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To Knock or Not to Knock

November 9, 2020

 

Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman from Louisville, Kentucky, was shot to death by police shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, in the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. The police had a no-knock warrant and entered with a battering ram to search for evidence of drug dealing; none was found.  A Kentucky grand jury indicted former detective of the Louisville Police Department, Brett Hankison, on charges of reckless endangerment for his role in the raid. No charges were filed against Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, the two officers who fired shots inside the apartment. This has spurred a nationwide discussion of the use of no-knock warrants—and reforms that might prevent unnecessary death and injury in the future. (more…)

 

Accuracy of Drug Recognition Evaluations

October 5, 2020

Carol Stream police Sgt. Brian Cluever pulls over a motorist in
Carol Stream on Dec. 7, 2017. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

With the legalization of medicinal marijuana in 33 states (plus D.C.) and 11 states (plus D.C.) where recreational marijuana is legal, it has become necessary for police to be able to evaluate individuals based on suspicion of impaired driving due to drug use. A Drug recognition expert or drug recognition evaluator (DRE) is a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.

The Los Angeles Police Department originated the program in the early 1970s, when LAPD officers noticed that many of the individuals arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) had very low or zero alcohol concentrations. The officers reasonably suspected that the arrestees were under the influence of drugs but lacked the knowledge and skills to support their suspicions. In response, two LAPD sergeants collaborated with various medical doctors, research psychologists, and other medical professionals to develop a simple, standardized procedure for recognizing drug influence and impairment. Their efforts culminated in the development of a multi-step protocol and the first DRE program. The LAPD formally recognized the program in 1979.

The LAPD DRE program attracted NHTSA’s attention in the early 1980s. The two agencies collaborated to develop a standardized DRE protocol, which led to the development of the DEC Program. During the ensuing years, NHTSA and various other agencies and research groups examined the DEC Program. Their studies demonstrated that a properly trained DRE can successfully identify drug impairment and accurately determine the category of drugs causing such impairment.

How Do Police Determine Whether a Driver Is Under the Influence?

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To Serve and Protect

July 6, 2020

Law enforcement is an integral part of our communities.  They ensure justice for over 8 million crimes a year and are responsible for 10 million arrests per year. Respect for police has been waning in recent years as methods of enforcement are increasingly called into question.  The perception of police as overzealous and abusive has eroded public trust and confidence.

In the last decade, 85,000 police officers have been investigated.  Reporters from USA TODAY and the nonprofit invisible Institute spent more than a year compiling records of police misconduct throughout the United States.

The records obtained include more than 110,000 internal affairs investigations by hundreds of individual departments and more than 30,000 officers who were decertified by 44 state oversight agencies. (more…)