A major move by Bratton in his first month back at the helm of the NYPD: Rookie cops will no longer be assigned to anti-crime operations targeting high crime neighborhoods, because, Bratton says, precinct assignments provide a more-rounded post-Police Academy experience. Here’s what else the new policy gets at–an entrenched system where vets land in softer assignments because newbies get assigned to the tough ones (shades of urban public schools); and high-intensity enforcement in poor and minority neighborhoods spearheaded by mostly middle-class rookies–both black and white–who, for the most part, are strangers in a strange land. Talk about a policy that deals with critical variables.
The FBI takes a few star turns in my book Why Law Enforcement Organizations Fail. The reasons for that starring role repeat in this story centered on the FBI’s fatal shooting of an individual being questioned in regard to his relationship with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
If this story was only about Detroit, it wouldn’t be so scary. But imagining that bankruptcy-level financial projections are fixable is almost irresistible to all involved–legislators who don’t want to deliver hard news to supporters, executives who don’t want to be remembered as the captain of the municipal (or state) Titanic, budget and revenue officials who don’t want to bring bad news to their elected bosses. To free-market tea partiers who cluck disapprovingly over governmental sleight of hand, let me say this–Enron, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase.
Yes, there has been a rash of CSI/forensic lab scandals over the past few years, as this NPR story details. Criminal justice system leaders face a structural challenge in overseeing labs whose science is difficult, if not impossible, for them to fathom. And peer accreditation faces an equal challenge if, as this story indicates, reviewers are presented with false “complying” paperwork and empty assertions of the “procedural purity” of the lab’s personnel and practices. I think the piece is on the money in placing accountability with individual labs, whose leaders control the ethical culture of their operations. Though the story features a miscreant lab chemist, local accountability would be better served if her boss’s photos, captioned with “resignation,” highlighted the piece.