The Special Operations Police officers are sent out to high crime area’s to deal with serious violent crime…
By their mission goals?
It is inevitable that they are going to be involved in situations that are going to hit the media….
The units are in just about every major city and even after media focus and disbandments….
They will be kept in use or resurrected ….
With blaring headlines about ‘Massive High Crime’ in cities?
Police officals come under HUGE media and political pressure to bring the crime level’s down….
Sending unarmed peace makers won’t solve the problems…..
Working in high crime area’s IS dangerous and the officers in these units get training and TRAINING…
But there will always be situations that go wrong….
Police work, like other high stress, and dangerous jobs, it does have abuses and mistakes….
(That stress can be destructive to cops who have to deal with things …..)
Cops caught on the wrong side of the law do and should face consequences…
Move Oversight, camera’s and better supervision…..
But in the end?
Police Departments will always go back to using the specialised units to try keep violence crime under some sort of control….(The units are SUPPOSED to be aggressive when dealing with violent offender’s)
It’s prime example of ‘Damn if Do….Damn if you Don’t’….
Elite police units were involved in some of the most notorious episodes of police misconduct in the 20th century, from the brutalizing of Amadou Diallo in New York to the Rampart Division scandal in Los Angeles, when officers stole drugs and money, beat suspects and even pulled off a bank robbery.
In more recent times, though, in the age of Black Lives Matter and high-profile police killings that provoked nationwide protests, policing began to center on the mantra of reform and accountability. Some of the elite units were disbanded, or ordered to operate less aggressively. The murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis in 2020 led to nationwide protests and calls for defunding the police.
But the last two years have seen yet another significant shift in policing in many American cities, experts say, as the calls for reform and accountability have given way to demands for aggressively confronting a new nationwide rise in violent crime.
Cities like Memphis are once again commissioning specialized crime-fighting units to tackle the spikes in crime that accompanied the coronavirus pandemic, a strategy that has had some success in bringing down homicides, thefts and other crime in targeted neighborhoods but that risks returning, critics say, to the problems of the past.
The Scorpion unit in Memphis, five of whose officers are now charged with murder in Mr. Nichols’s death, quickly developed a reputation for pretextual traffic stops and aggressive treatment of detainees after launching in November 2021, and the department announced last month that it was disbanding the unit.
The new or revamped units in Denver, New York, Atlanta, Portland and elsewhere are a reflection of how much has changed since the racial justice protests of 2020.
“When we have tragedies like Michael Brown and George Floyd, it’s all about justice and fairness and people’s lives matter and we’re here to protect and serve and we’re going to get this right,” said Shean Williams, a civil rights lawyer in Atlanta who represented the family of Kathryn Johnston, the grandmother who was killed in 2006 by agents of the Red Dog unit….
The new or rebranded units are sometimes variations of a strategy known as “hot spot” policing, a tactic that has been shown to produce small but measurable reductions in crime. Denver, for example, saw a reduction in homicides and shootings in three of the five “hot spots” targeted by new police units last year, when the city saw an overall reduction in homicides of 15 percent.
Unlike the Memphis Scorpion team, the “impact teams” in Denver work closely with community groups and regular patrol teams, said Doug Schepman, a Police Department spokesman.
The number of homicides in Memphis dropped the year after the Scorpion unit was launched, to 302 in 2022 from 346 in 2021, according to the Police Department. In early January, Chief Davis credited the drop to several factors, including the department’s focus on tracking down violent fugitives, the visibility of police in high-crime areas and wraparound services in the community. It remained unclear how much the Scorpion unit factored in…
Some of the cities bringing back specialized police teams say they will be able to avoid the mistakes of the past with strict controls, better training and stronger oversight….
Part of the reason specialized units have made a return, Mr. Friedman said, “is that I don’t know that many police departments actually have any other idea of what to do about serious crime, violent crime.”….
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