FOP Vigilance on the Fake News Front




As some of you may have seen in the past week, Antigravity Magazine recently published a story (Get Behind the Mask, February 2017) disparaging the Fraternal Order of Police and law enforcement generally. Most importantly, author Jules Bentley leveled a serious allegation directed at a fictitious NOPD officer in her feature.

While I in no way wish to legitimize this fringe publication, it is troubling to consider that this writer is also a frequent contributor to Gambit Weekly. The FOP takes seriously the growing number of platforms in which conspiracy theorists spread nonsense and outright falsehoods that damage our relationship with the communities we serve. In such instances I make no distinction between legitimate media and this gratis alternative rag – if it has a circulation, the editorial board has a responsibility to fact-check. If they refuse to fact-check, the FOP will step in to rebuke such openly false claims.

Bentley’s incoherent stream-of-consciousness story makes little sense as it weaves between Nazis, police, and untruthful allegations of police misconduct during recent anti-Trump protests; the relevant excerpt can be found in the initial message of the email chain pasted below.

As always, the Fraternal Order of Police, New Orleans, remains vigilant in protecting our members (both real and fictional) and our profession from outright lies and we believe our duty to do so applies especially when such allegations are made in a public forum. While the exchange is humorous, keep in mind that at least some number of readers of this magazine believe this is journalism and the claims to be factual.


To: Jules Bentley and Editorial Board, Antigravity Magazine (February 9, 2017)

From: Jacob Lundy, Fraternal Order of Police

In re: Get Behind the Mask, February 2017
The Fraternal Order of Police; New Orleans, requests this publication issue a retraction to the above captioned story produced by Jules Bentley for the February 2017 print edition.
The story contains the following graf; “‘Turn off your body cameras,’ NOPD’s Brian Mcadam yelled to other officers as he waded into the anti-Trump crowd that fateful Friday night, grabbing for and indiscriminately whaling on every non-cop within reach.”
In Ms. Bentley’s colorful account of this criminal act, the story references a fictitious employee, Brian Mcadam, who is neither a current or past police officer of this jurisdiction.
While your magazine does not hold itself out as journalism (clearly), it is no less reckless to pander such falsehoods to inadvertent consumers of satire who are not at all aware of the difference. Such wild assertions are tantamount to my callously referring to Ms. Bentley as a writer, without regard for the truth of the matter.
If your interns insist on venturing into print, perhaps they should spread their wings at the Hullaballoo, where they can be monitored by a more experienced editorial board.
Jacob Lundy
Fraternal Order of Police
Policy Advisor, State of Louisiana
Policy Advisor, New Orleans
Member, Louisiana Legislative Committee
Member, National Legislative Committee
From: Jules Bentley (cc Editorial Board
To: Jacob Lundy, Fraternal Order of Police
oh word what’s mcadam’s first name then? happy to correct that
p.s. “pander” doesn’t take a direct object without the preposition “to.”
p.p.s. louis ackal
From: Jacob Lundy, Fraternal Order of Police
To: Jules Bentley (cc Editorial Board)
No one with the surname “Mcadam” is employed by the City of New Orleans, in any division or department. That isn’t a correction, it’s a retraction.
 (No one from Antigravity Magazine has responded to the last email.)



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From; FOP NOLA Policy Committee

RE: Violence in Dallas 07/07/2016

We encourage officers to keep the following points in mind given current events;

Monitor your messages daily for FUSION and FBI intelligence bulletins and READ them. There will likely be a surge in open-source and other intelligence in the next several days.

Make every effort to partner/stack when possible and be vigilant when responding to suspicious sounding calls for service (use your dispatchers to your advantage if you get a suspicious sounding call before rushing into something; get your call-back if something doesn’t sound right).

Wear your vests at all times and ensure those around you are wearing a vest.

Please keep in mind that relentless media coverage can motivate violent ideation.

Do not perform administrative tasks in your unit while in a vulnerable position (blind spots, open spaces, etc.).

Lastly, please keep in mind that we have more support from our diverse community in New Orleans than we often realize; do not let the actions of a handful of people across the nation affect your relationship with THIS community. Honor those we lost in Dallas by remembering why we do this job, even in our most difficult days.

Keep up the excellent work NOPD, and watch each other’s six.






Investment Primer for Criminal Justice Professionals


When considering or discussing investment options and strategies for criminal justice professionals, one thing stands out immediately; whether you’re an attorney stuck in the courtroom until 8:00pm each night or a police officer assigned to the night watch, few of us have the free time necessary to navigate today’s complex financial markets. Simultaneously, new police officers and new prosecutors who start their careers in the low to mid $40’s do not typically have the assets to justify paying a growing number of full service advisors (many firms simply will not open new accounts below certain minimums). Those who attempt to venture into the shallow end of the modern investing world are usually overwhelmed with esoteric information. The typical family saving for retirement does not need to know what the VIX is, or the price of June WTI crude oil futures, and they certainly do not get up at 5:00am to get a feel for the Asian trading day and direction of U.S. pre-market trading prior to the open.

So, what’s a cop to do?
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FOP’s week on Capitol Hill

This past week FOP representatives from across the nation flew to Washington DC for the annual “Day on the Hill” event where the FOP’s national legislative agenda is discussed with members of the House and Senate. With 300,000+ members nationwide, a lobby presence, and state and national legislative offices, the FOP is often able to gain support for, and advance legislation that benefits those who serve this nation in law enforcement and public safety generally.


Louisiana 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham, MD

Fraternal Order of Police Louisiana representatives included Darrel Basco, State President; Patrick Yoes, National Secretary; Dawn Powell, State Legislative Committee Chair; James Gallagher, Secretary-Treasurer; and myself, Jacob Lundy, Policy Chairman. Meetings throughout the week included Congressman John Flemming (R); Congressman Charles Boustany (R); Congressman Cedric Richmond (D); Senator Bill Cassidy (R); Senator David Vitter (R); Congressman Steve Scalise (R); Congressman Ralph Abraham (R), and Congressman Garrett Graves (R).

The 2016 FOP national legislative agenda was discussed throughout the week (details below), however FOP Louisiana and FOP New Orleans would like to point out that the murder of Officer Ashley Guindon in nearby Prince William County Virginia on February 27 during her first day on the job dominated talk in Washington and FOP addressed the anti-law enforcement climate around the nation and its effects on public safety with all members of congress from the beginning.

All representatives were predictably alarmed and engaged on this topic and pledged their support in helping to guide discourse in a reasonable and constructive direction, both in Washington and via national media. Our representatives also openly acknowledged their concern over what appears to be a national police recruiting drought with growing vacancies and increasing delays in calls for help as a result of the current climate.

I should make special mention here that each and every member of Congress personally sent their sincere thanks to the men and women of Louisiana law enforcement who continue to serve their communities day in and day out.




Candid discussions of public safety, criminal justice, and law enforcement specific issues took place during the week with members of congress, many of whom sought FOP’s input on their own agenda items currently underway (body cameras, sentencing reform, opiate/opioid legislation, etc).

FOP’s national legislative agenda for 2016 included the following items of note for Louisiana members;

  • H.R. 973/S. 1651 the “Social Security Fairness Act,” FOP sought and received considerable support for restoring full social security benefits for law enforcement officers who pay into social security via details and additional side-employment throughout their careers but are denied full benefits at retirement
  • Enact S. 125/H.R. 228 to reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program which would provide for matching federal funds in purchasing body armor for state and local law enforcement
  • Support for restoration of the Department of Defense 1033 Surplus Equipment Program. As everyone knows, a single media event resulted in the knee-jerk decision to kill the 1033 program which provides demilitarized equipment to state and local law enforcement; equipment most commonly used to rescue victims of natural disasters or respond to active shooter scenarios – most recently to safely neutralize two well-armed terrorists in San Bernardino following a mass casualty shooting
  • Full funding of the COPS hiring and other grant programs
  • Full funding of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) Programs

All national agenda items received overwhelming support from our representatives, many of whom requested follow-up from the FOP’s national legislative office in Washington DC.


Louisiana 4th District Congressman John Flemming, MD

In addition to scheduled agenda items, Jim Gallagher and Jacob Lundy were asked to meet with Congressman Cedric Richmond outside of the in-progress House Judiciary Committee hearing on the FBI-Apple debate where we provided input to Congressman Richmond on FOP’s general position as well our direct experience negotiating such obstacles in the course of major felony investigations, namely homicides. Our discussion with Congressman Richmond may be seen on Canal+ television. It is worth noting just after our meeting with Congressman Richmond at the House Judiciary Committee hearing that East Baton Rouge District Attorney  Hillar Moore was scheduled to testify on the murder of Brittney Mills, 29, pregnant at the time of her murder, and whose case may hinge on the contents of an Apple product currently inaccessible to law enforcement.

FOP also discussed and voiced opposition to the recently published Police Executive Research Forum’s paper Use of Force: Taking Policing to a Higher Standard, which, among other items, seeks to abandon 30 years of guiding Supreme Court jurisprudence on the objective reasonableness standard established in Graham v. Connor. While FOP pointed out that the paper contains some items all can agree on, and that law enforcement has and always will strive to improve training – the idealism in the PERF document reflects just how untenable law enforcement employment has become. The PERF document and discussions on its premise highlight the ever growing trend of ignoring social issues until they must be confronted by law enforcement, often during violent encounters, only to have law enforcement take the blame for decades of social neglect by all other stakeholders.


Senator Bill Cassidy

Overall, FOP representatives nationwide, including Louisiana, described 2016’s Day on the Hill as very productive and engaging. Law enforcement and pubic safety generally were very much on the agenda in Washington DC, a city which has lost 800 police officers since 2014 and saw a 50% increase in homicides through 2015. All parties however expressed their commitment to turning that phenomenon around in future.



FOP Louisiana and FOP New Orleans would like to thank the following for their support during 2016’s Day on the Hill;

  • All members of Congress listed above, as well as their respective legislative staff members
  • Chuck Canterbury, FOP National President
  • Andy Maybo, Capitol Police Department, President FOP Lodge 1 Washington DC
  • All members of the Capitol Police Department
  • Josh Hodges, National Security Policy Advisor – Senator Vitter
  • Jim Pasco, Executive Director FOP Legislative Office, Washington DC
  • Robert Jenkins, President William Nichols Lodge 8, Miami FL
  • Captain David Bernhardt, FOP West Palm Beach FL

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Louisiana’s Future with Body Worn Cameras

by Jacob Lundy

As always, FOP New Orleans strives to keep members ahead of the curve when it comes to changes in law and policy; both of which seem to occur with considerable frequency in recent years.

As all members of the New Orleans Police Department are aware; we have yet to see any of our body worn camera videos on the evening news. Whether you think that’s a good or a bad thing, it is likely to change in the future. Given events in Chicago over the past several months, combined with the general direction of criminal justice transparency it seems likely that all body worn camera-equipped agencies nationwide will be forced to contend with the public’s desire to see what all these cameras are recording sooner or later. NOPD, for good reason, hastened the implementation of body camera use for the obvious benefits they provide to both police officers and citizens. Clearly, the idea was to get body cameras out into the field as quickly as possible and revisit aspects of Policy 447 (BWC) as needed. As with an ever increasing number of other states, Louisiana state law may soon dictate how and when such videos are made available to the public – among a number of other issues related to managing a body worn camera program.


The State Legislature has convened a body worn camera task force with the aim of submitting a final report on a variety of concerns related to the possibility of state-wide implementation of body worn cameras. As you might expect, FOP has a seat on the Louisiana Legislature Law Enforcement Task Force for Body Camera Implementation

While body worn cameras are nothing new to NOPD; public release of footage would add another dimension to the now ubiquitous workplace devices and FOP intends to prepare its membership for the corresponding challenges. While a finalized state law could be quite a ways down the road, NOPD continues to transform into an agency of national firsts; FOP would not be surprised to see the department blaze its own trail ahead of the legislature in this arena. Regardless, FOP New Orleans would suggest officers assume today that all videos generated will be subject to public viewing. All of us at NOPD have been working over the past two years with the understanding that all issues of policy and law, from courtesy to use of force, can and will be reviewed via body camera footage by PIB, the FBI, FIT, OCDM, and the IPM (I believe that’s all of them). The men and women of NOPD have embraced the technology and far exceeded expectations in both implementation and performance. Regardless of the department’s exceptional performance, under any new public release law or policy a primary concern of lodge attorney Donovan Livaccari are the implications of actions and statements made between officers during and immediately following critical incidents which were formerly analyzed only by field experts. Members are reminded that a side effect of such transparency is that your actions are likely to be subjectively analyzed, often out of context, by any number of pundits for whom controversy = revenue. Your detractors are not necessarily influenced by the guiding principles of Graham v. Connor. Officers should remain cognizant that all statements made immediately following highly stressful encounters on body camera are indelible and have the ability to shape post hoc analysis of critical incidents. There is really no reason to be ambiguous on this topic; while engaged in the scope of your employment, should you become involved in a major use of force, however justified, you will become a de facto suspect in a criminal investigation. This is a practical FYI for all FOP members who are negotiating a rapidly changing law enforcement environment where literally everything you say and do is recorded – and may soon be at the top of the 5 o’clock news. FOP representatives will be making the rounds in the near future to discuss legal, privacy, and policy concerns with members.

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First meeting of the State Legislature Body Camera Task Force

As referenced above, the Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Legislature Law Enforcement Task Force for Body Camera Implementation in late 2015 which is comprised of various experts from state and local law enforcement, attorneys, ACLU and NAACP representatives, mayors, Darrell Basco (President of the Louisiana FOP), and is chaired by Franz Borghardt (criminal defense attorney, Baton Rouge). I spoke with Chairman Borghardt in Baton Rouge following the first meeting of the committee for some background and details on the work ahead, keeping in mind any eventual state legislation will certainly apply to NOPD and guide our continued use of the technology.

Chairman Borghardt on the creation of the task force; “the legislature, in HCR 180 (2015 R.S.), created the task force to study and make recommendations regarding requirements for the development and implementation of policies and procedures for the use of body cameras by law enforcement. This came from a House concurrent resolution by Representative Honore and Senator Broome as a response to legislation that was proposed to mandate, by law, the required use of the devices. The task force’s continued existence is governed by resolution and the task force itself serves at the pleasure of the Louisiana Legislature.” Borghardt continued, “the ultimate goal of the task force is to make an informed and well thought out proposal to the Louisiana Legislature with regard to the implementation and use of body cameras in Louisiana. This includes policies and procedures on implementation, considerations for privacy rights and officer safety, effects on public records law, data storage, and cost considerations.”

To-date the task force has met once for public discussion, a review of the goals of the committee, and homework was assigned to all members for research and input from their respective bodies/agencies to be submitted at future meetings. The committee will reconvene in March 2016.


Some early discussions of the committee have been focused on a constitutional issue surrounding any mandate that all agencies in Louisiana implement body cameras; under Louisiana’s constitution, the state cannot mandate municipalities implement body cameras without paying for them. I think everyone would agree the state is in no position financially to pay for several thousand body cameras and incur the cost of maintenance and storage. The state does have the option of something called an unfunded mandate, meaning the legislature could require municipalities to implement body cameras at their own cost; those that do not would have state funding in some other area cut (remember when the federal government “suggested” Louisiana raise the drinking age from 18 to 21 or they would cut federal highway dollars = unfunded mandate). This avenue seems unlikely, however. On this particular issue, committee Chairman Franz Borghardt said “legislation that creates an unfunded mandate would likely be something that all parties involved would like to avoid.” What route the state takes in requiring or suggesting all police agencies adopt body cameras remains to be seen, Borghardt identified “long term cost of data storage” as one of the biggest perceived obstacles to state-wide implementation.

Beyond state mandates and associated costs, the most contentious item seems to be the host of privacy issues that surface with body camera use. This includes everything from front-end privacy concerns (can a citizen request an officer turn off his/her camera in their residence, filming in hospitals/schools, etc.) to back-end issues such as release of videos pursuant to records requests – the committee is also discussing whether our current public records law infrastructure would apply to camera footage as-is.


FullSizeRender 6Recently committee Chairman Franz Borghardt, Louisiana FOP President Darrell Basco, and others appeared as panelists on the Louisiana Public Square television show in Baton Rouge to discuss the committee’s work and common concerns about body cameras. FOP New Orleans also participated in the discussion on behalf of members to voice lodge concerns. We recommend viewing the show to get a state-wide gauge for the direction of body cameras in Louisiana (watch the show by clicking this link).

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In addition to formulating FOP’s official position on specific points on the commitee’s agenda, FOP President Basco cautioned the committee against hasty legislation that could potentially negatively impact both officers and the public. President Basco is advocating for a thorough review of existing state law elsewhere; the successes and failures of legislation in other states, carefully considering Louisiana’s privacy concerns, and preparing a proposal for a future session so that all members of the committee feel confident in any end result legislation.

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All members of the task force, including the FOP, are sourcing model legislation and existing research and data for submission to the committee. Representatives from New Orleans will also be giving a presentation to the committee on our city’s two years of experience with body worn cameras including the various pros  and cons over that time.

Members wishing to see the direction other states have paved in this area can refer to The Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press site which includes an interactive map with links to each state’s body camera laws (both existing and in-progress legislation). Also worth reading; the Department of Justice/Police Executive Research Forum study “Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program; Recommendations and Lessons Learned”.

Regardless of existing data and research, Chairman Borghardt appropriately points out that “it is evident that the implementation of body cameras, in as much as policy and procedures can be enacted, will also require organic growth in understanding unforeseen issues with their use.”

As FOP New Orleans’ policy chair, I can report with confidence from the legislative committee to ongoing discussions in Baton Rouge; there is overwhelming support for body cameras across Louisiana but no consensus on when and how videos should be made public.

Additional articles/studies and relevant law can be found in the hyperlinks below;

Louisiana Title 44.1 et seq Public Records Louisiana Revised Statutes

7 Findings from First Ever Study on Body Cameras

Growing use of Police Body Cameras Raises Privacy Concerns Los Angeles Times

Use of Force Reporting Guide and Checklist Signal108, Donovan Livacarri

Editorializing the Editorial


These days newspapers (or their digital equivalents) are judged by “clicks;” web traffic, the number of hits a particular story receives over its brief lifespan. Driving clicks is accomplished by a number of tactics, chief of which are; search engine optimization (a process of imbedding relevant keyword and phrases on the website, editing meta tags, and image tags to improve a site’s ranking in search engine responses), and an increasingly employed tactic, even among respected outlets, of misleading headlines or “click bait” headlines.

Every so often, we hear of law enforcement agencies in medium-to-large sized cities accused of yielding to the unending pressure to lower crime by manipulating crime stats in our own version of “click” accounting; the public’s concern with this phenomenon, if it has occurred, is understandable. We need reliable accounts of offenses and attempted offenses to respond appropriately to crime and to keep our citizens apprised of our effectiveness. I think it is fair to say the public has a reasonable expectation, a right, that whatever crime numbers their police departments are publishing annually should be accurate.


Can we, should we expect the same of our news outlets? Accuracy. Can we expect that, under similar intense pressure to “drive the numbers,” reporters adhere to strict rules of accuracy and fairness; that their product is generally reflective of the truth? Reporters perform an important function in a democracy. The Fourth Estate keeps government in check, informs the public, and can by proxy hold corrupt practitioners accountable.

Besides reporting and collecting crime numbers, every police officer within an organization is expected to accurately depict what he or she has observed on a particular crime scene in an incident report. Often in detailed, multi-page homicide supplemental reports, I may be compelled to issue an opinion as to the perceived truthfulness of a witness or suspect interviewed; in such cases I am required to back this opinion with specific and accredited training I have received in identifying dishonest behavior.

While no codified rules exist, news agencies are subject to intense accuracy scrutiny, self-enforced by the threat of the dreaded correction or even banishment from the industry altogether; which, I should note, is overwhelmingly effective. It is no secret that law enforcement officers suffer greatly as a whole when corruption of a handful, or even one colleague is uncovered – do other professions suffer the same fate; this collateral profession-wide fallout from the actions of a few? When Rolling Stone Magazine ran with the sensational story of an horrendous sexual assault on the University of Virginia’s campus which was reliant on a single source and the outlet failed at every turn to fact check, a story that was subsequently debunked; the Rolling Stone’s reputation collapsed instantly. Did Rolling Stone’s collapse take journalism with it? Did widespread national skepticism of all reporting ensue?

There is an outlet in both print and television not subject to such fact scrutiny, where opinions roam free; the editorial. Editorials can be dangerous. Widely distributed, emblazoned with the outlet’s marquis (effectively a stamp of approval), and often given misleading headlines backed with dubious observations; editorials are mixed among, and increasingly within the days’ news. Editorials can propagate ideas that are not synonymous with news or truth.

I would not purport to take issue with the existence of editorials; I read them often, and I am currently writing this editorial – but with such privilege comes great responsibility – a sentiment often heard in reference to the privilege of carrying a badge. On Saturday November 14, Jarvis DeBerry published the headline Is ‘shoot first’ police culture to blame for Marksville boy’s death? on the Times Picayune/ website. The headline itself is in line with hundreds of similar editorials in recent years around the country; but is the statement accurate, or indeed responsible? After the Rolling Stone debacle I don’t recall being inundated with “Journalism’s ‘write first, fact check later’ culture” headlines.

Whatever happened in Marksville is a tragedy beyond belief which is being thoroughly investigated by the Louisiana State Police, a competent and highly respected agency. Thanks to to the Fourth Estate and dedicated reporting, we know that whatever occurred in Marksville was captured on a body-worn camera.

In the editorial DeBerry describes a Supreme Court ruling, specifically the dissenting opinion of Justice Sonia Sotomayor about the shooting death of a fleeing suspect in Texas who reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour and told a dispatcher that he would “shoot the police if they didn’t back off.” DeBerry’s story relates this dissenting opinion about the “‘shoot first, think later’ approach to policing” (Sotomayor’s words, borrowed by DeBerry) to the Marksville shooting here in Louisiana in a broad brush stroke about the seeming propensity of law enforcement everywhere to spray gunfire across great swaths of public space in an abundance of caution when interacting with suspects who are overwhelmingly harmless.

In my editorial I wanted to talk about risk and accuracy; both real and imagined, in the era of the “shoot first, think later” approach to policing. No domestic group is more acclimated to risk perception than law enforcement. Every encounter, every vehicle stop, every building search; law enforcement officers are constantly assessing risk and behavior. Officers are consumed in real-risk scenarios by blind corners, fatal funnels, back lighting, mapping, and cross-fire. Perhaps no one is more misled by risk and probability than consumers of media. For every well publicized police shooting, every negative encounter that grabs headlines – there are thousands of highly volatile dangerous encounters, often involving firearms, that our police officers successfully deescalate each and every hour of the day that the public will know nothing about. The public will never know how many times I have almost lost my life in alleyways and streets all across the Big Easy, nor the similar stories of all 1,100 of my coworkers; the thousands of violent crimes, near-suicides, or accidents we have intervened in or prevented…all lost to anonymity and time.


A number of America’s most well known economists and behavioral economists write extensively on just how bad human beings are at estimating risk and probabilities. “We worry about some things more than the evidence warrants (vaccines, nuclear radiation, genetically modified food), and less about some threats than the evidence warns (climate change, obesity, using our mobiles when we drive).” Something author David Ropeik termed the perception gap; the gap between our fears and the facts, which is a huge risk in and of itself. “The Perception Gap produces dangerous personal choices that hurt us and those around us, and it produces social policies that protect us more from what we’re afraid of than from what in fact threatens us the most.” (Ropeik, David; Ropeik and Associates)

In fact, Ropeik wrote a salient piece on how this phenomenon affects reporters and how incessant coverage can inflate perceived danger in Journalists can be seduced by aspects of risk, where Ropeik says “The same risk perception factors that trigger fear in those who consume the news trigger interest in the people who report it. For reporters, these ‘fear factors’ are characteristic of a story that has a better chance of making the front page or the top of a news broadcast. For editors and producers hungry to increase the number of readers or viewers, these factors identify stories that might grab more attention.” (Ropeik, David. Nieman Reports 56.4 [Winter 2002]: 51)


How does this play out in real life? Perhaps innocuously much of the time, but sometimes the results can be troubling. Flawed human assessment of risk resulted in an additional 1.4 million people traveling by automobile following the September 11 terrorist attacks due to concern over air safety. The increase in surface transportation led to one thousand additional roadway fatalities (Szalavitz, Maia; January 2008. 10 Ways We Get the Odds Wrong, Psychology Today).

To quote perhaps America’s best known economists, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, “When it comes to evaluating risks, people stink for all sorts of reasons – from cognitive biases to the media’s emphasis on rare events” (Levitt, Steven and Dubner, Stephen; 2015   When to Rob a Bank p. 101). People become fixated on dramatic, albeit rare events that receive inordinate media coverage – which translates to fear. Throw into this equation that analysts have pointed to a troubling and growing trend in the 24 hour news cycle; it is becoming much more difficult to distinguish between news and entertainment, fact and opinion….reports and editorials.

So the question remains; is there a “shoot first” police culture in America? Fugitive Travis Boys was taken into police custody after being on the run in New Orleans after what was described as overwhelming evidence that he murdered beloved 5th District police officer Daryle Holloway. Recently, New Orleans police officers apprehended a suspect wearing a bullet proof vest who robbed three local convenience stores with an AK-47 assault rifle, firing the weapon at one store owner – not only was the suspect not killed by police, he was not injured. This is hardly in keeping with the “culture.” It is clear that tragedies happen at the hands of law enforcement; mistakes, even criminal or criminally negligent actions occur in U.S. policing. In a world of split second decision making, a gun for every man, woman, and child in the country, and nearly one million law enforcement officers constantly interacting with citizens; training on making appropriate decisions about use of force and reducing use of force is ever increasing.

What do the national numbers suggest about this culture? As readers are likely aware, complete numbers about use of force as a whole, and to some degree deadly force can be hard to peg, although this will clearly improve amid a national push to keep close watch on the statistics. The Washington Post reports for 2015 to-date 853 people have been shot dead by police, among which “633 of the fatal shootings followed a wide range of violent crimes, including shootouts, stabbings, hostage situations, carjackings and assaults.” The Post report numbers suggest that if you are engaged in a shootout, stabbing, hostage situation, or carjacking you stand a pretty good chance of being killed by police – this is clear. But we aren’t interested in “why” police shot and killed 853 people so far in 2015 – we are trying to determine if there is a culture of “shoot first” in the U.S. and whether this is an appropriate or rational fear, as opposed to say….how many Americans die each year from food borne illness (3,000 people die in the U.S. each year from food borne illness, as it happens; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases). We need to go back to a full year with relatively well documented outcomes.

An exhaustive study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that “In 2008, an estimated 16.9% of U.S. residents age 16 or older had face-to-face contact with police. This was a decline from the 19.1% of U.S. residents who reported having contact with police in 2005 and a decrease from the 21% who experienced contact with police in 1999 and 2002.” “Between 2002 and 2008, about 5.3 million fewer residents had face-to-face contact with police, down to an estimated 40.0 million from 45.3 million. Among persons who had a face-to-face contact with police in 2008, about 1 out of 4 had more than one contact during the year. The public most commonly came into contact with police when driving a vehicle that was pulled over in a traffic stop. Other frequent reasons for contact with police included reporting a crime to police or being involved in a traffic accident.” (Eith, Christine and Durose, Matthew; October 2011, BJS Statisticians Contacts between Police and the Public, 2008)

The BJS study also reports “An estimated 776,000 persons experienced force or the threat of force by police at least once in 2008 (table 17). This total represented an estimated 1.9% of the approximately 40.0 million people experiencing face-to-face police contact during 2008.” The BJS reported that 404 persons were killed by law enforcement in 2008. (Burch, Andrea; November 2011, BJS Arrest-Related Deaths 2003-2009 Statistical Tables) That is 404 deaths out of 40 million police-citizen contacts – or 0.00101% of citizen contacts resulted in homicide by law enforcement. Expanding; in 2008, 0.000135% of the U.S. total population was killed by law enforcement. By contrast, 2008 saw 16,442 total murders and 36,035 suicides (Centers for Disease Control).

Some context about risk, perception, and headlines from the Centers for Disease Control; In 2008, there were more than 41,000 poisoning deaths, 89% of which were caused by drugs. The U.S. saw 38,000 motor vehicle traffic deaths the same year. Currently, there is a suicide in the United States every 13 minutes.

I can’t imagine 39,224,000 police-citizen encounters without use of force constitutes a “shoot first” police culture. Incidentally, there were 58,792 assaults against peace officers reported in 2008. Perhaps Justice Sotomayor has been watching too much news.


The Fourth Estate performs a vital function in society, and no one, least of which myself, would suggest censoring news output or even editorials. Writing about police behavior, especially police related shootings is of great public concern, but the extent to which we publicize isolated and exceedingly rare events and succumb to pressure for “clicks” can, and likely is adversely affecting public safety and reasonable debate. It is also straining relationships in our communities when we need collaboration. Police action will always be contentious and captivating, it is among the top drivers of news site-traffic, and while bad behavior on the part of law enforcement, captured on cell-phone cameras, can serve to effectively discourage misconduct – the dictates of fairness require some coverage of the overwhelming good that close to one million officers perform on a daily basis; quietly, dutifully, in towns and cities across the U.S. The press must continually evaluate its role and accuracy; assessing whether it is advancing the news or spreading unwarranted fear. Just as police agencies have, and will continue to constantly train and improve their function in the United States. Beyond contentious use of force encounters, media reflects ever changing societal norms and the expectations of the public and law enforcement. Thanks to tireless reporting, we have a collective knowledge that people across the country want a more peaceful, less adversarial relationship with law enforcement (cops are included in this sentiment). Policy makers yield to public demand in light of reporting, once again; with such privilege comes great responsibility.

I don’t think Jarvis should stop writing about police action in America, I just think he should warn his audience against reading editorials while driving (in 2013, 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involv­ing distracted drivers).


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A Tale of Two Cities; LAPD’s Twelve Year Consent Decree

NOPD car

     In May of 2013 the Los Angeles Police Department was unceremoniously released from a twelve year consent decree in a three-line ruling by District Judge Gary Feess; the same federal judge responsible for extending LAPD’s original time frame from five years to ten, and eventually twelve years. The LAPD was the first municipal police agency to undergo a consent decree after Congress granted the Justice Department new powers to seek injunctive relief by suing state and local governments in federal court – powers extended specifically to address problems in the LAPD that would later be used in binding over 20 additional U.S. agencies in consent decrees.

     “When the decree was entered, LAPD was a troubled department whose reputation had been severely damaged by a series of crises, In 2008, as noted by the monitor, ‘LAPD has become the national and international policing standard for activities that range from audits to handling of the mentally ill to many aspects of training to risk assessment of police officers and more,’” Feess wrote of the release.

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State Arrest/Search Warrants



                As several new officers have recently completed FTO phases, followed in two weeks by another 30 recruits, I thought it may be a good time to thoroughly cover the topic of state warrants and their format/content. In addition to some basic concepts for new officers; this is also an excellent forum for covering more advanced topics for specialists to hopefully clear up some areas subject to frequent confusion (expiration of warrants for contents of electronic devices, etc). Each topic has a subject heading below so hopefully this article will be useful as a quick reference for both new and experienced members looking for guidance on specific issues. Also below are some suggestions and concerns offered by Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Magistrate Jonathan Friedman. Note that I have not covered NOPD policy in this article; NOPD policy is substantially based on Louisiana law on the subject and many of our readers work outside of Orleans Parish. This article is intended to provide a relevant overview of Louisiana law on search and arrest warrants, suggestions on structuring a factual basis, and links to completed warrants (here) are included so that new officers can read actual search and arrest warrants covering a variety of scenarios to get a feel for the finished product.

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