Thursday, June 25, 2009

Research needs

One of the sessions I attended after I presented my paper at the National Institute of Justice annual conference last week was titled The View from the Street: Police Leaders’ Perspectives on Research and Policy Issues Facing Law Enforcement. It was well attended, by researchers and academicians. Several police chiefs served on this panel and shared their thoughts: John Batiste from the Washington State Patrol, Ron Serpas from the Nashville PD, Nola Joyce the Chief Administrative Officer from the Philadelphia PD, Russell Laine from the Alquonquin (IL) PD, Mark Marshall from the Smithfield (VA) PD, Kathy Perez from the Bowie (MD) PD.

Here’s the topics that were on the minds of my colleagues: terrorism, active shooters, the impact of the economy on crime, emerging threats from heavily-armed criminals, hate crimes, leadership, personnel management, ethics, police training & education, technology, intelligence sharing. Our professional association, the International Association of Chief’s of Police, has adopted a National Law Enforcement Research Agenda to represent the interests and needs of police chiefs concerning research.

Of all the issues discussed by the panel, police human resources and technology seemed to dominate. Everyone is concerned about the development, implementation, coordination and integration of technology, particularly information technology. Everyone is also concerned about human capital, the recruitment, selection, training, and career cycles of police officers. There are a lot of smart people serving as police chiefs in cities large and small, they are very interested in using quality research to engage in evidence-based policing. This panel was representative of the diversity in U.S. policing, and the commonality of the issues we face.


bekahcubed said...

Yay for evidence-based policing! I'm glad that more and more professions are moving towards evidence-based practice. It's the only way to go.

Anonymous said...


It seems like a lot of violence and crime stems from the prohibition of drugs. Was their anything mentioned on this topic? What is the view shared by your colleagues on this issue.

Tom Casady said...


Wasn't discussed by this panel. While there are some police chiefs who have differing opinions, I think the great majority of us see nothing positive to be gained by legalizing drugs. Is the drug-related violence caused by the illicit drug trade, or the illicit drug use? Both, I fear. And I really doubt that the illicit drug trade would cease to exist if certain kinds of drug offenses were decriminalized. Just my opinion, though.

Anonymous said...

Alcohol was illegal during the Prohibition Era. Organized crime flourished because of the enormous profits that could be made in illegal booze. Probably similar to the amounts of money being spent on illegal drugs of today like MJ, Crack, Cocaine, Heroin and Meth.

Alcohol has been legal for several decades now but we see a lot of crimes committed by abusers. The HUGE difference now that alcohol is LEGAL is that organized crime is not involved in it in a big way. I would expect legalizing MJ, cocaine and maybe even Heroin to decrease organized crimes involvement. Heroin addiction CAN be treated medically.

Meth, Crack, PCP and certain other drugs are just too DANGEROUS to ever be legalized in my opinion. Anyone agree with my assessment of the situation?

Gun Nut

Steve said...

I would hesitate to predict the effect of legalizing currently prohibited recreational drugs. It would seem logical that there would be some reduction in crime. However, a lot of the crime you read about now that is related to drugs has to do with dealers fighting amongst themselves. If it weren't for the fact that some innocent bystanders might get hurt, I'd say let 'em shoot eachother and don't even bother investigating.

Of the other drug-related crimes, they consist mostly of users stealing the drugs or something they can sell or trade to get drugs.

Both of these aspects of drug-related crime might go away, or be significantly reduced by legalizing the drugs. That is assuming that the price and availability are adequate.

Still, cigarettes and booze have been legal for a long time, and you read nearly everyday about someone who stole cigarettes and/or booze. And, there are still black markets in both to avoid the taxes on them. It's difficult to believe the same wouldn't be true for other drugs if we legalized and taxed them.

Then, there are the crimes commited, or accidents caused by users who are high on the drugs. These are far more likely to result in innocent people getting hurt, and unfortunately, are probably more likely to happen, assuming increased drug use as the result of legalization.

Finally, there is another cost to society in the form of lost productivity, domestic problems, and other non-crime effects of drug use that might also increase were we to make recreational drugs legal. Remember, making them legal doesn't make them any less addictive.

Anonymous said...

First, what type of message does this send to kids or other countries - we are okay with exreme mind altering substances because we don't want to work against the criminal element... Sad.

I believe the crimes committed surrounding drug aquisition and use are a function of the person and their prospective in society - not a function of legality.

Idiots still steal food - and it has always been legal. They steal because they can't figure out the soup kitchen less than a mile away closes in 2 minutes. They have no respect or regard for the store, its owners, or employees (society in general).

If you have ever studied the "medical" treatment of drug addictions, you will find most do NOT work for even a short period and if they work long term, most patients are then addicted to the treatment instead of the illegal drug. Most "treatments" are no better than the illegal counter part, leaving the patient incoherent or able to function.

Legalizing drugs or turning a blind eye is pure junk.