Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Policing protests, K-9 units barking up wrong tree, the 'toothless' agency regulating Texas cops, and other stories

I've been working on a larger project and ignoring the blog a bit this week, but here are a few odds and ends that deserve Grits readers' attention:

TCOLE Sunset coverage. The Houston Chronicle published a nice story on the scathing Sunset report on the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the agency that licenses and regulates Texas police officers, jailers, and 911 operators. "[I]n Texas," declared sunset commission staff, "the regulation of law enforcement is 'by and large, toothless.'” See related Grits coverage here, here, and here.

Policing Protests. In the wake of news that 11 Austin police officers were disciplined for abusing protesters over the summer, Grits spent a little time recently looking at best practices research on policing protests and crowd management, and wanted to leave some relevant links here for future reference:

Barking up the wrong tree. The Washington Post has an excellent article on the use of attack dogs by police which identified "37 video-recorded K-9 attacks that have surfaced over the past three years across the country, many showing people under attack even though they are unarmed, have surrendered to police, are already handcuffed or are innocent bystanders." Grits doesn't mind the use of dogs for their olfactory talents, but the use of attack dogs is problematic. In Texas, we've seen episodes where suspects were shot and killed for defending themselves against an attacking dog. But when a biting dog is attacking you, who wouldn't fight back? My better half has been looking at dog-bite cases in Austin and found dozens, most of which were never publicly reported. More on those cases a little later down the line.

Getting wonky on no-knock warrants. For Grits' reading pile, here's a lengthy academic article on no-knock warrants that I want to consume before the Texas Legislature considers legislation on the topic next spring.

Changing of the guard. Michael Barajas at the Texas Observer has a short profile of Fort Bend County's first black Sheriff since Reconstruction, who will take office in January. The extent to which this is a conspicuous development given Fort Bend County's history can scarcely be overstated.


Anonymous said...

Hello, Scott,

You must be familiar with The Marshall Project. They have been gathering a lot of data about police dogs lately.

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