Monday, March 14, 2016

Gypsy cops and the National Decertification Index

"The mandate [to Ferguson PD] to  consult the National Decertification Index received little notice in the government's proposed agreement to reform the police and court systems in the St. Louis suburb. But the measure's inclusion suggests to some observers that federal authorities could finally be seeking to put the index into wider use after years of resisting the idea.
The database contains the names of about 20,000 former officers who were pushed out of law enforcement. The index has been used inconsistently, and many officers who are stripped of their badges in one jurisdiction are free to move to another.

Criminal justice advocates have long called for the creation of a clearinghouse of information on bad cops similar to the National Practitioner Data Bank, which tracks malpractice lawsuits and complaints against doctors. Those calls have been rejected by Congress and opposed by some law-enforcement groups, particularly police unions worried about creating a blacklist."

As usual, tea partiers and police unions are standing in the way of this much-needed reform. A similar proposal was defeated in Texas a few years ago, despite the fact Gypsy cops are a real problem, esp. in Texas.
Why do agencies not give bad references for their problem cops who want to leave? The main reason is that the agencies, esp. smaller ones, are threatened with lawsuits by the cop if they fire him or her and fail to give them a good reference.  They cave in.  Large agencies are frequently threatened with lawsuits by police unions. There is a similar problem with jail personnel.  The same things happens in academe, where departments want to get rid of faculty but tenure or the threat of lawsuits get in the way.  The only way to get rid of the problem is to help the teacher get a new job somewhere else.

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