Police Say They Are Discouraged From Making Arrests

Police officers at the University at Albany (NY) say they are being discouraged from making arrests or writing tickets and have had limits placed on the number of miles they can drive their patrol cars during a shift.

The strict policies, which are resulting in fewer arrests, require the officers to spend more time on foot in campus buildings and less time patrolling roads in and around the uptown and downtown campuses. The directives also prohibit officers from stopping motorists for violations such as holding a cellphone or driving the wrong way on a one-way street, according to officers and officials with the union that represents them.

The Times Union also reports that the officers must obtain authorization from an investigator or supervisor before applying for a search warrant or when making an arrest, with the supervisors given the authority to “un-arrest” a suspect or to reject a request for a warrant, even when it may yield evidence of a crime.

 J. Frank Wiley, who has been chief of the campus police force since 1996, said the department “has always functioned within the community policing philosophy. … This is not a change in approach.”
We question Chief Wiley’s judgment and statement about community policing.  There are no definitions within community policing that say it is appropriate to ignore crimes and especially crimes that could hurt someone else, such as inattentive driving.
What would Wiley say if a student is killed because his own officers were told to ignore important laws that keep others safe?  Would he continue to hold up the mantle of ‘community policing’?
We highly doubt it. Wiley would do well to “reevaluate” his strategy.
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1 Comment

  1. LegalBeagle

    There is no hope that this “Chief” will re-evaluate – he can’t be fixed. That’s not community policing, but de-policing. There is much to be said for getting out of the cars and being part of the community, but serious traffic violations should not be ignored, and supervisory oversight of arrests as described here (not a quality control effort, but a deliberate effort to fraudulently keep stats low) is simply unethical and may be unlawful.

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