Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Crime Story

Crime Story

The Post-Dispatch today went into day 4 of their special report on "memos" in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

While most of the stories done have been quite informative and provocative, I do have to quibble with today's lead piece, "Panel investigating crime here had multiple ties to Police Department."

Yes, Scott Decker of UMSL and Jim Gilsinan of SLU (as well as Gary Higgs of the Stupp GIS lab at SLU) have contracts with the Police. Is this news? They've been working with the SLMPD for years, particularly Decker. SLU's participation in the project made the grant for the "SafeCity" crime mapping website possible. Lots of other social scientists, particularly criminologists but also political scientists and sociologists, work closely with police in various cities. Sometimes they get paid by the police, or through Department of Justice grants.

Nevertheless, the more important points of the series - the under-reporting of crime through use of memos, the hostile treatment of rape victims by the Sex Crimes Unit, etc. - should not be ignored.

But, somehow, the users of the St. Louis CopTalk board don't seem interested. The most recent active threads, other than those related to POA business, are about the price of gas, great supervisors, the DJs Kaos and Sylli Asz controversy with Clear Channel, and the BRAC closure decisions.

And I am really wondering: Do SLMPD officers who live in St. Louis County or beyond get to take their cars home? I think maybe they do, based on some of the things I've read on CopTalk. That really bugs me. If you want to be on Mobile Reserve and take your car home, you should be required to live within the City limits. Otherwise, they shouldn't let them take patrol cars home at all.

Another thing: How does Mokwa keep all this stuff from affecting him at all? Granted, he couldn't do a whole lot about the residency rule change, but the crime memos story keeps getting new legs, yet he remains Teflon.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

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