Patterico's Pontifications

10/13/2008

1/3 of New Atlanta Police Officers Have This in Common

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 5:11 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s theme seems to be Law and Order so I’ll conclude the series with this article from yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Atlanta’s police recruits:

More than one-third of recent Atlanta Police Academy graduates have been arrested or cited for a crime, according to a review of their job applications. The arrests ranged from minor offenses such as shoplifting to violent charges including assault. More than one-third of the officers had been rejected by other law enforcement agencies, and more than half of the recruits admitted using marijuana.”

According to Robert Friedmann, a criminal justice professor at Georgia State University, times have changed so many agencies have had to relax their hiring policies. Or, as Atlanta Police Lt. Elder Dancy said regarding statistics that 12 out of 33 officers — 36 percent — said they have been arrested or cited with a criminal offense:

“It does not mean they’re not a quality candidate,” Dancy said, adding that the department runs criminal background checks on all recruits. “It just means they made a mistake in their past.”

I predict it will be harder to get a suspect to plea bargain in cases where the arresting officer has a record. No matter how you slice it, that doesn’t look good in court.

— DRJ

27 Responses to “1/3 of New Atlanta Police Officers Have This in Common”

  1. How did Atlanta beat out New Orleans for all the good recruits this year?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. DRJ please don’t turn off comments on your posts (like you did on the guy who faked like a lawyer post). It makes it no fun to read your posts if I can’t have a minor say in the discussion. It’s why Justin Levine’s posts are not read by so many of us.

    Please don’t be like him. TY in advance.

    Kevin (5ac156)

  3. NOLA ran out of uniforms.

    Another Drew (1d7115)

  4. Arrested don’t mean much. George Bush was arrested, Dick Cheney was arrested, Bill Clinton was charged with high crimes and misdemeaners, especially with cops. Y’all need someone thats been picked up for drunk and disorderly, pissin on a squad car, that kind of thing. Thats why I ain’t votin for Obama, that boy ain’t ever been arrested.

    Frank Drackman (af2a6b)

  5. From the article:

    “Three decades ago, a police officer with a criminal record was much less common than it is now, said Robert Friedmann, a criminal justice professor at Georgia State University. But times have changed and many agencies have had to relax their hiring policies, Friedmann said.”

    Would have been nice to hear what has changed from 1978. I wonder what has dried up the pool of potential non-criminally charged candidates from then to now — why aren’t they applying and what other jobs are they doing instead?

    I suppose one answer is many are going into the military instead, but back then the cold war military was quite huge as well, and this late in the war a lot of military guys have served and been discharged and I always assumed a fair number of veterans moved into police jobs.

    There’s a lot of (possibly BS) reasons I can think of to think the pool of recruits would lead to higher standards to avoid relying on criminally charged people these days, including increased recruitment of women, generally more professionally run departments, pay and benefits seems OK these days when before it was often quite low, etc.

    About the only reason I can come up with is a big shift of the population from big cities to suburbs. If you wanted to be a cop in 1978 most of the jobs would have been in big cities with probably lower pay and worse conditions so you didn’t have much of a choice. Now the suburbs have relatively large forces with a greater number of jobs, so the big cities are facing greater competition and have to lower their standards somewhat. I’m guessing that’s Atlanta’s problem to some extent.

    Aplomb (b6fba6)

  6. To tell the truth, I was admitted into the Chicago Police Academy (which, BTW, verifies that my IQ back then was at least 85) and I had had three juvenile arrests and one conviction (fighting and weapons) and I also did admit to my interviewer smoking marijuana.

    nk (f2ee58)

  7. Thank god… Here I was afraid that my DUI’s would DQ me from being a cop…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  8. Your interviewer smoking marijuana explains it. (Joke.)

    Aplomb (b6fba6)

  9. Aplomb, #9, heh!

    I also know a man with a wooden leg named Smith.

    nk (f2ee58)

  10. No matter how you slice it, that doesn’t look good in court.

    And I can’t imagine this looks good to the public, either. Yikes. More than a third is not an insignificant number.

    Dana (658c17)

  11. More than a third is not an insignificant number.

    That’s like every other cop!!

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  12. What if they discover a recruits adverse blog comments about The One?

    Old Coot (b63ab3)

  13. The LAPD was sunk by affirmative action recruits who went on to commit felonies on duty. The days when police careers were family affairs and policemen were respected are gone. You can thank the equivalent of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd for this, too.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  14. Kevin #2,

    Thanks for alerting me. I left the screen for that post up while I did some other things and I think I accidentally turned off comments when I closed the screen. How klutzy is that?

    DRJ (c953ab)

  15. Totally anectdotal (sp?) but most of my friends who went the law enforcement route chose CHP or CDCR. Obviously pay was a major factor. Several also went to be firefighters. I think if choosing between the two, FD is the way to go. Great pay, tons of time off, everybody loves you.
    As far as the criminal record of the Atlanta PD goes, I think people should be alowed to make mistakes. That said, affirmative action has to play a major role. Also, decades of disrespect to law enforcement, insane lawsuits, and just the general garbage that goes along with the job have probably made many good candidates look elsewhere. All of this degrades the force, and nobody wants to be a member of an organization that has low standards.

    PDizzle (cb6b9b)

  16. Nuts. My guess was 1/3 had Syphillis.

    liontooth (0edfdb)

  17. Twenty or so years ago, the geniuses running Washington, DC decided to strengthen law enforcement by actively recruiting gang members. One day at roll call, one of the defenders of law and order made a hand signal which was resented by another peace officer. A free-for-all ensued. There was no report later of anybody getting disciplined in any way. Affirmative action won again.

    Bleepless (062eab)

  18. which was resented by another gang-banger wear a uniform.

    Fixed that for you…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  19. And here in California, a couple of felonies won’t keep you from being a nurse. It’s Jump Start Behind Bars!

    KateCoe (3dabb5)

  20. Of course it would racist to assume that the recruits were African Americans and America has thrown so many in jail for what amounts to cultural differences among races. Funny, I knew many black men in Philly area who had no criminal pasts.

    Have to wonder how many applicants of other races were turned down or whose higher test scores were tossed out in favor AAs with lower scores.

    And of course there are plenty of dirty white cops out there, with bad attitudes to boot. I think Miami has a reputation for corrupt policemen, most of which were Cuban ethnicity.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  21. Well, the obvious answer here is that more people are getting arrested these days. I remember as a youngster that many times, the police would just drop you off with your parents, and that was that. But now, the police want to be “holding paper” on you. A lot of things that used to just get a scolding are now cause for arrest. By doing that, you’ve thinned the pool of applicants with clean records.

    XBradTC (a79100)

  22. Ratchet up the conditions that have led to the situation with the cops in Atlanta and you get a forever-crumbling law-enforcement predicament like the one found in Mexico. In that nation, it’s a given that cops are dishonest and corrupt, and in far too many notorious instances about as bad as the criminals they presumably are a counterbalance to.

    Speaking of societies or things similar to Mexico, with someone like Obama in the White House, and large chunks of the bureaucracy at the local, state and federal levels throughout the US managed and staffed in a way no more reassuring than an outfit along the lines of the Atlanta Police Department, the US very well may begin to resemble one of those Banana-Republic nations south of the border.

    Mark (6f6a14)

  23. I was sort of thinking the same thing XBradTC. Not the “holding papers” part, but the zero tolerance policy in so many crimes. I would be willing to bet that many guys who were hired in previous generations would now be un-hireable (except for in Atl) because they would now have arrest records. The legal limit for a DUI has gone down, and things that were treated as merely stupid behaviour are now seen as major crimes.
    And Mark, I also fear we are headed to a society like Mexico. Oakland hired a woman who was the daughter of the city manager, failed the academy multiple times until they lowered the standards. She is now a captain who, I would be willing to bet has never arrested anyone. Nepotism, cronyism and corruption are the ways of the future.

    PDizzle (cb6b9b)

  24. Not exactly a surprise. The governments of the city of Atlanta and Fulton County are (with apologies to Dale Gribble) the feces produced with corruption eats too much stupidity.

    Will Collier (5ea774)

  25. As long as we hire people by demographic rather than qualifications we deserve what we get…obama is a good example….

    paul from fl (12026e)

  26. Who better to understand the ‘root causes’ of crime, than police officers with criminal records?
    That’s the obama way. Moreover, all these recruits who had criminal records, well that’s discriminatory, isn’t it? Shouldn’t people with felonious pasts be allowed to become officers?
    Just cause an applicant for teacher position had a child sex felony, doesn’t mean they can’t teach, does it? I mean, all these standards are mere bourgeouis prejudices designed to keep down the masses.
    I learned that in grade school in Chicago in the mid 1990s, when my school was partnered with the Trinity United Church. I am so grateful it opened my eyes to the oppression that I did not know existed. Why I can still remember the ABCs
    A is for Anarchist
    B is for Bolshevist
    C is for Communist
    D is for Dialectic
    E is for Exploitation
    F is for Freedom
    G is for Grievances
    H is for Herstory
    I is for Indigenous
    J is for Justice
    K is for Karl
    L is for Latinos
    M is for Mao
    N is for Nietzche
    O is for Oppression
    P is for Poverty
    Q is for Queers
    R is for Racism
    S is for Socialism
    T is for Terrorist
    U is for Unions
    V is for Victory
    W is for Warriors
    X is for Xtreme
    Y is for Youth
    Z is for Zapata.

    I can still hear the sweet refrains of the internationale opening the school day.

    eaglewingz08 (98291e)


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