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Policing and Wrongful Convictions
by Anthony W. Batts, Maddy deLone, and Darrel W. Stephens
As experienced professionals from policing and legal advocacy, the authors of this paper have come together to call for the field of policing to take the lead in reviewing cases, learning lessons, and changing practice to prevent the innocent from becoming swept into the criminal justice system and eventually convicted of crimes they did not commit. D.P.A., Police Commissioner, Baltimore, Maryland and former Chief of Police of Long Beach and Oakland, California Anthony W. Batts; Executive Director, Maddy deLone of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization committed to exonerating the wrongfully convicted through use of DNA testing and criminal justice system reform; and Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and retired Chief, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Darrel W. Stephens examine the systematic causes of wrongful criminal convictions and potential solutions to benefit both law enforcement and communities in Policing and Wrongful Convictions.
Long-time police executive and one of the paper's authors, Stephens says, “Police have always been concerned about the guilty going free because of a legal technicality; we should be even more concerned with an innocent person being wrongfully convicted. This paper makes specific recommendations for the police to help prevent wrongful convictions.” The recommendations draw upon many best practices that have emerged in recent years. The Executive Director of the Innocence Project and author Maddy deLone attributes much learning to the lessons learned through DNA exonerations, added “We have learned a great deal about how to prevent wrongful convictions. Adopting these best practices protects the innocent and helps police better use their limited resources to focus on catching the real perpetrators. We thank the many in law enforcement who have already adopted these proven reforms and encourage them to talk to their colleagues in other jurisdictions about how they have benefited their work."... more
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey escorts the reader on a journey through the US National Holocaust Museum and Nazi Germany, the Jim Crow era in the US, and to more recent experiences in urban centers experiencing violence, crime, and drugs to offer examples of the challenging role of protecting not only life and property but equally important, guarding freedoms and liberty in The Challenge of Policing in a Democratic Society: A Personal Journey Toward Understanding.
In this report Ramsey describes the expectations of and challenge for police officers "to protect the Constitutional rights of all people to liberty, equality and justice" and the role of police leaders to ensure that their officers fully understand the nature and significance of this commitment. Ramsey says this "commits us (officers) to a pact with the communities we serve."....more
Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons from Boston
by Edward F. Davis III, Alejandro A. Alves, and David Alan Sklansky
The very timely and effective use of social media in the hours and days following the Boston Marathon bombings may serve as a model for other law enforcement agencies in the United States. A new report, Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons from Boston, spotlights the ways in which the Boston Police Department (BPD) successfully leveraged its social media platform throughout the investigation to keep the community informed and engaged. The report, published as part of the New Perspectives in Policing Series by the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), is co-authored by former BPD Commissioner Edward F. Davis III.
"The Boston Police Department has long embraced both community policing and the use of social media," the report begins. "The department put its experience to good and highly visible use in April 2013 during the dramatic, rapidly developing investigation that followed the deadly explosion of two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon." Davis and co-authors Alejandro A. Alves and David Alan Sklansky identify several key moments following the explosions when the BPD turned to Twitter to communicate critical information. Within one hour of the bombings, they explain, the department had sent out a tweet confirming what had happened along Boylston Street.... more
Police Leadership Challenges in a Changing World
by Anthony W. Batts, Sean Michael Smoot and Ellen Scrivner
Retired Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts, Director and Chief Legal Counsel of the Police Benevolent and Protective Association of Illinois Sean Michael Smoot, and former NIJ Deputy Director Ellen Scrivner examine the impact of new technology and a new generation of police officers on existing police culture. There is a new generation of police recruits entering the profession, with habits and expertise in different areas that can clash with police organizations' traditional paramilitary culture and industrial type bureaucracy. The success of police organizational leaders may depend on how effectively they recognize and adapt to the dynamic characteristics of younger officers.
Police Leadership Challenges in a Changing World argues that these "contemporary employees" present not only leadership challenges, but significant opportunities, as they bring demographically unique attributes to law enforcement that may help it align better with community and citizen expectations. The contemporary employee demonstrates a familiarity with technology and social media; new attitudes towards their role in law enforcement and the community, greater acceptance of diversity; and new expectations regarding autonomy, participation in decision making and flexibility of working conditions. These skill sets, attitudes and expectations are among the competencies needed for 21st century law enforcement....more
Exploring the Role of the Police in Prisoner Reentry
by Jeremy Travis, Ronald Davis and Sarah Lawrence
In this paper John Jay College of Criminal Justice President Jeremy Travis, East Palo Alto Police Chief Ronald Davis, and and University of California, Berkeley School of Law Director of Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy Sarah Lawrence examine the role that police officers have in prisoner reentry in an age with historically high amounts of parolees reentering their communities every day. Traditionally, the police have played little part in facilitating the reentry of prisoners into the community, both because the police have seen their role as limited to the surveillance of probationers and parolees for the violation of the terms of their release or the commission of new crimes and because of a historical lack of trust between organizations that work with returning offenders and law enforcement agencies.
In Exploring the Role of the Police in Prisoner Reentry, the authors argue that police, particularly urban police departments, have a major role to play in prisoner reentry, in part because of high recidivism rates among returning offenders and because of their concentration in some of the poorest, highest crime neighborhoods. Greater involvement of the police in prisoner reentry can promote public safety through more focused problem-oriented policing efforts and increase police legitimacy, particularly in minority communities, through enhanced community policing efforts...more
These papers are from the Executive Session on Policing 1985-1991