Tag Archives: Police

The Racial Makeup of Police Force

I’ve often wondered why it’s been accepted as fact that if the racial makeup of a police force doesn’t match the racial makeup of the citizenry, then something is wrong.

Now we have some data:

“What we find is evidence that [having] more black police officers probably doesn’t offer a direct solution to this problem,” Sean Nicholson-Crotty, a political scientist at Indiana University and one of the study’s authors, said. Indeed, the researchers concluded that as the ratio of black officers in police departments rose — up to a certain threshold — so did the number of fatal encounters between officers and black residents.

I have a theory.  As an organization looks at itself and finds a demographic under represented and then seeks to increase that representation, they will lower the barrier to entry.  Thus allowing less qualified individuals entrance into the group.

The Gun Debate Just Got Interesting

An big city sheriff in liberal Wisconsin just upped the ante in the gun debate:

The sheriff’s advice is sure to flame the debate on both sides.  To be sure, it already has:

Jodie Tabak, Mayor Tom Barrett’s spokeswoman, released this statement:

“Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”

And there’s more:

Jeri Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, said she hears “over and over” from most law enforcement officials that the community should work to “take more guns off the streets, not add more.”

“What (Clarke’s) talking about is this amped up version of vigilantism,” Bonavia said. “I don’t know what his motivations are for doing this. But I do know what he’s calling for is dangerous and irresponsible and he should be out there saying this is a mistake.”

However, the sheriff is not without his supporters:

Asked about Clarke’s assessment of 911, James Fendry, director of the Wisconsin Pro Gun Movement, said, “It’s never been a great option (calling 911). Unless you can take care of yourself, you’re kind of SOL.”

Fendry, a former police officer, said that he tells citizens, “You’re not armed to be law enforcement. You’re armed to protect your own life and the lives of your family until law enforcement arrives. Do not go on search and destroy missions in your home.”

I tend to agree with the folks who are calling on Clarke to show restraint.  The debate is amped up as it is; folks are already looking for any and all reasons to buy a gun.  Heck, in many cases they’re looking for reason NOT to buy a gun.  And when a cop comes out and says that the white hats can’t get there in time; well, it only serves to embolden the guys in the black hats.

County Executive Chris Abele said Clarke is sending the wrong message.

“I think it’s irresponsible and it doesn’t help public safety to tell the public there’s some kind of imminent danger that they need to go buy guns,” Abele said. “Essentially, you’ve got a (public service announcement) that’s recommending people need to go buy guns because they can’t rely on the response they’ll get from 911. I’m here to tell you, we have phenomenal police departments.”

Roy Felber, president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, said the ad sounded to him like a call to vigilantism.

“That doesn’t sound smart,” Felber said. “That’s why society has police officers.”

One the main and best deterrents to crime is that the cops are on the way and that they WILL catch you.  To break that seal, to allow even a hint of doubt tears down that curtain and what’s behind, may or may not be, ugly.

Police State

I don’t generally buy into the “Black Helicopter” crowd regarding conspiracy of government.  For example, touching on the gun debate, I’m not sure it’s a given that if we register guns that one day the government will confiscate them.

However, I’ve always had a push me pull you relationship with law enforcement.  I distrust 22 year old men with a uniform and a gun.  I’m deeply indebted to the mature officer that puts limb and life on the line to defend me and mine.

But this doesn’t help the cause:

A Ramsey County man who videotaped a sheriff’s deputy in public is now fighting a citation for obstruction and disorderly conduct.

A St. Paul Pioneer Press report says the deputy was loading another man into an ambulance, and 28-year-old Andrew Henderson videotaped the action.

Sheriff’s deputy Jacqueline Muellner confiscated the camera, saying Henderson was violating the other man’s privacy rights. Henderson says when he got the camera back the next day the recording was gone.

Muellner cited Henderson for obstructing legal process. The American Civil Liberties Union has agreed to represent him for free.

Maybe there’s room for slack on the part of the cops.  They are, after all, the ones out there putting it all out there.  And having someone tape you may come across as trying to “entrap” you.  So I get it.

But still.

At least the force is saying the right things:

Ramsey County sheriff’s spokesman Randy Gustafson says it’s not the department’s policy to take people’s cameras. He says people are within their rights to record deputies’ activities.

It reminds me of the time I witnessed a DUI arrest in progress.  The entrance to my apartment building had a small flower median.  One lane in, one lane out.  And the officer was parked behind the community sign IN THE WRONG LANE.  The car drove in, not expecting a parked car with headlights on, and hit the brakes.

He was walked and arrested.

I watched the whole thing.  And the officers clearly didn’t like it at all.

Philadelphia Cops vs. The Citizen

Woe to the citizens of Philadelphia if you are acting within the constraints of the law AND the cops don’t like know that law.  At least that’s the message from the cops when it comes to citizens excercising their right to carry a gun.  In full sight.  With a permit.

You see, it seems that cops in Philly are able to decide their own laws OR they don’t feel the need to know/abide by laws on the books.

Consider Mark Fiorino and his recent run in with the law:

Continue reading