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Tags investigative journalism , New Jersey issues , police brutality , police issues

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Old 29th November 2018, 12:28 PM   #1
carlitos
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Lightbulb New Jersey Police Use of Force Statistics

The full report
Quote:
Five years. 72,607 documents. Every local police department in N.J. We built the most comprehensive statewide database of police use of force in the U.S.



The Force Report, a 16-month investigation by NJ Advance Media, found New Jersey's system for tracking police force is broken, with no statewide collection or analysis of data, little oversight by state officials and no standard practices among local departments. Two decades ago, officials envisioned a centralized database that would flag potentially dangerous cops for scrutiny. But that database was never created. So we built it.

The Splinter News Article.

A few highlights:

Quote:
  • Just 10 percent of all New Jersey officers are responsible for 38 percent of violent encounters.
  • While 296 officers used force at rates five time the state-wide average, 156 officers put at least one person in the hospital every year all five years the outlet reviewed.
  • Black people are three times more likely to have police use force against them—that’s just statewide though, as that ratio skyrocketed to as high as 21:1 in some counties and towns.
I would really love to see more reporting like this.
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Old 29th November 2018, 12:45 PM   #2
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Well done.

Will be interesting to see what they do given the results.
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Old 29th November 2018, 12:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
The full report



The Splinter News Article.

A few highlights:



I would really love to see more reporting like this.
Yea and all those are good cops who have the respect of their peers, this isn't going to change anything or get any of those officers off the police.
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Old 29th November 2018, 12:52 PM   #4
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A "good cop" can become a "bad cop" - so there's that too which can be added to the depression.
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Old 29th November 2018, 12:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Well done.

Will be interesting to see what they do given the results.
I think you already know.
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Old 29th November 2018, 01:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
A "good cop" can become a "bad cop" - so there's that too which can be added to the depression.
Only in films. The profession is rotten worldwide.
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Old 29th November 2018, 01:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Well done.

Will be interesting to see what they do given the results.
Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! I know this one!

Start a betting pool
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Old 29th November 2018, 01:08 PM   #8
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Power and immaturity, a bad combination.
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Old 29th November 2018, 01:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bluesjnr View Post
I think you already know.
I see you are a glass half empty kind of person

You never know
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Old 29th November 2018, 04:51 PM   #10
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This is the kind of thing that should be built into metrics and KPIs for officers, but these reports are still analog in 2018, pieces of paper tucked away in filing cabinets. So no one spots a trend like this, until there is a high-profile case:

Quote:
In Middlesex County, a Carteret officer accounted for one-fifth of all uses of force by officers in the 50-person department over a two-year period. But that pattern never came to light until after the officer, Joseph Reiman, was indicted on accusations of assaulting a teenager after a brief car chase.
One officer out of 50 = 2%
One-fifth of uses of force = 20%
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Old 29th November 2018, 05:23 PM   #11
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It'd be interesting to see how NJ's use of force statistics compare to other states. Without that comparison it's difficult to make valid judgments.

Looks like the FBI has attempted to gather that type of data since 1994. The collection of law enforcement use of force statistics has been mandated as a responsibility of the Attorney General since the passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
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Old 29th November 2018, 10:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
The Splinter News Article.

A few highlights:



I would really love to see more reporting like this.
Definitely!

I know it's easy to be cynical about any action being taken, but perhaps the identified more violent officers might be influenced just a little about the revelations.
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Old 29th November 2018, 11:55 PM   #13
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One good point they make in the FAQ is that this is based on reports the police themselves make so some of the seemingly more prolific users of force might just be the ones most scrupulously honest about reporting it.
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Old 30th November 2018, 12:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Civet View Post
One good point they make in the FAQ is that this is based on reports the police themselves make so some of the seemingly more prolific users of force might just be the ones most scrupulously honest about reporting it.
Also an officer on a SWAT team might be expected to have a higher use of force than one working a more desk based job. These stats provide questions not answers. Those with the least use of force might also need education. Alternatively they might be sources of education in how to defuse situations and avoid violence.
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Old 30th November 2018, 03:35 AM   #15
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While I applaud this initiative, I think it needs to be studied carefully as well. As the creators point out in the FAQs, this is a use of force database, not a use of excessive force database. Use of force can mean anything from twisting an arm of a non-compliant suspect so as to allow handcuffs to be applied, all the way to shooting someone. Just because force was used, does not mean that force was inappropriate, and just because an officer has more uses of force than another officer doesn't mean that they are a bad officer, it might just mean that they have a tendency to be the one dealing with people who need to have force applied to take them into custody more often than other officers, perhaps because of the area they work, or what division they are in.

Even having someone have to go to hospital doesn't actually mean that there was excessive forced used. For example, if a suspect flees and the cop chases and tackles them resulting in their head hitting the concrete pavement and causing a contusion, then the suspect would be hospitalized, but tackling a fleeing suspect isn't excessive force. Also K9 operators are likely to have more suspects hospitalized just due to the nature of the job.

So yes it's a good start, but the numbers don't tell the true tale behind the curtain, just as the numbers from the various police shooting databases don't tell the whole story. What is needed is to be able to determine the excessive force numbers because that would tell the real story about how good, or bad, the cops involved are.

Sadly though it seems that the non-skeptical stance has been taken on the database by both the author of the story and many of the posters here.

Now having said that, there are some majorly concerning things, such as the blacks were 21 times more likely to have force used on them than whites in Lakewood, especially when Wikipedia states that the black population of Lakewood is just 6% compared to an 84% white population. So either the very small black population is not only highly criminal, but also very willing to fight arrest, while the white population are all pure as snow, or there is something very, very wrong happening in that township. (until I see otherwise I'm leaning towards the second of those options)
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Last edited by PhantomWolf; 30th November 2018 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 30th November 2018, 03:48 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
While I applaud this initiative, I think it needs to be studied carefully as well. As the creators point out in the FAQs, this is a use of force database, not a use of excessive force database. Use of force can mean anything from twisting an arm of a non-compliant suspect so as to allow handcuffs to be applied, all the way to shooting someone. Just because force was used, does not mean that force was inappropriate, and just because an officer has more uses of force than another officer doesn't mean that they are a bad officer, it might just mean that they have a tendency to be the one dealing with people who need to have force applied to take them into custody more often than other officers, perhaps because of the area they work, or what division they are in.
Ah, yes. If Big Bob is seven foot tall and built like a brick shitehouse, then of course he has disproportionate use of force numbers because, if I'm a policeman going to a potentially violent situation, you can bet your last penny I'm taking Bob with me.
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Old 30th November 2018, 03:56 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Ah, yes. If Big Bob is seven foot tall and built like a brick shitehouse, then of course he has disproportionate use of force numbers because, if I'm a policeman going to a potentially violent situation, you can bet your last penny I'm taking Bob with me.
Actually I'd say that Big Bob is likely to be a total pussy cat that bad guys just give up too on seeing him get out of the car. The one that's more likely to be good in a fight is the 5 foot nothing guy who looks like he'd ready to punch through the nearest wall 90% of the time.
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Old 30th November 2018, 06:07 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Ah, yes. If Big Bob is seven foot tall and built like a brick shitehouse, then of course he has disproportionate use of force numbers because, if I'm a policeman going to a potentially violent situation, you can bet your last penny I'm taking Bob with me.
Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
Actually I'd say that Big Bob is likely to be a total pussy cat that bad guys just give up too on seeing him get out of the car. The one that's more likely to be good in a fight is the 5 foot nothing guy who looks like he'd ready to punch through the nearest wall 90% of the time.
Can we settle on 6ft Simon? Always steady and ready.
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Old 30th November 2018, 07:28 AM   #19
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As Phantom Wolf points out, “force” covers a lot of ground. We have to document all “uses of force” and that includes “compliant” handcuffing.
Likewise, ANY injury incurred during an arrest results in the suspect having to go to the hospital for a “fit for confinement” certification.

To some degree, this might be a case for the “culture” not only of the department, but of the area we police. Used to be that the “third district” in St. Louis was notorious for it’s hardcore residents...”You can arrest me if you can beat my ass....”. That sort of attitude.
Officers working in areas with lots of gang/drug activity are going to be involved in more use-of-force incidents than those like me... Working on a college campus.
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Old 30th November 2018, 09:00 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
As Phantom Wolf points out, “force” covers a lot of ground. We have to document all “uses of force” and that includes “compliant” handcuffing.
Likewise, ANY injury incurred during an arrest results in the suspect having to go to the hospital for a “fit for confinement” certification.

To some degree, this might be a case for the “culture” not only of the department, but of the area we police. Used to be that the “third district” in St. Louis was notorious for it’s hardcore residents...”You can arrest me if you can beat my ass....”. That sort of attitude.
Officers working in areas with lots of gang/drug activity are going to be involved in more use-of-force incidents than those like me... Working on a college campus.
Exactly. The 21:1 stat above for some counties and towns are likely indicative of this, not local cops roughing up grandmas. Jersey has some nasty towns.
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Old 30th November 2018, 12:24 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Exactly. The 21:1 stat above for some counties and towns are likely indicative of this, not local cops roughing up grandmas. Jersey has some nasty towns.
There's no need to guess what's "likely" when I have posted the report here for you to read. Lakewood in Orange County, NJ is where the 21-to-1 stat was from.

- https://datausa.io/profile/geo/lakewood-nj/#intro
- https://www.cityrating.com/crime-sta...-township.html

Quote:
Lakewood Township crime statistics report an overall downward trend in crime based on data from 17 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime decreasing. Based on this trend, the crime rate in Lakewood Township for 2018 is expected to be lower than in 2016.

The city violent crime rate for Lakewood Township in 2016 was lower than the national violent crime rate average by 57.55% and the city property crime rate in Lakewood Township was lower than the national property crime rate average by 61.38%.

In 2016 the city violent crime rate in Lakewood Township was lower than the violent crime rate in New Jersey by 31.21% and the city property crime rate in Lakewood Township was lower than the property crime rate in New Jersey by 38.72%.
Doesn't sound "nasty" to me.

ETA - this graph for each area is also very useful.

Originally Posted by officer stats for Lakewood
Under Los Angeles' system, 26 officers in this department would have been flagged for review.

Under New York City's system, 75 officers in this department would have been flagged for review.

Under Chicago's system, 82 officers in this department would have been flagged for review.

Last edited by carlitos; 30th November 2018 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 30th November 2018, 12:31 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
There's no need to guess what's "likely" when I have posted the report here for you to read. Lakewood in Orange County, NJ is where the 21-to-1 stat was from.

- https://datausa.io/profile/geo/lakewood-nj/#intro
- https://www.cityrating.com/crime-sta...-township.html



Doesn't sound "nasty" to me.

ETA - this graph for each area is also very useful.
Good catch, I would have never guessed Lakewood. Will look that over more when on laptop
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Old 30th November 2018, 05:14 PM   #23
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Ok. The Lakewood force report says that 708 of the 800 uses of force were compliance holds for resisting arrests. Not nearly as bad as i thought. Actually surprised compliance holds are considered use of force. Still surprised Lakewood would be up there at all
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Old 1st December 2018, 11:48 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
There's no need to guess what's "likely" when I have posted the report here for you to read. Lakewood in Orange County, NJ is where the 21-to-1 stat was from.

- https://datausa.io/profile/geo/lakewood-nj/#intro
- https://www.cityrating.com/crime-sta...-township.html

Doesn't sound "nasty" to me.

ETA - this graph for each area is also very useful.
Lakewood is in Ocean County, not Orange County. I did a little digging into the numbers on Lakewood and it appears to me that they may be "adjusted". Here's the #1 cop in Lakewood for use of force, Eduardo Vega. Right off the bat, you may notice a problem with the stats. Vega has been responsible for 7 uses of force per annum, which is right in line with the overall department's use of force. So how can he be #1? It makes no sense.

And if you scroll down a bit, we find that of his 35 uses of force about 11 were against white subjects, 15 were black and the remainder (9) were Hispanic. You can probably already sense the problem. If black people were 21 times more likely to be the subjects of police force, how come the cop most likely to use force seemed to spread his around reasonably evenly?

I suspect the answer is that they are saying that because blacks make up only 4.2% of the city's population, they should make up 4.2% of those on the receiving end of police force. But of course that only applies if the vast majority of the uses of force were against local residents.
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