Criminal Justice News

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ten Police Management Issues for 2018

This list was based on an analysis of over 20,000 news stories in 2017.  While the information is somewhat anecdotal, and the examination of the new stories was, at times, cursory, the listed issues listed were raised continuously throughout the year.  The purpose of this list is to create conversations among law enforcement officials about these issues. 

1. Officer-Involved-Shootings:
These high-profile events seem to have four common concerns. First, is the investigation conducted internally or externally.  Closely related to that issue is the public perception of a lack of transparency.  Third, was the suspect armed with a firearm or other deadly weapon, or were they un-armed.  Lastly, an emerging topic on conversation is the police tactics which precipitated the event.   

2. Body-Worn Cameras:
Implementation continues to be an area of conversation.  Underlying the implementation are two major policy concerns:  When is the camera activated; and, 2) Releasing the video.  Less discussed, but emerging, are questions on retention of video archives and redaction of information from same during release.

3. Opioids:
In response to opioid related overdoses and deaths, more police officers are becoming emergency medical first responders with anti-overdose drugs such as Narcan.  Moreover, issues such as treatment over incarceration are becoming more prevalent.  

4. Active Shooters/Mass Casualty Shootings:
Police agencies are increasing and refining their training to respond to these events.   There seems to be a trend of police agencies identifying and reaching out to “soft-targets” and providing information for location security and site-specific training.

5. Legalized Marijuana:
The current focus is police agencies looking for technologies and training that will enable their officers to detect impaired driving.  Looming in the background is police response to public consumption (such as complaints about your neighbor’s smoke) and internal policies.  In the future, what will be the standard for recruit police officer “recreational use?”  And, in the not-so-distant future, what will be the policy for sworn employees off-duty use of a legal substance?

6. Vehicle Pursuits:
Public reaction to the sometimes tragic consequences of vehicle pursuits has yet to rise to the level of reaction to questionable officer-involved-shootings.  In addition to police agencies continuing to provide policy guidance, officer training and on-scene supervision, the search for a technology to minimize risk continues.

7. Immigration:
Policies concerning the identification of undocumented persons in police custody varies widely.  Additionally, organizational policies concerning cooperation with Federal authorities also varies. It appears that police managers are going to continue to struggle to find a balance between engendering community cooperation with an under-served and vulnerable population and ensuring undocumented persons who commit crimes are properly processed. 

8. DNA Evidence:
The number of jurisdictions allowing for the sampling of DNA of arrested persons increased slightly in 2017.  DNA databases are going to get larger and the focus on retaining DNA related evidence at crime scenes (including relatively minor crimes) is going to increase.  Policies, training and facilities for evidence storage are going to have increase, also.

9. Intelligence-led Policing:
This issue was a strong undercurrent in many law enforcement related news stories.   From the actual technologies (crime analysis to gunshot detection) to policy and practical responses.  Among the policies/practice issues are the efficacy of zero-tolerance in high-crime areas and police deployment practices in response to “spikes” and “trends.”

10.  Human Trafficking:
The language and community perceptions around human trafficking seemed to have evolved quickly in 2017.  Police managers  will likely re-visit their “vice unit” policies and practices in the next 12 months; turning from the idea of criminals to victims.   
About the Author:
Information about Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.) can be found at Police Consultant.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty in Multi-State Dog Fighting Prosecution

A North Carolina man pleaded guilty to federal dog fighting and conspiracy charges yesterday, announced United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin and Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Brexton Redell Lloyd, 54, of Eagle Springs, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy and two felony counts of possession and training a dog intended for use in an animal fighting venture, contrary to the animal fighting provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to documents filed with the court, Lloyd participated with Justin “Jay” Love and others in a multi-state dog fighting conspiracy. These documents describe Lloyd and Love’s attempt to set up a dog fight between Lloyd and an unknown opponent in October 2015 and Lloyd’s breeding and training activities. Court documents further note that earlier this year, agents seized thirteen pit bull-type dogs from Lloyd’s residence. Ten of the dogs were secured outdoors by excessive chains, wearing thick collars, and positioned so that each dog was out of reach of any other dog. The other dogs were housed individually in pens. The water in the dogs’ bowls was frozen. Two of the four adult dogs seized exhibited scars consistent with dog fighting, and a third adult dog had four fractured teeth. In addition to the dogs, agents seized items related to training dogs for dog fighting purposes, including: a spring pole, a dog harness, and a hanging scale. Agents also seized veterinary supplies, including: intravenous fluids, intravenous administration sets stated for “Veterinary Use Only,” injectable and other antibiotics, a 100-count package of syringes, blood clotting medications such as Blood Stop Powder, and a skin stapler. 

“Organized crime has no place in North Carolina or the United States – and dog fighting of this sort is nothing short of organized crime. Our law enforcement partners at the Department of Agriculture, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, and the N.C. State Highway Patrol demonstrated exceptional coordination in bringing this defendant to justice,” said United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin for the Middle District of North Carolina.

“Yesterday’s guilty plea and our continuing efforts to investigate and prosecute these cases send a strong message that our justice system will not tolerate the torment and death of animals in the fighting ring, all for the sake of illegal gambling,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General. “Federal law is clear on this point and will continue to be enforced.”

“The provisions of the Animal Welfare Act were designed to protect animals from being used in illegal fighting ventures, which often entail other forms of criminal activity involving drugs, firearms and gambling,” said Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General. “Together with the Department of Justice, animal fighting is an investigative priority for USDA OIG, and we will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and assist in the criminal prosecution of those who participate in animal fighting ventures.”

This case is part of Operation Grand Champion, a coordinated effort across numerous federal judicial districts to combat organized dog fighting. The phrase “Grand Champion” is used by dog fighters to refer to a dog with more than five dog fighting “victories.” To date, over one hundred dogs have been rescued as part of Operation Grand Champion, and either surrendered or forfeited to the government. The Humane Society of the United States assisted with the care of the dogs seized by federal law enforcement.

This case was investigated by USDA-OIG and FBI, with assistance from the Moore County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney JoAnna G. McFadden and Trial Attorney Erica H. Pencak of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section Environmental Crimes Section.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fugitive Of The Week” Arrested By Task Force Partners At Strafford County Sheriff’s Office

CONCORD, NH – Last evening, “Fugitive of the Week,” Nicholas LaPanne, 44, was arrested by our task force partners from the Strafford County Sheriff’s Office. This arrest was possible after information was developed by officers from the Strafford Police Department, which was relayed late yesterday afternoon.  This information was further researched, leading a team of deputies to a motel located on Milton Road in Rochester, NH.  Lapanne was located inside aroom, were he was staying using a relatives name.   

Mr. Lapanne had been wanted on an arrest warrant for bail violations stemming from an original charge of reckless conduct.  LaPanne was transported to the Strafford County Jail, where he will be held pending his initial court appearance at Strafford Superior Court.

Nicholas LaPanne had been featured as the “Fugitive of the Week” on December 6, 2017. The “Fugitive of the Week” had been aired on WTPL-FM, WMUR-TV, The Union Leader, The Nashua Telegraph, The Patch, Foster’s Daily Democrat, Manchester Information, the Manchester Ink Link and prominently featured on the internet. The “Fugitive of the Week” has been a very successful tool that has resulted in the location and arrest of numerous fugitives since its implementation in 2007.  Additionally, the “Fugitive of the Week” is distributed statewide to all law enforcement officers.

Since the inception of the New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force in 2002, these partnerships have resulted in over 7,029 arrests (Updated as of 12/18/2017). These arrests have ranged in seriousness from murder, assault, unregistered sex offenders, probation and parole violations and numerous other serious offenses. Nationally the United States Marshals Service fugitive programs are carried out with local law enforcement in 94 district offices, 85 local fugitive task forces, 8 regional task forces, as well as a growing network of offices in foreign countries.