&#39;s booth at the expo in Chicago.</p><div id="con453220578" previewtitle="Related NPR Stories"><div id="res453227582"><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div></div><p>It may seem like a convenient feature, but it&#39;s actually part of a heated debate over whether officers should be able to view their videos before writing their incident reports. In&nbsp;<a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/08/8573390/bratton-says-cops-should-see-body-camera-footage">New York City</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-future/should-officers-be-permitted-view-body-camera-footage-writing-their-reports">California</a>, reformers say officers should not be allowed to view their videos before writing reports, because they might tailor their reports to what the camera caught &mdash; and didn&#39;t catch.</p><p>And here&#39;s another basic question: Should a camera show that it&#39;s on? Should there always be a blinking red light? On the Safety Vision camera, it&#39;s an option: &quot;We can go to a complete stealth mode where there are no lights on at all,&quot; Tennon said.</p><p>Other companies take the opposite tack. Instead of &quot;stealth mode,&quot; their cameras&#39; screens are turned outward so civilians can&#39;t miss the fact that they&#39;re on camera. Those companies say this enhances a camera&#39;s deterrent effect, sort of like people seeing themselves on security monitors as they walk into a store.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_715219651196.jpg" style="height: 269px; width: 350px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Whitestown Police Department officer Reggie Thomas makes a traffic stop, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 in Whitestown, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)" /><strong>Important For Ordinary Officers To See Value</strong></p><p>Travis Reddy is CEO of an Australian company called Strategic Systems Alliance. He says decisions about privacy are localized in the U.S., coming down to state laws and police department policies &mdash; which is why his company has made its cameras more programmable.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re here to enable the policies that need to be implemented, so give them the flexibility to go either way,&quot; Reddy said. &quot;(That&#39;s the) great thing about software.&quot;</p><p>His company&#39;s cameras are essentially computers, running on the Android operating system. The thing about programmable cameras, though, is that they may end up doing a lot more than anyone expected. For instance, the Strategic Systems Alliance cameras can read license plates and faces.</p><p>&quot;As I wear this and walk around, it&#39;s checking all the faces I walk past and all the vehicles I walk past and notifying me if any of those people are on my watch list,&quot; Reddy said, walking around the expo floor.</p><p>Reformers pushing for body cameras may not have anticipated full-time facial recognition. The way Reddy sees it, though, it&#39;s features like this that will get cops to want the cameras.</p><p>&quot;We see it as important for the rank and file officer to see the value in it, other than just repeatedly being used against them in the court,&quot; Reddy said. &quot;The technology has the ability to actually assist them to do their job and not just be a passive observer of what&#39;s occurred,&quot; Reddy said.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_600133213198.jpg" style="height: 256px; width: 350px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Whitestown Police Department officer Reggie Thomas holds a body camera that he wears while on his shift, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 in Whitestown, Ind. An urban versus rural divide emerged during an Indiana legislative committee discussion of possible restrictions on the use of body cameras by police agencies. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)" /></p><p><strong>Making A Choice On Price &mdash; And Priorities</strong></p><p>Police departments shopping for body cameras right now face a bewildering range of choices, with at least a couple dozen brands and configurations to choose from.</p><p>Purchase decisions are often based on brand or cost, as well as what kind of data management services the company offers. Outfitting a whole police force with cameras will quickly generate terabytes of video, and the storage and management of all that data can represent two-thirds of the cost of a camera program. Departments are looking for systems that reduce that cost and simplify the &quot;back end&quot; of a camera system.</p><p>What the departments may not realize, however, is that, depending on the features that come with their new cameras, their choice of system is also a decision about how the cameras will be used, and for what purpose.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/10/30/453210272/stealth-mode-built-in-monitor-not-all-body-cameras-are-created-equal?ft=nprml&amp;f=453210272" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 12:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/stealth-mode-built-monitor-not-all-body-cameras-are-created-equal-113615 FBI director doubles down on linking scrutiny of police with rise in crime http://www.wbez.org/news/fbi-director-doubles-down-linking-scrutiny-police-rise-crime-113512 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_326075701558-c481a65db9ef2424291e4bb6b39bb8295bcaab29-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res452024913" previewtitle="FBI Director James Comey says police restraint, born from increased scrutiny in the wake of high-profile police killings and evidence of racial bias, may be contributing to an uptick in violent crimes in some cities."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="FBI Director James Comey says police restraint, born from increased scrutiny in the wake of high-profile police killings and evidence of racial bias, may be contributing to an uptick in violent crimes in some cities." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/26/ap_326075701558-c481a65db9ef2424291e4bb6b39bb8295bcaab29-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="FBI Director James Comey says police restraint, born from increased scrutiny in the wake of high-profile police killings and evidence of racial bias, may be contributing to an uptick in violent crimes in some cities. (Andrew Harnik/AP)" /></div><div><p>On Monday, FBI director James Comey reiterated that the rise of violent crime in certain cities may be a result of less aggressive policing due to increased scrutiny of officers in the wake of recent high-profile police killings of black men.</p></div></div><p>Repeating remarks he made last week,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/26/politics/fbi-comey-crime-police/">Comey said</a>&nbsp;at the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago that police and communities of color are &quot;arcing apart&quot; with every incident that involves police misconduct or an attack on law enforcement.</p><p>He said this growing separation can be seen in many different ways, one of which is through the lens of social media.</p><p>&quot;I actually see an example and demonstration of that arcing through hashtags: the hashtag Black Lives Matter and the hashtag Police Lives Matter,&quot; he said. &quot;Of course, each of those hashtags and what they represent adds a voice to an important conversation, but each time someone interprets hashtag Black Lives Matter as anti-law enforcement, one line moves away and each time someone interprets hashtag Police Lives Matter as anti-black, the other line moves away.&quot;</p><p>Comey continued:</p><p>&quot;And just as those lines are arcing away, and maybe, just maybe, because those lines are arcing away from each other, we have a crisis of violent crime in some of our major cities in this country, and in those cities in some of our most vulnerable neighborhoods.&quot;</p><p>The speech echoed remarks he made during a speech at the University of Chicago Law School on Friday. There, he questioned whether people with cell phone cameras were causing police to avoid daily interactions.</p><p>&quot;In today&#39;s YouTube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime? Are officers answering 911 calls but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys from standing around, especially with guns?&quot;</p><p>Comey answered his own question, saying he &quot;didn&#39;t know&quot; whether police hesitance explains the uptick in violent crime in some cities, but said that he has &quot;a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year.&quot;</p><p>Comey isn&#39;t the first person to mention this idea, sometimes called the &quot;Ferguson effect,&quot; as NPR&#39;s Martin Kaste reported for Morning Edition.</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;This idea &mdash; that the cops are holding back &mdash; has been floating around law enforcement circles since Ferguson. Earlier this month, the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, said he worries about officers becoming reluctant to take action.</em></p><p><em>&quot;This subject is especially urgent in Chicago because gun violence has jumped here, lately. September was the city&#39;s deadliest month since 2002. At the same time, Chicago police are under pressure to dial back how often they stop and frisk people &mdash; the ACLU threatened a lawsuit over racial disparities, and the department agreed to keep closer track on who&#39;s being stopped, and why. Some officers say that kind of scrutiny makes them less likely to follow their instincts.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>But some people on Chicago&#39;s South Side, however, say they haven&#39;t noticed a lag in police activity.</p><p>In fact, Mekazin Alexander told Martin that racial profiling remains problematic.</p><p>&quot;More people who have dreadlocks are targeted and pulled over,&quot; she said. &quot;So if your hair is a certain way and you&#39;re black, you&#39;re a black male, you&#39;re pulled over, you&#39;re targeted.&quot;</p><p>Duer Jones, who also lives in Chicago, says the same thing.</p><p>&quot;Just at random, if there&#39;s three or more of us walking, we&#39;re going to get stopped and frisked for no reason.&quot;</p><p>Comey&#39;s hypothesis about linking police scrutiny and conseqent wariness to hikes in violent crime is a controversial idea.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/24/us/politics/fbi-chief-links-scrutiny-of-police-with-rise-in-violent-crime.html?_r=0">New York Times reported</a>&nbsp;that Comey&#39;s Friday speech ruffled feathers within the Justice Department.</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;Mr. Comey&#39;s remarks caught officials by surprise at the Justice Department, where his views are not shared at the top levels. Holding the police accountable for civil rights violations has been a top priority at the department in recent years, and some senior officials do not believe that scrutiny of police officers has led to an increase in crime. While the department had no immediate comment on Friday, several officials privately fumed at Mr. Comey&#39;s suggestion.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>Similarly, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest steered well clear of Comey&#39;s hypothesis at Monday&#39;s daily press briefing, saying, &quot;The evidence we&#39;ve seen so far doesn&#39;t support the contention that law enforcement officials are somehow shirking their responsibility, and in fact you&#39;ve seen law enforcement leaders across the country indicating that&#39;s not what&#39;s taking place.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/26/451992173/fbi-director-doubles-down-on-linking-scrutiny-of-police-with-rise-in-violent-cri" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/fbi-director-doubles-down-linking-scrutiny-police-rise-crime-113512 Graphic videos: How much is too much? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-31/graphic-videos-how-much-too-much-112531 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/samuel dubose.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Have you seen the video of the fatal shooting of Cincinnati resident Samuel DuBose by now former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing? It&rsquo;s been all over the news, but maybe it&rsquo;s too graphic for you? Or do you think it&rsquo;s necessary to see this to really understand what&rsquo;s been happening with some police officers and African Americans? The video released Wednesday was taken by Tensing&rsquo;s police body cam.</p><p>If you haven&#39;t seen it, here&rsquo;s how it breaks down: Tensing pulls over DuBose for what he says is not having a license plate. Then he asks the driver for his license. When DuBose doesn&rsquo;t produce the license, things start to escalate. After this, things take a fatal turn. The officer tells the driver to take off his seat belt, but DuBose starts to drive away. Seconds later, Tensing shoots one shot to DuBose&rsquo;s head and kills him.</p><p>Tensing&rsquo;s version of the incident detailed a struggle with Dubose and the officer being dragged by the car resulting in him having to shoot the unarmed man. The unedited video shows the opposite. The last words from Dubose are: &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t even do nothing.&rdquo;</p><p>Now some people are questioning why news outlets needed to show the full footage instead of stopping it before the fatal shot, arguing it&rsquo;s too graphic for news consumers. But others say it&#39;s necessary to show the unfair treatment of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement. Our listeners called in to share their thoughts.</p></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-31/graphic-videos-how-much-too-much-112531 Three decades as a Chicago policewoman http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/three-decades-chicago-policewoman-111781 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150327 PatHayes bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>When <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2001-02-16/news/0102160213_1_policewoman-policewomen-chicago-police-force">Pat Hays started with the Chicago Police in the 1960s</a>, her uniform was a skirt with a box jacket and &ldquo;a ridiculous hat shaped like a sugar scoop. And it didn&rsquo;t matter how many bobby pins you used, that damned hat would lift up in the wind and go trailing down the street. So if you got a choice of losing your hat or losing your prisoner, the hats were $40 apiece and there weren&rsquo;t that many available. It was a one-of-a-kind deal. You couldn&rsquo;t even find a hat to replace the hat that belonged to you. So of course we held on to the hat. You could always get the prisoner later.&rdquo;</p><p>StoryCorps producer Maya Millett interviewed Hays at home and they talked about Hays&rsquo; three decades on the force. When she started, the belief that you were a policewoman because you serviced all of the bosses was common, Hays said.</p><p>Once, Hays was part of a new unit, and the man she was working with asked how she got the job. She didn&rsquo;t say anything and after about ten minutes he kept at it. He accused her of sleeping with one of the bosses. She kept quiet.</p><p>He kept pestering her and finally asked, &ldquo;Which one are you sleeping with?&rdquo;</p><p>Hays says he looked him right in the eye and said, &ldquo;<em>All</em> of them.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And I won the pissing contest,&rdquo; Hays said. &ldquo;A lot of times it was just brains over brawn.&rdquo;</p><p>The job took a toll on Hays&rsquo; marriage. She says she wouldn&rsquo;t want her daughters to follow in her footsteps. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t want them to put up with the things I did,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t want them to see the things that I saw.&rdquo;</p><p>In spite of the negatives, Hays said, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of a calling. Nobody&rsquo;s gonna tell you you did a good job. Your sergeant&rsquo;s not going to tell you how great you are&hellip;but you have to be able to go home knowing that you did some good, you helped somebody along the way, or the person that you talked to today is in a better situation than when you dealt with her.&rdquo;</p><p>Hays says when she finally retired, it wasn&rsquo;t because she was tired of the job or that she was tired of talking to people.</p><p>&ldquo;It was because I couldn&rsquo;t stand all of the nonsense that the bosses were going through,&ldquo; she said, &ldquo;I still like solving people&rsquo;s problems. I would have done it forever. It was the paramilitary mindset that I had the most trouble with.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/three-decades-chicago-policewoman-111781 As police get body cameras, what happens to all that video? http://www.wbez.org/news/police-get-body-cameras-what-happens-all-video-111328 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1204_body-camera-624x415.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>One of the ideas catching hold after the non-indictments of police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown is equipping police with body cameras. Advocates of the idea say they increase transparency, and improve trust between communities and the police.</p><p>The Los Angeles Police Department recently bought 860 body cameras, and over the course of this year, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti says he wants all of the department&rsquo;s roughly 7,000 front line officers wearing cameras.</p><p>The L.A.P.D bought its cameras from <a href="http://www.taser.com/" target="_blank">TASER</a>, one of the leading companies in the law enforcement body camera industry.&nbsp;Along with the cameras, TASER also sells subscriptions to a site called <a href="http://www.evidence.com/" target="_blank">evidence.com</a> that police departments can use to store and manage all the video officers record while out on a shift.</p><p><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org">Here &amp; Now&rsquo;</a>s Lisa Mullins spoke with Steve Tuttle,&nbsp;one of the founding members of TASER, and the company&rsquo;s vice president of strategic communications&nbsp;about who the cameras benefit, how the video is stored and managed, and concerns over privacy.</p><p>&ldquo;The privacy concerns are certainly there and that&rsquo;s up to the individual agencies and state laws that deal with that,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So we want to give them the features that can make this shareable in the manner that&rsquo;s necessary for the public, but at the same time manage those expectations for privacy.&rdquo;</p><p>Ultimately, Tuttle says the equipment is beneficial to both police and the public.</p><p>&ldquo;If we were to empower the police with what we call the legal body armor of these on-officer cameras, I think we would give more accountability to the public and provide a lot more transparency of a use-of-force situation in which there&rsquo;s a he-said-she-said,&rdquo; Tuttle said.</p><p><strong>On&nbsp;how&nbsp;TASER&rsquo;s&nbsp;cameras work</strong></p><p>&ldquo;The camera that you put on your body, once you go on patrol is always recording in a video mode. Now what that does is it saves all the most recent video of the previous 30 seconds &hellip;&nbsp;And once it&rsquo;s doing that, what the officer is then waiting for is an event to occur.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;ve got a radio callout, you&rsquo;re going to double-click that button and it will grab the previous 30 seconds of video only and then it begins to add the audio portion. And that officer then goes on to the scene of the crime, maybe interviews a suspect, maybe arrests somebody. Keeps that camera rolling until that person is in jail. And then they press and hold that button for five seconds. You now have an event of that recording. If it were played back, you would hear 30 seconds of silence prior to when that officer pressed that button and you would then capture all that audio visual currents that occurred from pressing the button forward.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On&nbsp;statistical evidence for body-camera effectiveness</strong></p><p>&ldquo;The evidence shows that it actually keeps the officer safer and the suspect safer. There was a watershed moment for us; it was called the Cambridge University Rialto Police Department Study. Rialto is a suburb of Los Angeles and they looked at the TASER AXON Camera Flex system for one year in a blind study. They found that the complaints were reduced by 88% &mdash; that&rsquo;s a game-changer in and of itself, because you&rsquo;ve now got a witness to certain situations where there&rsquo;s been previously no witness. The bigger game changer was the 59% drop in use of force. That clearly is changing behavior on both sides of the badge.&rdquo;</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/01/02/police-video-data" target="_blank">via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 14:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/police-get-body-cameras-what-happens-all-video-111328 Report: Number of police officers killed spikes in 2014 http://www.wbez.org/news/report-number-police-officers-killed-spikes-2014-111310 <p><p>The number of police officers killed in the line of duty increased in 2014, a report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund finds.</p><p>In total, 126 officers were killed in 2014. That&#39;s a 24 percent increase from 2013, when 102 officers were killed.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nleomf.org/facts/research-bulletins/">According to the report</a>, the number of police officers killed by firearms also rose by 56 percent &mdash; from 32 in 2013 to 50 in 2014.</p><p>Here&#39;s a graphic that puts those numbers in historical context:</p><div><a href="http://www.nleomf.org/facts/research-bulletins/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2014totalfatalities-web_custom-df784be8fe541622a01105419bc5bfbd56a9e39f-s800-c85.png" style="height: 388px; width: 620px;" title="A graph showing officer deaths per year. (NLEOMF)" /></a></div><div><p><a href="http://www.nleomf.org/newsroom/news-releases/eoy-report-2014.html">In a press release</a>, the fund adds:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;Ambush-style attacks, as evidenced earlier this month by the shooting deaths of New York City Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos while sitting in their marked patrol car, were the number one cause of felonious officer deaths for the fifth year in a row. Fifteen officers nationwide were killed in ambush assaults in 2014, matching 2012 for the highest total since 1995.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>One important asterisk to this news: While gun deaths of officers have increased, they still remain 12-percent lower than the decade-long average of 57.</p><p>&quot;Firearms-related fatalities peaked in 1973, when 156 officers were shot and killed. Since then, the average number of officers shot and killed has decreased<br />from 127 per year in the 1970s to 57 per year in the 2000s,&quot; the report notes.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/30/373985338/report-number-of-police-officers-killed-spikes-in-2014" target="_blank">via NPR</a></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 11:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/report-number-police-officers-killed-spikes-2014-111310