Law Enforcement Technology

NOV 2016

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personal risks to their health and safety to keep us safe. But we cannot expect them to continue to take extra chances if the risk- to-reward ratio is grossly disproportional to the point where they fear embarrass- ment to their agency, termination from employment or possible incarceration for mistakes made during tense, life-threat- ening and rapidly evolving situations. It's hardly surprising that some may be demonstrating some caution if they think no one is going to support them anymore, or that citizens mistrust them to the point where they are perceived as guilty until proven innocent. Adding a loss of confidence in their leadership, who they may suspect will throw them under the bus for political reasons or to satisfy the demands of angry mobs, will only exacerbate the problem further. Then, adding more paperwork to a job that is already inundated with it may only cement the deal for some, as the Chicago Police Department may have sensed when they required officers complete two-page forms for any stop they made. To little surprise, there was a reported decrease in stops. Spending more time to complete paperwork is less time spent trying to ferret out bad guys. Jack Dunphy is a pseudonym for a southern California police officer's blog in which he recently wrote in part about a moment when he and his part- ner spotted some gang members, one of whom may have been responsible for a murder, near an alleyway. They weighed the possibilities about what could happen if they get out of their cruiser—possibilities that included hav- ing the gang members run away from them. If they do that, the officers would have had to chase them and might end up using force, to include deadly force, when they catch up to them. These actions, which wouldn't have been pret- ty, may end up getting videotaped and goign viral. That and the fact they will have their decisions second-guessed, led them to a discomforting conclusion where Dunphy writes, "So, as we are not fools, we drive on." NOVEMBER 2016 LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY 9 Circle 41 on Reader Ser vice Card We depend on our men and women in blue to both serve and protect, and part of that protection includes using their skills, intelligence, courage and inquisitiveness to find trouble and stop it in its tracks before it hurts us. I'm optimistic and confident that Northeast Ohio police officers are committed to that mission, but let's hope a "Ferguson effect" doesn't infect this area or get a long-term stronghold on us, or we're all in trouble. Editor's Note: Watch for Par t II of this column next month, where Lt. Wetzel will address solutions to overcome the Ferguson Ef fect.

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