Law Enforcement

Hackers Steal Washington, D.C. Police Files, Threaten to Release Data

Ransomware threats are nothing new to local governments, but experts say this one poses significant risk to officers and ongoing investigations.

Policing the Police: Justice Department Launches Probe in Minneapolis

Derek Chauvin’s criminal conviction won’t solve systemic policing problems. Experts said the DOJ’s resumption of pattern or practice investigations can help spur local police reform.

Local Corrections Costs Rose by $25 Billion in Last 40 Years

But the coronavirus has ushered in creative lower-cost alternative jail programs that could last long after the pandemic, local leaders say.

Bestiality is Legal in Four States. Two Are Trying to Change That.

Lawmakers in Hawaii and Wyoming have proposed measures to formally outlaw sexual abuse of animals, a crime that animal rights advocates say is often hidden in plain sight.

Colorado Bill Would Give Rape, Sexual Assault Survivors Evidence Updates

The legislation, if passed, would allow victims to receive updates on the status of their test kits when the results are received, among other things.

A Police Union Contract Puts Taxpayers on the Hook to Defend Officers When the City Won’t

A little-known labor contract provision obligates New Yorkers to help pay officers’ legal bills in lawsuits that city lawyers won’t defend.

Miami Beach Extends Curfew, State of Emergency as Visitors Swamp South Florida

City officials called an emergency meeting Sunday in Miami Beach to discuss mitigation measures for throngs of unruly gatherers after a week of arrests, fights and crowd-control headaches.

The Mayor on a Mission to Bring a RoboCop Statue to His City

Mike Wiza, mayor of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, wants to score an 11-foot-tall replica of the cyborg police officer from the 1980s action film. But if that effort fails, the city might see about making its own—possibly bigger—version.

A Bolder Way To Tweet About Boulders: How A Traffic Alert Typo Rocked the Internet

On Jan. 27, 2020, San Miguel, Colorado Sheriff's Office PIO Susan Lilly tweeted a warning of a highway obstruction: a "large boulder the size of a small boulder." The rest is internet history.

Police Department Tries Out Virtual Reality De-Escalation Training

The department in Schenectady, New York, is working with a local game development company on the program.

Police Departments Experiment With 70-Pound Robot Dog

Departments have deployed the cyber K-9s in hostage situations and as part of the covid response. Proponents say the robots can help keep officers out of harm's way, while critics worry how they could be used without clear policy guidelines in place.

Illinois Becomes First State to Abolish Cash Bail

Judges will instead use a risk assessment tool to determine a defendant's fitness for release. The change is part of a broader criminal justice reform bill Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed this week.

Two Women Dressed Up as 'Grannies' to Skip Vaccine Line, Officials Said

The allegedly disguised women were issued trespassing warnings after officials in Orlando found discrepancies between their identification and Covid-19 vaccine registration cards.

LAPD Investigates Claims that Employees Circulated Valentine Mocking George Floyd

The card featured a photo of Floyd under the words, "you take my breath away." The investigation, announced Saturday, is ongoing, officials said this week.

Maryland Created the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights. Now Lawmakers There Might Repeal It.

Passed in 1974, the statute grants broad workplace protections for officers accused of misconduct and has served as a blueprint for similar laws in more than a dozen other states.

How the Police Bank Millions Through Their Union Contracts

The public funds six-figure “sick day” payouts, $2,500 “perfect attendance” bonuses and lucrative “extra duty” assignments identified in a ProPublica, Asbury Park Press analysis of New Jersey police union contracts.

Hackers Tried to Poison a City's Drinking Water Supply

The cyberattack used remote access to toggle levels of sodium hydroxide at a water treatment plant near Tampa, Florida, but an operator at the facility quickly fixed the problem, officials said.

'A Virtual Scarlet Letter': State Bill Would Restrict Release of Mugshots

The Utah proposal would prohibit distributing the photos unless a person is convicted of a crime, a change proponents say is needed to protect privacy in the digital age.

Republicans in State Legislatures Look to Toughen Rioting Penalties

Indiana is one of nearly two dozen states where proposals along these lines have emerged in the wake of last year's protests over racial justice and police misconduct. Critics are raising constitutional rights concerns.

State Capitols Reckon With Racism in Policing

This anti-racist movement has seeped into state capitols and promises to bring changes to housing, health care access and policing policy in the first full legislative session since widespread protests last year.