Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holiday gifts and things

Here are some books in honor of the holiday season and to put in people’s stockings or wherever this year in case anyone's doing any last minute shopping.

Breaking Rank by Norm Stamper

A former police chief’s indepth expose of policing which includes many recommendations for improving policing practices in law enforcement agencies including the promotion of community policing philosophies and the diversifying of police departments.

Stamper’s Web site

His site includes an interactive journal.

Brotherhood of Corruption: A Cop Breaks the Silence on Police Abuse, Brutality, and Racial Profiling by Juan Antonio Juarez

An autobiography of a former Chicago Police Department officer, who worked undercover in a narcotics unit before having to what lines he is not willing to cross from police officer to criminal.

More information here.

Gender and Policing: Sex, power and the police culture by Louise Westmarland

This book addresses the integration of women into male-dominated law enforcement agencies and related issues including discrimination, sexual harassment and workplace issues.

Information on the author here

Investigating Sexual Harassment in Law Enforcement by Penny Harrington and Kimberly A. Lonsway

A very useful guide on the issue of sexual harassment in law enforcement and other male-dominated professions and how departments should address this issue. It addresses discrimination, harassment and retaliation as well as discusses how to prevent them in the workplace.

Harrington’s Web site

The New World of Police Accountability by Samuel Walker

Walker’s latest book discussions the role of newer developments including consent decrees, early warning systems and civilian review mechanisms in policing and how they influence the level of accountability in law enforcement agencies. The Riverside Police Department and its complaint investigation process is mentioned briefly in this book.

Press release on book’s release

More info on Walker here.

Police Ethics: A Matter of Character by Douglas W. Perez and J. Alan Moore

A slim book but chock full of information on the issue of ethics in the policing profession

Related Web site

To Protect and To Serve by Joe Domanick

A comprehensive history of the Los Angeles Police Department from its creation through the Rodney King beating controversy.

Triumph of the Spirit by Penny Harrington

Autobiography by the first woman ever to head a major city’s police department and what it’s like to deal with the challenges with the job and also to break the glass ceiling. Harrington testified as an expert witness for RPD officer Roger Sutton during his trial in relation to his racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation law suit.

Harrington’s Web site

Walking with the Devil: The Police Code of Silence by Michael W. Quinn

What bad cops don’t want you to know and good cops won’t tell you, is how this book is described. It details the life of a Minneapolis Police Department officer in his own words.

Quinn’s Web site

Here's something else, not a book but an article.

Steve Lopez, a columnist with the Los Angeles Times did an article on a Los Angeles Police Department officer who drives through skid row in downtown Los Angeles

LAPD officer on skid row

Happy Holidays!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stamper is trying to run away from what he was - the police chief who started the late 90s-early oughts reign of police terrorism against protesters with his command of the police during the WTO protests in Seattle.

--- varro (amptoons, LJ)

Sunday, December 24, 2006 1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Mary. Hope you got everything you wanted this year.


Monday, December 25, 2006 1:53:00 PM  
Blogger Five Before Midnight said...

Dear Varro:

I'm not sure if the Seattle Police Department was under the control of its police chief any more than most law enforcement agencies are being run by those who are elected or hired to lead them. I don't think most police chiefs are assertive enough and strong enough to buck the political tides in their own agencies even when there are problems. Actually, especially when there are problems because that is then you know what a police chief is made of and too often, it turns out there's not much there. There are probably very few police chiefs who can actually lead in the implementation of reforms and remain employed for long. Fewer will even try it because they themselves moved up through the ranks in the profession and it worked for them, so all's good. If enough of them had stepped to the plate, there wouldn't currently be legislation in place that authorizes outside agencies to conduct pattern and practice investigations of law enforcement agencies, essentially taking the initiative to do that job from them.

After all, the growing trend in law enforcement agencies is to have outside federal and/or state agencies come in and forcibly implement reforms through "settlements" because the only alternative is for the city or county to lose in court against this outside agency. With other agencies, just the threat of being investigated is enough to motivate some department heads to implement needed reforms. The problem with forcing reform on law enforcement agencies is that true change comes from inside each employee in that agency and that collective resolve is what plays a very important role in determining whether reforms stick or slide by the wayside the minute the outside agency goes away, along with active engagement from local governments and community members.

That's why the words reformist police chief are pretty much an oxymoron. A true reformist police chief would not last long in an agency before being sent packing either by the department or by the city who hired him or her.

Even with his problems, Stamper's ideas are still about 20 years or so ahead of what's going on in my city. We still have city council members who lack the understanding of the importance of mentorship programs for men of color and women in law enforcement, calling them "remedial training for those who can't cut it". We'll probably be one of the last major law enforcement agencies to implement mental health crisis intervention training because the department's not really serious about it and the city government doesn't understand why it's important even while it is discussing no less than six law suits or claims for damages in relation to officer-involved deaths, in one single meeting. Community policing is still viewed somewhat with distrust. The city manager and police department's management spend more time micromanaging the city's police commission than in seriously addressing the issues this body raises including of course, mental health training.

Despite all this, reform, though it will come slowly, is inevitable like the daily tides. It takes years and will take more years but it is a process that once begun, just keeps on going and usually as it moves along in small steps, those who fight it initially often become its greatest advocates. That is the nature of change.

Have a nice day and say hi to the family for me.

Monday, December 25, 2006 3:03:00 PM  

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