LAPD LASD Law Enforcement Sheriff Lee Baca Violence Prevention

Harm-Focused Policing, LAPD Training and Retraining, the Mayor of New Orleans, and Tom Carey’s Guilty Plea


In a paper published on Friday in the journal Ideas in American Policing, Temple University criminal justice professor Jerry Ratcliffe outlines the difference between a “crime and disorder” focused policing strategy and another method he calls “harm-focused policing,” which redirects police resources and strategies toward the detrimental effects of crime on a community

Targeting issues that affect poor minority communities, like substance abuse, emotional health, and gang recruitment would go beyond the symptoms to get at the “why” of the crimes.

Switching the focus would more accurately represent communities’ concerns, says Jerry Ratcliffe, a criminal justice professor at Temple University and the paper’s author, and would help to change the relationship between cops and poor minority communities: “Where police can often see only crime and disorder, community experiences are more nuanced and diverse.”

While it can be difficult to quantify harm, the paper says there are ways to identify places and people that are especially harmful to communities.

Here’s a clip from the paper:

The range of community anxieties is often heartbreaking, ranging from the day-to-day incivilities that sap community cohesion, to concerns about root causes of crime, drugs, speeding traffic, environmental conditions, community dissolution and the harms associated with gang recruitment of young children. It is not uncommon to hear concerns about the lack of police attention to a neighborhood in the same meeting as complaints about the detrimental impacts of excessive and unfocused police attention on the wrong people. While there are correlations between increased police activity and lower neighborhood violence (see for example Koper & Mayo-Wilson, 2006; Ratcliffe, Taniguchi, Groff, & Wood, 2011), the negative consequences of repeated police contacts are now being more widely understood.

The paper also says the controversial practice of “stop, question, and frisk” (or “stop and frisk”) should be included in the harm index calculations as something that can hurt police-community relations:

The crime reduction benefits of increased pedestrian investigations (sometimes referred to in general as ‘stop, question and frisk’ [SQF]) remain a matter of some dispute (Rosenfeld & Fornango, 2014), and the tactic itself remains highly controversial with the public concerned about both the disproportionate impact on minority communities and potential reduction in police legitimacy. Even Braga and Weisburd, two of the strongest advocates of hot spots policing, accept that ‘It seems likely that overly aggressive and indiscriminate police crackdowns would produce some undesirable effects’ (2010: 188).

Given the potential for harm stemming from unrestrained used of SQF, inclusion of a weighting for each pedestrian or vehicle investigative stop has a number of benefits. First, it acts as a constraint against unfocused and unrestricted use of SQF by over-eager police commanders desperate to reduce crime in a location. The right weighting3 would still sanction use of the tactic, but ideally encourage a focused and targeted application because each stop would count against the area’s harm index. In this way a calculation of cost-benefit ratio would determine if the anticipated crime and harm reduction benefits sufficiently offset any potential loss of police legitimacy and community support. Second, this would send a signal that the police are cognizant of the potential for pedestrian and vehicle investigative stops to impact police-community relations and that they are aware that some police tactics come with an associated cost. Third, having a price associated with investigative stops may generate improved data collection of stops, which will have a corollary benefit, allowing departments to better assess their vulnerability to accusations of racial profiling.


In an interview with the LA Times’ Patt Morrison, Deputy Chief William Murphy, who is the head of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Police Sciences and Training Bureau, talked about how much LAPD training has evolved from a decade ago, how the Sandra Bland tragedy might have turned out differently, and how LA officers are taught to conduct traffic stops and mental health crisis calls.

Here’s a clip (but do yourself a favor and read the whole thing):

What is the LAPD training for a traffic stop?

In the academy, before we teach anything, we ask, “Have you ever been stopped by the police?” Everybody’s hands go up. [They say] the officer was kind of rude. We say: “Remember that before we teach you how to do a traffic stop. What if it was your mother? Your sister? Is that how you’d want someone to treat them?”

In California, we teach an eight-step traffic stop. The first four are critical: The initial thing is the greeting — a smile, say, “Good morning, I’m Officer Bill Murphy of the LAPD.” When people ask for business cards, you give it to them — that’s our policy. When you do this [he points to his nameplate] and say, “This is me,” you’re just getting them mad.

Then you explain the reason for the stop. In some of these traffic stops that go south, they’ve left out some of these components. The goal of a traffic stop is to educate, not irritate. You pull somebody over for running a stop sign to have a conversation to change their behavior.

Watch the tapes and you notice officers — not from California — don’t ask [the driver], “Why would you do that?” I’ve had people tell me, “My wife’s at the hospital delivering my first baby” or “I just got fired today and my head’s not in the game.” You give them an opportunity to explain before you make a decision whether or not to write a ticket.

Then [as the last step], you say have a good day; you always end on a positive note.

The Sandra Bland traffic arrest apparently escalated when an officer got testy because she wouldn’t put out her cigarette; it ended with Bland allegedly hanging herself in a jail cell.

You have to think, is [the driver] a threat to you, or are you just irritated because they happen to be having a cigarette? If you think they’re really a threat, that’s a different situation. I’ve gotten pulled over, and as a police officer, my heart still races. [Bland was] probably just nervous, smoking her cigarette.

We teach don’t be the “contempt of cop” cop. Usually, you get contempt of cop when your emotions take over, when the goal becomes something other than educating, like, “You’re not respecting my authority.”

We’re lucky: About 98% of our police vehicles are two-person. If the [first officer] for whatever reason isn’t making that connection and it’s getting heated, we tell them to switch roles right away. Say, “Hey, partner, let me take this over,” as opposed to getting into a confrontation.

I was asked about the video of the Cincinnati incident [a campus police officer shot an unarmed man during a traffic stop; the officer has been indicted for murder]. You need to control your emotions and stress level so you don’t overreact. When you overreact, you can see a threat that’s really not there.


The Altantic’s Jeffery Goldberg has a great longread about New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu who is on a crusade to cut down on the level of homicides in his city. Landrieu’s particular focus is on the “epidemic of young African American men killing young African American men.”

One of Mayor Landrieu’s innovative violence diversion programs, NOLA for Life, initiates “call-ins” where around 20 men between the ages of 16-24 who are likely to shoot or be shot, and who have had contact with the justice system, are called into court without explanation.

Landrieu addresses the gathered boys and young men, who are either doing a short stint in jail or are on probation, and introduces two groups of people who have come to speak with them and help them—on one side, representatives from every local and federal law enforcement agency, on the other, social workers and counselors ready to help the attendees and connect them with services and resources.

Landrieu tells the young men gathered in front of him, that if they leave the courthouse and make wrong choices they will have further contact with the law enforcement agencies in attendance, but if they choose correctly, Landrieu says, “I’ll make a commitment to you that you’re going to go to the front of the line: if you need a job, if you need mental-health, substance-abuse counseling, if you say you need something, the folks on this side of the room will listen to you, talk to you, help you.”

NOLA for Life also features mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and job training. And teams of counselors, including former gang members, are dispatched to ERs to convince family members of shooting victims not to seek revenge.

“i want people to tell me whether or not they think that the lives of poor young African American men that live in certain communities in every city—whether their lives matter…that’s all I want to know: that the answer to that is ‘yes’.”

Here’s a clip:

“It’s a roll of the dice. People get out of Central City, they do,” Landrieu told me recently. “But many don’t. If life had gone differently for Joseph Norfleet and James Darby, who knows? Joseph Norfleet could have been that 9-year-old victim. Maybe Joseph Norfleet would be dead and James Darby would be in prison today. We see this so often—today’s shooter is tomorrow’s victim.”

The prison [Angola], 130 miles from New Orleans, could legitimately be considered the city’s most distant neighborhood. Of the roughly 6,300 men currently imprisoned at Angola—three-quarters of them there for life, and nearly 80 percent of them African American—about 2,000 at any given moment are from New Orleans. Thousands of children in New Orleans—a city whose population today is roughly 380,000—have fathers who will reside until death in Angola.

“This place will bring you to your knees,” Landrieu said.


“What you’re going to see is a huge governing failure on the part of our society. This country has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country. That’s failure.”

Landrieu visits Angola on occasion to learn more about a crisis that has come to consume him. He decided, early in his first term, to devote the resources of his city to solving one of this country’s most diabolical challenges—the persistence of homicide in poor African American communities. The numbers are staggering. From 1980 to 2013, 262,000 black males were killed in America. By contrast, roughly 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam. In New Orleans, about 6,000 African American men have been murdered since 1980. The killers of these men were, in the vast majority of cases, other African American men. In New Orleans, 80 percent of murder victims are believed to have known their killer.


As we drove to Angola, I asked Landrieu why he has made homicide—a seemingly ineradicable disease in a gun-saturated country whose popular culture glorifies violence—his chief priority.

“I didn’t grab this. This problem grabbed me,” he said. “I guess you could say I’m obsessed with it. I don’t understand why it’s okay in America—a country that’s supposed to be the greatest country in the world, a place with more wealth than anywhere else—for us to leave so many of our citizens basically dead. Why do we allow our citizens to kill each other as if it’s the cost of doing business? We have basically given up on our African American boys. I’d be a cold son of a bitch if I ignored it, if I just focused on the other side of town, or focused just on tourism.

“I’m absolutely certain we have the money and the capacity to solve this problem, but we do not have the will. This problem doesn’t touch enough Americans to rise to the level of a national crisis. But these are all our children. I’m embarrassed by it. How could this be normal?”


On Wednesday, former Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Captain William “Tom” Carey officially changed his plea to guilty in the obstruction of justice trial involving the hiding of a federal informant from the FBI.

Standing before US District Judge Percy Anderson, Carey pled guilty to one count of perjury. In exchange, three separate charges of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and another count of lying on the witness stand, are to be dismissed.

In return, Carey will have to fully cooperate with the feds and provide testimony in related trials, including that of his co-defendant, former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, and that of former Sheriff Lee Baca, who has not been indicted, but may be federal prosecutors’ next target.

ABC7’s Miriam Hernandez and Lisa Bartley were there in court and have the story. Here are some clips:

Former Sheriff Leroy “Lee” Baca might be getting nervous right about now.

Retired Captain William “Tom” Carey, 57, officially changed his plea to guilty on Wednesday, becoming the highest-ranking Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department official to flip in the years-long federal investigation.

“Guilty,” Carey stated under oath as he stood before Judge Percy Anderson alongside his defense attorney Andrew Stolper.

Carey cut a deal with prosecutors that requires total cooperation with law enforcement as they forge ahead in their investigation of corruption and inmate abuse inside county jails, which are run by the LASD.

Speculation is growing that Baca, who abruptly resigned in January 2014, could be in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors.

“We’ve seen in the investigation of this case that the prosecution has been trying to go as high as they can, even to the sheriff himself,” said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor and former federal prosecutor.

Carey’s co-defendant, former LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, goes on trial this November for his alleged role in the scheme to block the FBI investigation.


Carey’s plea deal means that three felony counts — obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of making false statements — will be dismissed.

Carey pleaded guilty to one count of making another false statement, which points to what prosecutors say was the true motivation for hiding Brown from the FBI.

At the trial of Deputy James Sexton in May 2014, Carey testified that there was no other reason to move Brown other than for his own safety.

Carey now admits that was a lie because he “knew that the deputies ordered to stand guard over Inmate AB during this time were there, at least in part, so that the FBI could not have access to Inmate AB unless there was an order from co-defendant Tanaka or another LASD executive that would have allowed access.”

Carey’s cooperation agreement means he is likely to testify against Tanaka at his upcoming trial, although defense attorneys are sure to attack Carey’s credibility now that he’s admitted to previously lying on the witness stand.


  • Way to attack the problem Landrieu. Course he speaks on it and acts it’s fine, White cop does it he’s a racist, just ask Chicago Fraud.

  • Where are all those people claiming the ” Convicted Seven” were innocent ….lol

    Can somebody ask Capt Carey ( under oath) if he knows about the investigation of who burglarized the Internal Affairs Unit of LASD ? Its all hush hush……

  • You’ve finally done the right thing Tom. Thank you.

    There are so many victims of the corruption “Tanaka-Machine” – So many destroyed lives and careers. It is just too bad that Sheriff McDonnell can’t see the corruption he surrounds himself with.

  • Will somebody ask Tom Carey ( under oath) if he knows anything about the break in at LASD Internal Affairs where specific files were taken ?

  • Tom had no real choice the second go around. His own ass was on the line.

    One blogger wrote a few days ago stating that Karma is King. All hail the King.

    Will you bloggers and haters of the FED’S still despise them and continue to spew venom at Judge Anderson when his perspective puts Paul in prison?

  • I speak in concert with the agreement of many deputies who are tired of the >mush mouth > no action > all talk > from ALADS.

    If the new contract does not meet or exceed the County offer……Jeff Steck should humbly STEP DOWN or BE REPLACED.

  • 6. Yah Right:
    Weak attack on a man down. I suffered under Tanaka too, but what puts us above him and his like is compassion. Your attacks on Retired Captain Carey are akin to beating an inmate that is already handcuffed. Please expound on how Captain Carey affected your career. We need to bring the Tanaka brainwashed back into the fold. Let’s all band together to make this Department what it was before Tanaka tore it up. Don’t give up, make a difference. What can you do to bring this Department back from the shallows it fell to? Learn policy changes and be smarter. Keep taking monsters to jail. Don’t use weak leaders as an excuse not to do the right thing. Don’t use policy changes as an excuse to be lazy. Don’t use the excuse that the Sheriff isn’t casting down your favorite Tanakaite. He is not Tanaka, he is Jim. He does things his way. If you don’t like it run for Sheriff in the next election. He is the Sheriff. Tanaka fucked up this Department. Jim is trying to fix it, sorry he doesn’t fit your time frame. Since Tanaka was cast down, my career has been bliss. Sorry yours isn’t. Step up and do something about it. Quit your whining and make a difference.
    I call on all of you, you commenters, to step up and just do the job you signed up for. If you don’t like something, talk to someone about it. It that doesn’t get you satisfaction then take it to the next level. But make sure it’s a valid complaint. Don’t bring cheesy shit up and waste people’s time. God bless you all. We will make it through this. We will maintain our status as the top law enforcement agency in the world. In the world!

  • Lonestar Justice, you have any further info on the break in at IA? Date or time? Would love to look up that tag# or file number.

    John Q Deputy, we will not get less than the county’s offer. No matter what you think of Jeff Steck’s persona, I truly believe he is doing all that can be done. He has just as much to gain or lose. The county is not going to give us more than their offer.

  • Just received an update on negotiations. We’re screwed. This is the first time that ALADS has had an Executive Director along with an Assistant Executive Director plus a Professional Negotiator……for what?

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I’ve seen smarter incarcerated Pro Pers get better deals fighting the death penalty. Totally embarrassing.

  • #2 YOu are so right. Speaking of victims, Sheriff McDonnell how come Children’s Victims Bureau, Tom Carey’s last assignment still does not have a captain after 8 months, yet you can afford to assign 2 captains to custody facilities? I guess children don’t matter and the department victimizes them again.

  • Frank Murphy……Trust me, I’m not the only one. Nothing personal, just business.

    It all started with him perpetrating a politician at various units. You had to be there.

  • OK 275323. The “Professional Negotiator” agreed upon mirroring the uniform allowance of POPA Sgt’s and above. Great!

  • @John Q: My understanding is we will have an opportunity to reject or ratify. If it gets ratified then I guess you’re in the minority. Maybe you and some of those Pro Pers you speak of should go down there and show them how it should be done.

  • Jeff, while I agree with some of your comments, there appears to be a sentiment of “I got mine, screw you” that permeates your observations. That is not going to bring the department together and get the healing process going. All you do is breed a new generation of resentment.

    Whatever timeline McDonnell is working on, he needs to step it up and address systemic corruption, a poisoned organizational culture, and a ruthless “me first” careerism throughout the upper ranks. There is an element of humility missing from those who profited handsomely from the Tanaka regime, and that goes to the crux of the problem – merit.

    There are far too many egos occupying positions they have no business holding, that are delaying the reform efforts the department should be engaging in. Unfortunately for McDonnell, he is relying on some of these same individuals for opinions – a bad move.

    The leadership within the department needs to be rebuilt based on sound principles of ethical conduct, merit, and tireless service to the community. So far we’ve only seen tireless service to themselves.

  • @John Q: there’s an election coming up. Run for Director and go down there and fix it. Since, you seem to be in the know!

  • What I find most fascinating about some bloggers on these threads is the assumption that they are the best Cop, the most knowledgeable about department politics and they’re the only people trying to make a difference.

    Yeah, I’ll just sit back and “suffer in silence” while “John Q Deputy” fixes everything. He hasn’t fixed anything yet!

  • School is in session. Do you really think that the last dictatorship of Floyd Hayhurst was a coinky dinky?. The famous “swing vote” of “Steck the Wreck” was all planned out. The same backstabbing plan will “Karma(lize)” him on or before the next election in November.

    Consider me a mole in a sea of rats in the house of ALADS. I don’t knock you for your ignorance……you just don’t know. Steck’s sneaky ways are reminiscent Dr.Jekyll & Dr. Hyde. Enough of the blueprint of him. Come November ……He’s out. Less than 80 days. For the non believers……go back to sleep.

  • Well at least we have raging waters coming up. What a joke. Alads never has a straigHt answer. Just be straight up, keep it real. As far as the sheriff. Stop wasting air time with your messages. We’re trying to do work while you impose your status as the sheriff reminding us to wear seat belts. Deputies don’t believe in you. Not because your an outsider but because your actions as a “leader” say otherwise. Don’t be intimidated by us because your not a Deputy Sheriff. Embrace the departments work ethic and tradition. Put the hammer down and help lead the best department in the world in a new direction. Where is your compassion when dealing with Deputy Sheriffs.

    I heard you were a cop once. Politicking changes a person even chiefs who are a dirty. If you want to clean up, look at the those at the top right now. A bunch of brown nosers who say what you want to hear. Oh and the assistant sheriff does not have the qualities to be a leader. Cdc is not equal to LA Sheriff Deputy. she is out of touch. We’re no better or worse just different type of work. She needs to leave.

  • A long shot would be Dean Garlaneau.

    NO for Ron Hernandez.
    NO for Jennifer Dubois-Martin.
    NO for Mark Claashen

    These are pretty much universal opinions.The jury is out for the others. More to follow.

  • And so the politics begin. I have been generally satisfied with sitting back and watching the commentary, however now that my name has been mentioned I feel compelled to comment.

    @John Q Deputy, I just submitted my papers to run for a Directors seat and very few know. So, I do not believe you are a mole, but in fact one of the rats, as you choose to call them, not my words yours. I believe there may in fact be some well intentioned Directors.

    Please explain to anyone who is truly paying attention, why I am a No vote.

    Is it because I have been down at ALADS forcing change, transparency for the good of the members as opposed to someone elses agenda. Because it is my belief that the 6500 plus Deputies who have been to busy working are fed up with the dysfunction.

    You’re right we’ll know in 80 or so days. Can you please state your true name (even though I have a general idea), at the very minimum so that people can educate themselves as to the issues at hand and who they want to support.

  • Forcing change, transparency? Oh really, do tell. As opposed to someone’s else agenda…..say it ain’t so. Time (approximately 80 days) will tell but not before you enlighten the audience with YOUR actions of “forcing change” and you exploits of transparency. All that and you’re not even on the board. Wow.

    I’m sure your eyes were wide and your jaw tightened to see your name in this blog. Don’t worry. This will be the only time. See you Wednesday.

  • @John Q Deputy, well at least you’ll “see” me, since you absolutely know who I am! That too is part of the problem at ALADS. Any discussions I have had outside of that building, I repeat at the Rep meetings or in front of the subject, if allowed. The routine behavior of limited discussion with the subject, but plenty to say behind their back is counter productive.

    What’s your name? I think you forgot to add that to your response.

  • I know Ron Hernandez, and he is a man of integrity. The fact that he is NOT an incumbent is the most important thing, as any incumbent who allowed this disaster to unfold should resign in disgrace.

    I had the occasion to meet Jeff Steck a few months ago, and I’m puzzled by why the members or the board would elect such a man to lead ALADS. He lacks the skills to lead a pack of starving wolves to a fresh kill, and the social graces of a door knob. There is something very wrong if I can go to any unit on the department, yank out the first deputy I see and make him ALADS president, and get a better result.

    The only thing that keeps the corrupt leadership of ALADS in charge, including Tricky Dick and Les Robbins, is the apathy of the membership. If and when they ever pull their heads out of their asses, they will start demanding more for their dues than a picnic with a water slide.

  • LATBG: Bingo•Knockout•Homerun•Shut-out. I could add more, but why.

    You said it all.

    FYI, the general membership would never vote Steck as President if they could …..only the enablers of ALADS board. What does that tell you.

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