Thursday, January 23, 2014

Critiquing Dallas PD policy giving cops, but not citizens, a "cooling off period" before questioning

Radley Balko and the blog Unfair Park have good posts up criticizing the new Dallas Police Department policy giving cops 72 hours to get their stories straight after shooting incidents. From Unfair Park:
Last September, Jeff Noble, a retired deputy chief with the Irvine, California, police department and University of South Carolina criminology professor Geoffrey Alpert performed an analysis of existing scholarship for the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Their conclusion? Giving cops "cooling off periods" is a bad idea.

They say this for two reasons, both of which are more or less intuitive. One is that giving officers several days to replay -- and, consciously or not, revise -- an incident in their minds seems to harm their recall. The research on the subject is still in its infancy, but generally backs this up. ...

The other part is that such cooling off periods are deeply unfair.

"Now you have this dichotomy where police are treating themselves one way and treating everyone else in the world another way," Noble tells Unfair Park.

"We would never in law enforcement allow a suspect, who may have also undergone a stressful event, to have two or three days to collect their thoughts," he adds. They're asked to provide details as soon as possible.

If, as Brown argues, officers give a more accurate account of events after three days, then it follows that it would be in the interest of justice to give the same leeway to suspects.
See related Grits posts:

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read on another blog that police departments are doing this stuff in an attempt to limit civil court judgements to the families of those unjustly killed by officers. I've been thinking about it and reading a lot of stories in the media which involved wrongful shootings and I agree with that assumption now too. The writer had said that all questionable shootings should be investigated and prosecuted by federal authorities in federal courts because local district attorneys will often not give these cases their best shot because they fear large civil judgements and the federal authorities don't have an interest in keeping judgements low and I also agree with that suggestion.

Brent D. Gardner, CLU, ChFC said...

Is one of the reasons for this delay so that the police can view any video evidence before they tell lies on a report to cover up an indefensible shooting? Seems like I read that somewhere. If that's the case, the people with video need to wait 73 hours before publishing.

Anonymous said...

scott, what is your email. I would like to send you an article in local paper

your email address on blog is not working

doran said...

Strictly speaking, contrary to Mr. Noble's comment, suspects DO have two or three or more days to collect their thoughts. They have the right to have an attorney present, they have the right to refuse to answer based on 5th Amendment grounds. They have such rights, which are not "allowed" or granted by law enforcement.
Suspects do have the obligation to identify themselves -- name, rank and serial number -- but they are not obligated to answer questions of law enforcement or to give statements.

Of course, a huge number of suspects don't know their rights, or don't understand them, or think they are smart enough to deal with law enforcement without the assistance of counsel.

Simon Haskell said...

However, Doran, refusing to answer police questions before you have been arrested can be used as evidence of guilt.

The Homeless Cowboy said...

I think the police should be subject to the same situation as any other Citizen. If you are willing to wait 72 hours to ask the officer questions, then give all citizens the same respect. I f a cop shoots a suspect, are you going to lock him up and wait 72 hrs for interrogation? If a citizen shoots another citizen do we just let them go about their business for 72 hours then question them? Both scenarios are crazy right? Then to be fair, cops get questioned just like everyone else. You can cry all you want, if you don't do it that way you make it ok for cops to have a storm trooper attitude because they have 3 days to come up with a plausible lie, if need be. Hopefully they wont kill a guy in front of a camera they don't know is there then lie about it. 9(Oh my, not a police officer) They are human just like anyone else and YES they should be questioned immediately, as soon as possible, while the information is fresh in their mind and they havent had time to fabricate details. They are just like any of us. They should be treated like any of us.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@7:26, it's shenson@austin.rr.com

Will Yablome said...

Klaatu Barada Nikto!

Anonymous said...

The Center for Disease Control should issue a public health warning about being shot by the police. Seems there is an influx of lead poisoning these days. This probably rates up there with the risks of heart disease and diabetes.

Anonymous said...

The non-internet connected segment of the population will hear about this through third parties that will embellish and take away but nevertheless, they will hear about it and shrug it off until it directly involves them.

The minority leaders (churches) will play the race card when it effects a minority and look away when it involves whitey. The non-connected working whites will shake their heads and say WTF, when and how did they pass that shit?? How come the news didn't report this and so on.

Its been almost a week since this was posted and so far we haven't heard a word from the DPD unions, associations, or mouth pieces.

Their collective silence is deafening. When they jump all over "top command" for firing trigger happy cops and lay low when they create loopholes that protect them, they assume that the public are nothing more than fools.

Sadly, blog posts and newspaper articles do nothing to reverse the course of a department riddled with past and present wrongs, when they simply report on an in your face issue and fade away without any attempt to right a wrong before it gets out of hand. It would be nice to see this issue brought up every day with a full accompaniment of Petitions, Civil Protest, Chief Brown removal proceedings & reversal of a one of a kind, never seen before joke. One being played on the taxpayers but touted as protecting them. But that would involve a whole bunch of people growing balls and getting involved (past the keyboard).

Anonymous said...

Anyone know of any other city in Texas or America that has this creepy policy in place? (If someone says California I'll puke)

Anyone know how to get the ball rolling regarding removing Chief Brown? (He was the best thing to ever happen to the DPD since day one but he has slowly showed us his true colors) And that's coming from a cracker.

Anyone know how to get the major media outlets to take this issue nationally? (If it sits quietly without any public outcry due to everyone talking about 2016, Christie and Beiber sightings, Dallas deserves what they get).

Anonymous said...

@1:08, interesting you mention Bieber sightings. The Miami police should have waited,cooled off and reviewed the video and GPS data before they put false statements in their offense report. The evidence contradicts their claims of drag racing and the SUV's blocking the road to clear it for a race. GPS shows 27mph in a 30 where the race was alleged to have occurred. I am so sick of cops lying while the prosecutors avert their eyes and ignore evidence that helps the defense. It is bad enough when they do it to a guilty person, but they do it even when the person is not. Just ask Michael Morton and innocent folks cleared by the Innocence Project. The system is not working. Can it be fixed or will the people have to go Braveheart on these corrupt state actors? Passive resistance and walting 28 years is not a solution for the people who forfeit their freedom to this corruption.