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Archive for October 14th, 2016

Weekend Series on Crime: Anonymous, the Hackers

FBI to Create a National Database on Use of Force by Law Enforcement

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI tracks records on plenty of crimes, but it has not collected statistics on the number of times police use force when interacting with the public.

That is about to change under a pilot program early next year that will compile statistics and establish the first online database on fatal and nonfatal use-of-force among law enforcement, the Washington Post reports. 

“Accurate and comprehensive data on the use of force by law enforcement is essential to an informed and productive discussion about community-police relations,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a statement Thursday. “The initiatives we are announcing today are vital efforts toward increasing transparency and building trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve.”

But there’s one flaw: The Justice Department is barred from requiring state and local law enforcement to report nonfatal interactions with the public.

The pilot program comes amid high-profile police shootings of black people.

FBI Director James Comey said it’s “unacceptable” and “ridiculous” that there isn’t comprehensive data on law enforcement’s use of force.

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security Memo Says ICE Is Running Out of Money Because of Detention Surge

border fence photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Is the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency running out of money because of a surge in the number of immigrants in detention?

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that ICE is on the verge of running out of money unless it receives $136 million to continue operating through Dec. 9.

But after the story was published, a DHS spokeswoman claimed the story was wrong.

Now the Wall Street Journal has a Homeland Security memo that appears to back up the earlier report that ICE is running out of money. The Journal reports today that a memo says, “ICE requests an additional $136 million for this account through Dec. 9, 2016,” and if the agency doesn’t get it, “our funds will run out on November 12.”

“Without the requested funding ICE will not fulfill its detention requirements… Insufficient funding would force ICE to reject any new book-ins, including these recent border crossers that fall within Priority 1 of the Secretary’s enforcement priorities,” the memo says.

Deputy Director of ICE, Daniel Ragsdale, called the memo a “draft which was never reviewed by ICE leadership,” adding, “this type of adjustment is common, and has been done in years past.”

DEA Shows Major Culture Shift in How It Handles Drug Bans After Kratom Reversal

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA appears to be undergoing a major shift in how it handles the war on drugs.

After mounting public pressure, the DEA backed down on its pledge to ban Kratom, a south-east Asian plant that proponents say is an effective treatment for addiction to opioids.

“This is an unprecedented action. It’s never happened before,” said agency spokesman Russ Bayer, the Guardian reports. “We’ve never withdrawn a notice to temporarily schedule any substance but we want to move through this process in a transparent manner.” 

Bayer said the DEA is changing its approach to drugs under acting director Chuck Rosenberg.

“We have had kind of a cultural, organizational transformation during the past year,” Bayer said. “Our core mission has remained the same. It will always be to go after the biggest, most sophisticated, most violent drug traffickers and organizations responsible for the supply of drugs. But Mr Rosenberg has brought in an added emphasis, an increased awareness of some of the other functions that DEA needs to be engaged with. First and foremost community outreach, educating the public in terms of drug abuse, talking about addiction as being a disease.”