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Cop Culture in Cincinnati and The Wire: Focused Deterrence and Hard Chargers Professor Ross Deuchar University of the West of Scotland Cultural Representations.

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Presentation on theme: "Cop Culture in Cincinnati and The Wire: Focused Deterrence and Hard Chargers Professor Ross Deuchar University of the West of Scotland Cultural Representations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cop Culture in Cincinnati and The Wire: Focused Deterrence and Hard Chargers Professor Ross Deuchar University of the West of Scotland Cultural Representations of Crime and Policing: Scottish and International Perspectives, Past and Present 17 April 2013

2 Recognition that policing strategies such as random motorised patrol, rapid response to calls for service, foot patrols, investigative work, etc. did not significantly reduce crime (Kelling et al., 1974; Greenberg et al., 1975; Kelling et al., 1981; Loftin & McDowell, 1982; Spelman & Brown, 1984.) Aggressive strategies such as zero tolerance, ‘broken windows’, targeted enforcement and paramilitaristic methods (Garcia, 2005; Hodgson, 2001; Ganapathy and Fee, 2002; Duran, 2009; Reiner, 2010). Negative impact on perceptions of equity and legitimacy among minorities and young people (Tuch and Weitzer, 1997; Weitzer and Tuch, 1999; Taylor et al., 2001; Reitzel et al., 2004; Skogan, 2006; Deuchar and Engel, 2013). Evidence of effectiveness of Problem-Oriented Policing (wide array of approaches with high level of focus); Focused Policing (mostly law enforcement approaches, with high level of focus) (National Research Council, 2004; Weisburd & Eck, 2004; Weisburd et al., 2010).) Policing Violence in the USA

3 Strong correlation between gang membership, criminal offending and violence (Esbenson and Huizinga, 1993; Decker and Van Winkle, 1996; Battin-Pearson et al., 1998; Huff, 1998; Loeber et al., 2001; Curry et al., 2002; Thornberry et al., 2003; Ozer and Engel, 2012). ‘ Pulling levers’ approaches to identify and directly communicate consequences for violence to at-risk gang members; focuses on untraditional responses; multi-agency collaborative programmes offer help in the form of social and job services for those willing to leave criminal lifestyle behind (Kennedy, 1997; Braga et al., 2001; Kennedy, 2009; Deuchar and Engel, 2013). Focus on collective accountability, group-based informal social control and altered risk-reward calculus; narrows focus of law enforcement to those at the highest risk to become victim/perpetrator of violence (Deuchar and Engel, 2013). Focused Deterrence

4 Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence A combined focus on enforcement, moral voice of community, social services (Kennedy, 2001, 2009, 2011; Kennedy and Braga, 1998; Engel et al., 2008, 2011; VRU, 2008, 2011) ‘Call-in’ sessions in Sheriff Court: the violence must stop, the community has had a enough, there are better ways out. (Engel et al., 2011; Deuchar and Engel, 2013)

5 Research Methodology Semi-structured interviews: 8 senior police officers and police civilians; 5 Task Force officers; 2 members of social service teams; 3 probation officers; 1 councilman; 1 member of CIRV Steering Committee; 1 academic. Life history interviews: 5 current offenders, 12 Street Advocates/reformed offenders. Participant observation: police task force‘ride-alongs’.

6 The Nature and Consequences of Violence: Cincinnati We stop at the side of the road, where a wooden post holds a small shrine to two murdered gang members. A t-shirt hangs from the post, with a photograph of two young black men wearing t-shirts belonging to their gang. Their dates of birth and dates of death are listed – both were in their twenties. (Fieldnotes, March, 2011).

7 Focused Deterrence and PhD Policing CIRV initiative and focus on problem-oriented policing represents an attempt to reverse the process of remasculinization of State responses, focusing on a public health approach to violence prevention. (Krug et al., 2002; Wacquant, 2008; Nicholson, 2010; Carnochan and McCluskey, 2010; Scottish Government, 2012). I think we’ve really become laser-focused on the issue we’re trying to address. And then I think people see – ‘yeah, they’re getting the people that’s affecting my quality of life’ instead of swooping up somebody that may have had a beer outside, that the community perceives really didn’t do anything wrong. (Brad, Senior Police Staff) What it has done is brought us into what I term ‘PhD policing’... PhD professors with the University of Cincinnati helping us analyse our crime and our statistics. We want officers to be community-oriented officers now – that’s the new, defined police officer now, not so much law enforcement. (Charles, Congressman) I think from the onset (the University) showed us that our data would reveal that three tenths of one per cent of the population of Cincinnati was responsible for 75 per cent of the homicides. It allowed us to sit back for a minute and say, ‘Oh my gosh’, this practice of taking 200 officers and storming into a neighbourhood and arresting anyone for anything…were highly ineffective (Tony, Police Chief) We switched to a problem-solving model of policing that involves the community as much as we can (Joe, Senior Officer) It’s something similar to the Hawthorne effect – if you show an interest in somebody, it’s gonna have an effect. And it’s basically as simple as you can get. (Jack, Senior Officer)

8 Cop Culture Tensions between strategic focus on preventive policing, tactical police functions and ‘street cop culture’ (Mastrofski et al., 1995; Chan, 1997; Hodgson, 2001). Cracking the police culture was one of the early challenges … I think it’s still work in progress (Brad, Senior Police Staff) Some cops see themselves as part of the paramilitary – it can destroy everything we’re trying to do … it’s what I call the ‘contempt of cop’ … cops that go from zero to sixty attitude- wise very quickly and with whom every citizen can talk their way into jail very easily. (Dave, Senior Officer) (It’s) showing the beat cops, the guys that are on the ground, the benefit of doing this work and how it will really change … you go through the Academy and the first three years you learn ways that police have made available to do that – and that is ‘make arrests, take the gun off the street, get the bad guy off the street’ and so you fall into that rhythm that that’s what you do. ( Gary, Senior Officer)

9 Frontline Policing Cops favoured the ‘tough approach to policing’; morale enhanced by participating in what they viewed as masculine, authoritative policing (Schulhofer, 2011) Our goal here is to really address the violent activity … pretty much our responsibility is to target those individuals, and take ‘em off the street (Ryan, CPD cop) If there’s evasive action … it leads me to believe that they have a firearm, then I’m going to draw a firearm and let them know that I’m watching them and the potential for me to protect myself and others exists … if it’s a threat of fleeing from me during an investigation, I’m gonna try to let them know that I have a taser that’s ready to be used. (Matt, CPD cop) You would obviously want your firearm pointed at them … now if somebody already has theirs out, you’re behind the ball … it takes less than a second to pull the trigger … if you’ve already got a gun out and you’ve got your finger on the trigger, that’s four shots – if he’s slow on the trigger. (Jason, CPD cop) We’re bringing in more of a focus on analysis of crime statistics – a problem- solving focus. It’s been very good for me … (but) I enjoyed being really active. If I could do the transition, anyone could. I’m willing to open my mind up, it’s always a challenge – steering clear of excitement gets frustrating. (Mark, CPD cop)

10 Police Culture and The Wire Increasing importance of surveillance technology in police work and crisis of masculinity (Chare, 2011) ‘Station queens’ vs. ‘hard chargers’ (Herbert, 2001) Frustration about lack of spontaneous, aggressive, confrontational, physically demanding work – ‘real’ police work (Van Maanen, 1978; Bandes, 2011; Chare, 2011)

11 ‘Hard Chargers’ and ‘Contempt of Cop’ I notice that Matt has his taser on the left side of his belt, his gun on the right and his shiny CPD badge in the middle. Suddenly the radio crackles to life. ‘Uniform, are you poised? When Matt gets behind the vehicle can you get there quick?’ ‘Sounds good to me,’ Matt responds. As my heart begins to race with adrenalin, I look ahead and see the undercover SWAT vehicle turn round the corner. Matt pounds his foot on the accelerator and we turn the corner, just in time to see the SWAT team storm into the house with assault rifles. (Fieldnotes, May 2012) ‘ Hold up a minute’, Matt shouts, ‘why do you have a leash and no dog on it?!’ he enquires. With a huge amount of aggression, the man approaches the police car and shouts in the window, ‘you want to say something to me? Hey, man, if you want to say something to me, say it to me … What is your problem? You’re aggravating me!’ By this time, Matt is out the car and approaching the man and I can tell that his anger has been ignited. ‘Hey, you’re about an inch away from going to jail – you’re getting disorderly.’ I am amazed at how quickly this situation has escalated. (Fieldnotes, March 2011)

12 Game Players Cops enjoyed the game-playing nature of the work (Mittel, 2011) I like the advensuresome side of it... I guess you would call it the risk- taking activity. The adrenalin … the fun, the chases... the game side (Jason, CPD cop) I mean I think what it is, it’s just part of the game sometimes, where it’s the cat and mouse game for some people. And when they get eventually get caught up they’re just like, ‘well, you know, you got to do what you gotta do’. (Kirk, probation officer) I mean I think what it is, it’s just part of the game sometimes, where it’s the cat and mouse game for some people. And when they get eventually get caught up they’re just like, ‘well, you know, you got to do what you gotta do’. (Kirk, probation officer) It’s a matter of being out there and paying close attention to what we see, you know … so I get a kick outta that. (Danny, CPD cop) There’s a lot of adrenalin and excitement in this part of the work. It’s an exhilarating experience, being shot at … I was shot at once by someone who robbed and stole a van. He ran from the car and got stuck up a fence. He was trying to reach the ground to get his gun – he hung upside down shouting ‘I’m not going back to prison!’ I didn’t oblige by shooting him, but I did send him back to prison. (Jason, CPD cop)

13 Police Culture and The Wire Increasing importance of surveillance technology in police work and crisis of masculinity (Chare, 2011) ‘Station queens’ vs. ‘hard chargers’ (Herbert, 2001) Frustration about lack of spontaneous, aggressive, confrontational, physically demanding work – ‘real’ police work (Van Maanen, 1978; Bandes, 2011; Chare, 2011)

14 As we move along Red Street, I notice a young black guy walking along the sidewalk. ‘Let me show you a little game I like to play,’ says Jason, the frontline cop driving the car. ‘Everyone here is gonna look at us, because we don’t fit in,’ he continues, ‘but I want you to deliberately not look at this guy as we pass him.’ I keep my eyes on the road in front of us, but as we pass the young man by I can see out of the wing mirror that he is staring at the car. ‘You see, he’s looking at us, checking out the licence plate and hangin’ around but we’re not burned. If we had looked at him, he would have reacted and gone inside.’ We turn another corner into Vine Street. ‘see this guy up ahead, I want you to look right at him,’ Jason tells me. As we pass another young black man hanging around on the corner, we both look out of the passenger window right at him, and the young man looks up nervously. ‘You see – now we’re burned – he knows we’re not customers and we’ve unnerved him!’ (Fieldnotes, May 2012) On the kitchen table in front of me, I see a large rock of heroin, a pan and two mobile phones. I am amazed at the size of the rock, and it’s strange to think that this is the motivation for most of the violence that occurs out there on the streets. In the living room next door, one officer counts the bundles of dollar notes that are scattered across the sofa, while the other cops rip the sofa and search the cupboards for other drugs or firearms. And in the middle of the living room, cuffed to a chair, is the young drug dealer. (Fieldnotes, May 2012) Small Victories and Continued Game Playing

15 Policing Culture, ‘Field’ and ‘Habitus’ (Bourdieu, 1990; Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992) STRUCTURAL CONDITIONS (The Field) POLICE ACTORS CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE (Habitus) POLICE PRACTICE (Chan, 1997)

16 Professor Ross Deuchar Director: Institute for Youth and Community Research and Centre for Youth Crime, Justice and Deterrence Research, UWS


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