What is the most dangerous place in the world? Brazil, rife with gangs? Some pockets of America with crime everywhere, fueled by the failure of our “war on drugs”? Nope. The most dangerous is not actually a place at all; it is the internet!
The internet is full of people who are not who they claim to be, what they really look like, etc. … PREDATORS AND PERVERTS. VERY DANGEROUS PEOPLE. The internet is ideal for such deception, and the “bad guys” – and girls – know it!
Nobody really know the number of murder victims who met their killer online, but READ THIS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_homicide = Internet Homicide.
Add to it the burglaries, kidnappings, rapes, thefts, identity thefts, and other crimes committed by internet predators!
Especially young attractive women – but EVERYONE – REMEMBER THAT UNLESS YOU KNOW THEM PERSONALLY THE PERSON ON LINE MAY NOT BE AT ALL WHAT IS PORTRAYED!
Some of these “dupesters” are very, very clever, so watch out what information you give out online!
I see innumerable problems with this bad idea!
Excerpts from the Article:
Top officials at the Michigan State Police have been using text messaging encryption devices that can put their internal communications out of the reach of the Freedom of Information Act and legal discovery, according to admissions the MSP made in a civil lawsuit.
Among those who have downloaded the “end-to-end” encryption applications onto their state-issued phones are a lieutenant-colonel, two majors and two first lieutenants, according to court records obtained by the Free Press.
The use by top MSP officials of the encryption devices — under which text messages, once deleted, can leave no record on either the phone or the state of Michigan server — was disclosed recently in a federal lawsuit brought against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Col. Joseph Gasper, who is the director of the department, and the MSP.
Earlier, the department also admitted that both Gasper, and the manager of the MSP records section, Lori Hinkley, who oversees FOIA requests, had also installed and used the technology on their state phones. But late on Thursday, after the Free Press made inquiries about the encryption apps, the MSP sent the plaintiffs a corrected filing, through the state Attorney General’s Office, which denied that Gasper and Hinkley had used the encryption app on their state phones, contrary to the earlier admission.
Top officials at the Michigan State Police have been using “end-to-end” encryption technology which can put their internal text messages out of the reach of Freedom of Information Act requests and legal discovery, the department has admitted in a lawsuit.
The use of such applications by government employees — not necessarily with official authorization — is a growing concern among advocates for government transparency. It appears to fly in the face of Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act, which says records of communications between public officials, outside of specific exceptions, are public record. It also appears to violate the spirit of a 2019 Whitmer executive directive, which related to emails, rather than text messages, but said emails “may not be disposed of by a state department or autonomous agency except in compliance with an applicable record retention schedule.”
Signal, which is a free-to-the-user app funded by grants and donations, says on its website: “We can’t read your messages or listen to your calls, and no one else can either.”
Hahn said the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget should explicitly ban the use of end-to-end encryption applications by state employees, if it has not already.
“Every member of the Michigan State Police has had multiple training sessions on the importance of preserving government-related texts on devices owned by the people, and to not conduct government business on privately owned devices,” Hahn said.
“Col. Gasper and his executive level commanders have had this training many times and know better, yet here we are. What a fine example they’re setting for junior officers and the troopers. Is that transparency?”
“Any attempt to avoid transparency by those the taxpayers employ is unacceptable — even more so for police employees in an era where accountability and transparency has never been more important in gaining the public trust,” McGraw said.
Further, “law enforcement is already afforded a level of coverage that prevents access through the public’s inability to obtain body camera footage, personnel information and other records exempt from FOIA,” she said.
This is a huge problem, because jurors trust “scientists”.
Excerpts from the Article:
The District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences (“DFS”) is a $220 million facility built in 2012. Its construction was highly lauded and was expected to effectively process crime scene evidence. DFS is an independent agency analyzing forensic DNA, firearm, and fingerprint evidence for various law enforcement entities operating in the D.C. metro area.
However, as early as 2015, two audits revealed that DFS’ DNA procedures were inadequate. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office (“USAO”) brought attention to numerous mistakes concerning DNA analysis conducted by DFS. DFS lost its national accreditation, and the DNA analysis mistakes called into question the validity of evidence in approximately 200 cases.
After the 2015 audits, then-director Max Houck resigned. While the chief scientist and senior manager for DNA testing were both fired, Jenifer Smith proceeded to take over as the agency’s new director. Eliminating past practices and policies allowed the lab to again meet the necessary industry standards by 2018. Due to Smith’s changes, DFS was able to clear two audits from accreditation agencies while also improving communication with law enforcement. But the beneficial effects of the restructuring didn’t last.
By October 2019, the U.S. Justice Department was asking DFS to hand over documents pertaining to firearm evidence analysis policies. Also requested were any analysis reviews or indications of analysis verification errors. January 2020 found the FBI investigating a DFS firearms analyst for falsely certifying evidence analysis records as having been secondarily reviewed and confirmed by a colleague as per agency policy. These two investigations have reignited distrust among DFS, USAO, and defense attorneys. While the investigations did not reveal any criminal wrongdoing, a February 2020 report did recommend that the D.C. inspector general review “mismanagement, poor judgment, and failures of communications” within DFS. The investigations also launched renewed agency auditing. The auditing set out to examine 60 cases being prosecuted in D.C. Superior Court. Discrepancies were noted in a dozen of those cases.
The audit also confirmed that independent forensic examiners reached a wholly contradictory conclusion as those of the DFS examiners in at least six of the cases. The conclusion found by the audit examiners included not only false matches by DFS analysts but the matching of cartridge casings and bullets that the DFS analysts had been unable to match.
The investigations that led to these latest audits began when ballistic evidence in two 2015 shootings in the D.C. area were found to have been incorrectly confirmed as matching. Two men, 29-year-old Antwan Baker and Amari Jenkins, 21, were both fatally shot, and police had gathered ballistic evidence from the crime scenes. That evidence was entered into the National Ballistic Integrated Information Network (“NBIIN”). NBIIN is an automated database that stores and compares images of forensic ballistic evidence. DFS was alerted by NBIIN that the ballistic evidence in the 2015 shootings may be linked. This is the evidence that was then falsely and inaccurately confirmed as matching and verified as such by the DFS analyst. Based in part on this questionable ballistic evidence, Rondell McLeod and Joseph Brown were charged in 2017 with both of the 2015 killings. Almost four years after the original evidence was supposedly matched by NBIIN, prosecutors were preparing for the trial of McLeod when the problem with the original analysis was discovered, WTOPnews reports.
Prosecutors requested that Travis Spinder, a ballistic expert from Montana, review the evidence to confirm that it did actually link the two 2015 shootings. Spinder concluded that the 10mm shell casings did not come from the same gun. Spinder’s conclusion was then confirmed by four other independent experts.
“In other words, his conclusion is that the same 10mm gun was not used in both murders,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Spence in an email to McLeod’s attorneys, concluding, “Needless to say, this is a different conclusion than the one reached by the initial DFS examiner.”
Government attorneys are now busy trying to protect the integrity of their prosecutions. The findings are impacting defense attorney preparations, too. McLeod’s attorney moved to completely dismiss the murder indictment because the killings were only “linked together by ballistics testimony that has subsequently been debunked and proven to be false.”
An attorney also called it a “complete and intentional fraud” intended to mislead the grand jury. DFS has continued to deny any errors on its part. DFS also refuses to actively cooperate with the audit’s examiners and has not willingly turned over needed documents.
The USAO is now proceeding with a lawsuit against DFS to receive access to these documents. The documents would allow for completion of the audits. The USAO stated it does not want to appear complicit in any DFS denials of evidentiary problems. Public Defender Service (“PDS”) director Avis Buchanan believes prosecutors are too cozy with the audit team, arguing that PDS and other “non-prosecution” stakeholders should have more input into any of the audit team compositions. As of now, the full findings of this latest audit have not been provided to the public. There appears to be enough information now available to create grave concerns with evidentiary examinations and confirmations that were made by DFS analysts.
BULLSHIT! The shooter should have been charged, and let a jury decide. That is WHY God created juries! Expect more protests and more calls for justice … rightly so!
Excerpts from the Article:
The top prosecutor in Kenosha, Wis., declined to bring charges against the police officer who shot and gravely wounded Jacob Blake outside an apartment building in August, an episode that sparked protests and rioting and made the city an instant flash point in a summer of unrest that began with the killing of George Floyd.
The decision not to file charges against the officer, Rusten Sheskey, was announced on Tuesday afternoon by Michael Graveley, the Kenosha County district attorney. He said that investigators had reviewed 40 hours of video and hundreds of pages of police reports before making the decision.
The prosecutor said a case against the officer would have been very hard to prove, in part because it would be difficult to overcome an argument that the officer was protecting himself. He said Mr. Blake had admitted to holding a knife — even describing switching it from one hand to another as he moved to open a car door — and that statements from officers and other witnesses indicated that Mr. Blake had turned toward an officer with the knife immediately before he was shot.
The case involved a white officer shooting a Black man, circumstances which the prosecutor said made it especially difficult. “I feel in many ways completely inadequate for this moment,” said Mr. Graveley, who is white. “I have never in my life had a moment where I had to contend with explicit or implicit bias based on my race.”
Michael Graveley, the Kenosha County district attorney, said on Tuesday that his office would not bring charges against Rusten Sheskey, the police officer who shot Jacob Blake outside an apartment building in August.
Mr. Blake’s family expressed anguish at the decision not to charge the officer, saying that video from the scene made it clear that Officer Sheskey had acannounced. “This is bigger, greater than little Jake. This is about all the little Jakes. That’s why the people keep coming out and supporting us. You know why? Because it could have been them.” “It’s a gut-wrenching experience,” Justin Blake, Mr. Blake’s uncle, said.
The case came during a year of protests over police shootings of Black people in cities across the country. It drew the attention of President Trump, who voiced support for a white teenager, Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot three protesters on the streets of Kenosha, two of them fatally, as part of an armed group that sought to confront protesters.
Even before revealing his decision to forgo charges against the officer, Mr. Graveley pleaded with the community — and the country — to keep the peace.
“Rather than burning things down, can moments of tragedy like this be an opportunity to build things?” he asked.
Mr. Graveley said that shortly before announcing his decision he spoke by phone to Mr. Blake, who was hospitalized for weeks after the shooting. Mr. Blake was partially paralyzed; his family said he would probably never walk again.
Advocates for Mr. Blake, who is 29, have been holding regular demonstrations in Kenosha, and had called upon Mr. Graveley to file charges against the officer.
“This decision does nothing but shore up that message that Black people are not safe in the United States of America in 2021,” Corey Prince, chair of the criminal justice committee of the N.A.A.C.P. in neighboring Racine, said Tuesday. “They continue to devalue Black lives, Black humanity, Black freedom, even when we’re with our kids.”
Dominique Pritchett, a community activist and mental wellness clinician in Kenosha, said the news was difficult to hear. “It’s re-traumatizing,” she said. “It regurgitates every unjustified Black death and shooting that has happened in history.”
B’Ivory LaMarr, a lawyer representing Mr. Blake’s family, said they would probably sue. “We will be looking at bringing a civil action in the near future to seek justice for Jacob,” he said.
Officer Sheskey’s lawyer, Brendan P. Matthews, said that the officers who responded to the call about Mr. Blake “did an outstanding job under challenging circumstances.”
“At the end of the day, Officer Sheskey was presented with a difficult and dangerous situation and he acted appropriately and in accordance with his training,” Mr. Matthews said in a statement. “The video remains difficult to view but that does not change what actually occurred.”
The Kenosha police union on Tuesday called the decision vindication for the officers. Officer Sheskey, who has been employed by the Kenosha Police Department for seven years, was placed on administrative leave after the shooting.
The case incited emotions in large part because of the gruesome scene captured by a cellphone video: A Black man being shot in the back multiple times as he moved away from the officer. Even those arguing that the officers acted appropriately conceded that law enforcement needed to figure out how to reach better outcomes in such situations.
Noble Wray, the former police chief of Madison, Wis., who analyzed the shooting for the district attorney’s office, said that he, too, was initially pained by the video. “I would totally concur with how this came across,” he said after a reporter from a German news outlet said that many Europeans saw the video as an example of police abuse. “I felt that way. But the flip side of that, is that it is not necessarily true that in a use-of-force situation, that it would only take one shot to stop a threat.”
In a statement following Mr. Graveley’s announcement, Gov. Tony Evers said that the state and the country had failed to deliver on promises of justice, equity and peace for Black people. “Today’s decision is further evidence that our work is not done — we must work each day in earnest toward a more just, more fair, and more equitable state and country, and to combat the racism experienced by Black Wisconsinites,” he said.
But he stopped short of criticizing the district attorney, instead blasting lawmakers for failing to provide “meaningful, common-sense reform to enhance accountability and promote transparency in policing in our state.”
The community simmered with tension before the announcement, as residents and officials anxiously sought to prevent the unrest that unfolded after the shooting last summer. On Tuesday evening, a crowd of a few dozen people marched through the streets, shouting through megaphones and bundled in heavy coats as the temperature dropped below freezing.
Many businesses in Kenosha were boarded up Tuesday in anticipation of the charging decision, and some streets were closed. National Guard members stood near the Kenosha County Courthouse, which was surrounded by an iron fence. At a Subway sandwich shop two blocks from the courthouse, fresh plywood was installed Tuesday, as it had been during the summer unrest. “If the decision goes in the cop’s favor, we’re thinking it’s going to turn how it was before,” an employee, Tyler Blazek, said.
The City Council unanimously passed an emergency declaration Monday that would allow the mayor to implement a curfew once the charging decision was made public. The sheriff for Kenosha County also declared a state of emergency that he said would allow him to change the schedules of his deputies.
The shooting, on Aug. 23, unfolded after three officers arrived at an apartment complex in Kenosha in response to a domestic complaint.
As the officers attempted to take Mr. Blake into custody, he walked along the passenger side of a four-door S.U.V., away from the officers, as three of his children waited in the back seat of the vehicle. The officers used a Taser in an effort to subdue Mr. Blake. Officer Sheskey then grabbed Mr. Blake’s shirt and fired his gun several times into Mr. Blake’s back.
Two other officers were pointing their guns at Mr. Blake during the incident.
For several days in August, protests and destruction erupted on the streets of Kenosha, as rioters burned buildings, cars and garbage trucks, smashed streetlamps and spray-painted graffiti on schools and businesses. Hundreds of National Guardsmen were summoned to the city in an attempt to restore order, using tear gas and rubber bullets to subdue protesters.
Two days after the shooting of Mr. Blake, Mr. Rittenhouse, who was then 17, shot and killed two men on a downtown street in what his lawyer has described as an act of self-defense. He was charged with six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide.
On Tuesday, Mr. Rittenhouse, now 18, pleaded not guilty to the charges during a brief arraignment that was done via videoconference. His case is scheduled to proceed in March.
Outside the courthouse on Tuesday afternoon, two protesters said they were there to support Mr. Rittenhouse.
“Self -defense is not a crime,” said Tim Conrad, 34, who drove 90 minutes from Joliet, Ill., to be in Kenosha.
His friend, Emily Cahill, 32, from Plainfield, Ill., carried a poster that read “IGY6 Kyle” meaning “I got your back, Kyle,” she said.
The state Department of Justice and its Division of Criminal Investigation led the investigation into the shooting of Mr. Blake. The Justice Department has opened a separate civil rights investigation into the case.
At the time of the shooting, Mr. Blake was facing charges stemming from a July incident. On Nov. 6, prosecutors in Kenosha County Circuit Court dropped one count of third-degree sexual assault and agreed to drop one count of criminal trespass if Mr. Blake pleaded guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct, according to court records and Mr. Blake’s lawyer, Patrick Cafferty.
Mr. Blake pleaded guilty to the two disorderly conduct charges and was sentenced to two years of probation.
The Walworth County district attorney, Zeke Wiedenfeld, who had prosecuted the case, said the sexual assault charge had been dropped in part because the woman who had accused Mr. Blake declined to cooperate with the prosecutors. Mr. Blake had maintained that he did not commit sexual assault.
- There is no “law enforcement” official, police or prison guard, who is above the law. ALL must be held accountable for their conduct.
2. There is no official so virtuous that he or she should not be criticized when they have their heads firmly in the sand regarding serious problematic crimes – police abuse and prison abuse, any official misconduct!
3. There is no politician so powerful that you cannot call him or her on it when they LIE.
4. There is no person in the criminal justice system, in any court system (i.e. Family Court) who should not be reminded, when necessary, that their job is to do JUSTICE, to be FAIR.
5. There is no politician who from time to time should not be reminded that THEY work for YOU.
6. There is no prosecutor (United States Attorney, U S Department of Justice – for your district or state. Attorney General, DA) who should not be bombarded with complaints from the public and requests for PROSECUTION from the public when police, prison guards, CPS investigators, politicians, or other officials lie under oath or commit other crimes. Most such acts are federal crimes under 18 USCA Sections 241 and 242. Hold “public servants” accountable!
THERE SHOULD BE A 7th TRUTH: EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO A GOOD LAWYER WHEN “THE SHIT HITS THE FAN”! If YOU have any question or problem with ANY prison/criminal justice situation, CALL me at 302-423-4067. NO charge to chat, and I am able to help more than 95% of folks who call me every day from all over the country.
What a great program. It will save many lives. Every city should have it!
Excerpts from the Article:
Imagine for a moment, you just lost your job. The lack of income might soon push you into homelessness and a host of other troubles. Out of eEy overlook the real problem – and a simple solution.
In situations involving psychological or physical needs that pose no threat to public safety, the cops should not be called at all.
The Support Team Assistance Response (“STAR”) is a pilot program in Denver that directs certain 911 calls to a paramedic and a mental health professional. The two-person team has been sent to about 350 calls in the first three months of the program, which began in June 2020. While this represents a small fraction of the 911 calls that Denver typically receives, advocates point out that the STAR program allows cops to avoid many unnecessary uses of force or incarceration and also frees them up to focus on actual crime.
“It’s the future of law enforcement, taking a public health view on public safety,” said Paul Pazen, Denver’s police chief. “Instead of putting people in handcuffs we’re trying to meet their needs.”
The police department has started reviewing calls to get an idea of how much of their workload could be better handled by an expanded STAR program, though Pazen does not believe it would replace any of the cops needed on the streets.
STAR itself is an expansion of another program that has been including mental health professionals on appropriate police calls since 2016. The Mental Health Center of Denver charges around $700,000 annually for providing this service, which in 2019 included a staff of 17 professionals who were involved in over 2,200 calls.
Because the calls coming in to 911 cover a wide array of situations, having options like STAR and the co-responder programs in addition to standard police response should allow operators to more effectively meet the public’s needs.
“Once upon a time, someone called and police were tagged in to see what was going on,” said Pazen. “And I think we’re at a point where we’re realizing that police don’t have to be the first people all the time.”
Practical Tip – There Are Support Groups for Parents Who Have Lost Kids to Overdose, Shootings, Suicide … and for Others With Such Losses – kra
Did you know that there are a vast number of support groups for victims of our dysfunctional justice system and of our crazy world?
SOME ARE LOCAL, SOME ARE WORLDWIDE; SOME ARE PUBLIC, SOME ARE PRIVATE.
Just google whatever you may need. i.e. “support groups for Moms of those killed by drug overdose” or “support groups and similar organizations for children of those killed by gunfire”. Or “support groups for the wrongly convicted”.
One group for those who have lost loved ones to an overdose calls for fentanyl to be deemed a weapon of mass destruction! A worthy goal for getting attention, though it, like most “tough on crime” policies will not stem the rising tide of deaths.
From connecting to others to ease that “I am alone in this” feeling to many practical leads, there is a plethora of support out there. 🙂
SPREAD THE WORD!
Half stupid, half ok! Victims need all sorts of help, and cutting aid makes NO sense. Tracking law enforcement and its oversight is needed; we’ll see how this works.
It looks like none of this is happening yet because it is tied to the corona virus relief Bill, which tRump is sitting on.
Excerpts from the Article:
Federal aid to programs that help crime victims would drop by nearly one-third under an appropriations bill for the current spending year approved by congressional leaders on Sunday night.
The bill also creates a federal task force on law enforcement oversight to deal with allegations of law-enforcement misconduct and funds the development of databases to track excessive use of force and other misconduct by police officers.
The reduction in crime victim aid comes in the form of a cap on the amount available from the federal Crime Victims Fund for victim services for the year ending next Sept. 30 at $1.469 billion, down from $2.064 billion in the last fiscal year.
Under a 1984 federal anticrime law, the Crime Victims Fund is comprised not of federal tax income but rather of fines and penalties paid in federal criminal cases. That total has been falling in recent years, partly because more major cases have been resolved by non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements in which corporate defendants may pay penalties to the U.S. Treasury, but those outcomes are not classified as criminal cases that benefit the victims’ fund.
Victim advocates and other criminal justice organizations supported a “deposits fix” that would have allowed proceeds from the non-criminal settlements to be deposited in the fund, but that measure was not included in this week’s bill, reports the National Criminal Justice Association.
The proposed fix had strong bipartisan support but was blocked by a key House member.
Overall, the bill provides $33.8 billion overall for the Department of Justice, $1.18 billion above last year’s level and $874.4 million above the President’s budget request.
The FBI will get $10.31 billion, an increase of $361.9 million above last year.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons will be allocated $7.84 billion, an increase of $57.4 million
Congress fully funded the $409,483,000 requested by the Trump administration for programs authorized by the 2018 prison and sentencing reform bill known as the First Step Act.
The task force on law enforcement misconduct will be comprised of Justice Department officials in “consultation with law enforcement, labor, and community-based organizations.” Its mission will be “to coordinate the detection and referral of complaints” about police wrongdoing.
A separate provision of the law provides $5 million to create databases on police excessive use of force and officer misconduct.
The appropriations bill still must be approved by both houses of Congress and signed by President Trump. That is expected to occur this week to prevent the federal government from shutting down.
As approved by federal appropriators, the bill includes virtually level funding for most anticrime aid to state and local government.
Funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program will rise to $360 million from $349 million last year.
The coronavirus bill includes about $4.25 billion to support mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
Among totals in the pending bill for other Justice Department programs:
Violence Against Women Act “STOP” grants: $215 million, the same as in fiscal year 2020.
Police officer hiring under the COPS program, $157 million, up from $156 million last year.
Drug courts, $83 million, up from $80 million in the last fiscal year.
Mental health courts, $35 million, up from $33 million.
Veterans treatment courts, $25 million, up from $23 million.
Aid to so-called Title II programs to fight juvenile crime, $67 million, up from $63 million.
The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program would get $34 million, up from $31 million.
DNA backlog reduction, $141 million, up from DNA backlog reduction – $141 million, up from $132 million.
Coverdell forensic science grants, $33 million, up from $30 million.
National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), $85 million, up from $78 million.
Comprehensive Opioid Assistance Program (COAP)m $185 million, up from $180 million.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, $32 million, up from $1 million.
Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), $33 million, up from $28 million.
Second Chance Act $77 million, up from $62 million.
House members attempted to include in the appropriations bill many provisions of the policing reform legislation that was approved by the House earlier this year but was not taken up by the Senate.
Outside of the police misconduct task force and data collection, those measures were not included in the final bill. They are expected to be debated again in the congressional session that starts in January.
Both Houses also passed and sent to President Trump a Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Act that creates a $10 million grant program for state and local correctional facilities to provide clinical services for people with serious mental illness who need help after their release.
The more information, the better. I do not see an invasion of privacy with cops using cameras in any public space.
Note the biases built into the system!
Excerpts from the Article:
Technology innovation seems to impact every aspect of our lives in the modern era, but what roles should technology play in policing? As the national conversation has turned to police reform, technology’s roles are being questioned anew.
Three technology trends are behind many of our most recent innovations: cheap data storage and databases, artificial intelligence, and near ubiquitous video and audio recording devices. This is equally true in tech recently adopted for use by law policing agencies. Cheap, high-definition cameras are mounted on Tasers, vehicle dashboards, drones, buildings, and officers’ bodies. That video is stored, seemingly indefinitely, in cloud databases. The video is combed through by AI algorithms to create new data points used by other AIs to make, or aid in making, decisions in a policing context.
But, like so many other areas of our lives affected by innovation, we never stopped to ask what purposes these tools serve, and whether those purposes are at odds with our other, closely held values like privacy or free speech.
Nine years ago, Santa Cruz, California, was one of the first police departments to adopt software that implemented “predictive policing.” The thought was that they could feed enough data about past crimes into a database, and an AI would tell them the most efficient way to allocate officers to prevent crime. But this past June, Santa Cruz became the first city to ban predictive policing. It turned out that “predictive policing” magnified aggressive policing in minority communities and didn’t contribute to public safety. This was likely due in part to the fact that the information fed into the database reflected our nation’s history of racially motivated policing and oppressive laws, which targeted minorities.
Facial recognition AI algorithms have followed a similar trajectory. Being able to identify a person captured on video committing a crime sounds like a good idea. But what about citizens who are merely peacefully protesting? What can, or should, police be able to do with that video? And where do software makers get the photos for comparison? Mugshot records? The state’s driver’s license database? Social media websites? When does this activity cross the line into violations of privacy?
It turns out that these algorithms also are biased against minorities and women. MIT and Stanford conducted joint research that concluded in 2018 that these algorithms misidentify darker-skinned women 34.5% of the time, while light-skinned men were misidentified a mere 0.8%. Ostensibly because of these racial disparities, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM have suspended their facial recognition software services, though other players in the market continue to provide such services to police agencies.
Body and dashboard cameras have been adopted by police departments when communities have demanded more accountability from their officers. Yet there is no accountability when officers can disable recording when they are about to misbehave or when departments can withhold, sometimes indefinitely, video of incidents where police misuse force. And when every interaction with police is filmed, does this intrude on the privacy of citizens being policed, which is often disproportionately minority communities? What do police, or the corporations providing the services, do with all that video?
These are questions that must be asked more often and more loudly. Technology is morally neutral: the same tech behind cheap energy also fuels nuclear weapons. How we allow police to use technology must be considered when we push for police reform.
“It’s not about whether or not police use tech; it’s whether or not we can make the footprint of police smaller year after year,” said Hannah Sassaman, policy director at the Movement Alliance Project. “You don’t need an app for that.”
Good for Chief Johnson! He has his eye on the ball!
Excerpts from the Article:
In a mid-June press conference, new Dover Police Chief Thomas Johnson announced a coming push for department reform.
Also at the forefront of goals was an emphasis on boosting its community policing model to connect with the public.
Dover Police Chief Thomas Johnson said his two main priorities entering 2021 will be to deliver the best body-worn cameras proposal to elected officials and begin implementation of a social service resource to complement existing patrol operations.
During the 50-minute gathering before media, the chief asked the public to hold him to meeting the challenge of examining and adapting operations.
Last week, the department announced progress made in the past six months, covering an array of modifications to policies and standards.
According to Chief Johnson, “The language of certain policies was clarified to leave no doubt about the intended meaning.
“For example, while it was always inferred, we made it clear that a warning should be issued, if time allows, prior to any substantial application of force. It was made more abundantly clear that all forms of neck restraint, whether manual, or aided by a control device, is completely outside of policy unless there is a threat to life that cannot be resolved any other way.
“When it comes to the topic of medical care, when an officer recognizes an illness or injury, a prisoner will be connected to medical services even if they do not request it or try to refuse it.
“Lastly, it should be noted that the duty to intervene that has been emphasized to all sworn members and officers will now be required to file a detailed written report of an excessive use of force event and the actions taken to bring the enforcement action back inside the parameters of policy.”
The department remains grounded in national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) national standards and “We are improving the language in all of the critical policies to remain in line with evolving best practices,” spokesman Sgt. Mark Hoffman said. With the arrival of each new CALEA standard or policy, Dover expands its capacity to meet the latest best practices, according to the department.
Last week, Dover police was adding language that includes ‘vascular neck restriction’ to the policies that discuss ‘choke holds.’ “Some view these as separate issues but we agree with CALEA’s assessment that they are interconnected since they address pressure to the neck area,” Sgt. Hoffman said. “One deals with the circulation of air and the other with the circulation of blood. Our policy will view them in the same cautious light.”
So what’s still on the to do list?
“The two main priorities I have going into 2021 is to deliver the best body-worn cameras proposal that I can to our elected officials and begin the implementation of a social service resource to complement our existing patrol operations,” Chief Johnson said.
To meet the demands of coping with a job that can bring combative, physical situations at times Mr. Sudler “would like to see an on-site psychologist be incorporated among our Dover Police Department to aid them with the psychological stressors of the job and work-family balance/conflict issues.”
“We have also begun stepped up enforcement operations in areas that have been the scenes of violent events. While not completely eliminated, we are beginning to document a decrease in violent assaults, shootings and after a record-setting pace of homicide to begin 2020, we have not recorded a murder since late September.”