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Proposed 'Green Tip' Bullet Ban Riles Gun Enthusiasts

President Obama’s administration has proposed banning the manufacture and sale of one of the most popular bullets used in AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, a move that has enraged gun-rights advocates and caused a run on the ammunition at gun shops across the country, says the New York Times. The ATF said this month that it planned to restrict the armor-piercing 5.56-millimeter “M855 green tip” rifle bullet because of new handguns that use the ammunition and pose a greater threat to the police.

The proposal would allow people to use up the ammunition they have already bought. Gun shops and firearms organizations on Thursday said there had been a rush to snap up cases of the bullets since the NRA sent out urgent alerts to members. Those alerts accused Obama of seeking to enact backdoor gun control measures that he could not pass in Congress in 2013. Gun rights groups said their members had sent tens of thousands of letters to members of Congress demanding that the rule not be approved. 

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WA Police Chief Finalists Get 'Public Job Interview'

In an unusual "public job interview," four candidates for police chief in Bellevue, Wash., addressed such things as the lessons of Ferguson, Mo., and the importance of diversifying the department during an appearance before the local media Thursday. The forum was part of a two-day community introduction of the candidates in Bellevue, where the population is about 40 percent minority but the police force is more than 80 percent white.

The candidates are Stephen Mylett, police chief in Southlake, Texas; Drew Tracy, a former assistant chief in Montgomery County, Md.; Chuck Miiller, assistant chief in Phoenix, and Gary Yamashiroya, a police commander in Chicago. Bellevue City Manager Brad Miyake said he will likely narrow the finalists to one or two next week and then conduct more extensive background checks, as well as possibly make visits to the finalists’ police departments.

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MN Campus Police Cut Racial Descriptions of Suspects

Acting after criticism, the University of Minnesota says it will no longer will include race and other descriptions of suspects in email crime alerts unless there is enough detail to aid in an arrest, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Thirteen protesters were arrested for trespassing on Feb. 9 when they converged on the office of university president Eric Kaler to ask that racial identifiers by eliminated from crime alerts.

In a letter to faculty, staff and students, Kaler said he has been persuaded that suspect descriptions "may unintentionally reinforce racist stereotypes of black men and other people of color as criminals and threats." Jane Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law at the school's journalism school, said the new practice is similar to the judgment news organizations make when deciding whether to publicize a suspect's description. "I'm in favor of more information rather than less information," Kirtley said. "They are not a news organization. They are the public safety and security office of a university."

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Michigan Sees Surge in Gun Licenses for Women

The Detroit News says the number of Michigan women who received or renewed concealed pistol licenses rose from 10,862 in 2010 to 25,418, a gain of 134 percent. And while women made up less than a quarter of the state's new permit holders last year, their numbers are growing faster than the number of Michigan men getting licenses. The number of newly issued or renewed licenses for men surged 103 percent from 2010 to 2014.

Experts say the Michigan numbers reflect a national trend. The number of new concealed pistol licenses issued annually to women also climbed in the Detroit area between 2010 and 2014, rising 122 percent in Macomb County, 90 percent in Wayne County and 74 percent in Oakland County, according to state police. Gratiot County, in mid-central lower Michigan, had the state's biggest jump in women with new licenses, up 489 percent. In Muskegon County the number of women obtaining licenses jumped 405 percent between 2010 and 2014.

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Critics Target Isolation, Fees of Prison Video Visits

NBC News explores whether the increasing use of video visitations adds to the isolation of prisoners from their loved ones. More than 500 prisons and jails across 43 states now use video systems for visitation, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Prison officials and firms that sell video systems say the devices reduce contraband, expand visiting hours and save on staffing costs.

But advocates and relatives of prisoners say the devices further isolate inmates and are costly to their families. State prisons have typically used remote visitation in concert with contact visits, but the Prison Policy Initiative found that 74 percent of jails that implemented the technology subsequently banned in-person visitation. In addition, most video systems now also allow for Skype-like visitation, where family can sign on and speak with loved ones from home for a fee, generally between $5 and $20 for a 20-minute visit. Critics of the systems say jails have gone to video-only visitation to encourage the fee-based home visits.

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CO County Teams Up Against Child Sex Trafficking

About 60 Jefferson County, Colo., children — most of them girls — are either being sold for sex or at high risk of becoming sex-trafficking victims, the county district attorney's office says. Those kids are being exploited not far from the public's view through Internet advertising sites and in motel rooms lining busy thoroughfares. Young girls living on the streets, many of whom are runaways from abusive homes and whose numbers are growing, have become "walking targets."

"That's unconscionable," said District Attorney Peter Weir. Weir's office last month created a special unit aimed at helping at-risk children before they become victims. The office is partnering with police and social services to take a team approach to battling the problem. The unit wants to set an example in Colorado at a time when trafficking is becoming more recognized and after new statutes went into effect in July aligning state laws with federal ones. Weir's office helped write those new statutes.


 

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E-Mails Reveal Tension Between VA Prosecutor, Police

The chief prosecutor in Fairfax County, Va., called for state police to investigate a Fairfax police shooting outside a church in September because he had lost confidence in the county police department’s ability to cooperate fully with him, reports the Washington Post. Newly released e-mails show that prosecutor Raymond F. Morrogh took the extraordinary step of asking for intercession by an outside agency after he had been stonewalled by Fairfax police in the August 2013 police shooting of John B. Geer in Springfield, the e-mails indicate.

Morrogh had sought the internal affairs records­ of the officer involved in the Geer case, but Chief Edwin C. Roessler refused to turn over the files. The e-mails, released by Morrogh, lay bare the tension within Fairfax County government as a result of the Geer case. Geer was unarmed and witnesses say had his hands up when he was killed by Officer Adam D. Torres. Fairfax officials had been silent for more than a year about what happened and did not release details until ordered to by a judge in a civil case filed by Geer’s family. Morrogh turned the investigation over to the U.S. Justice Department because of the county’s obstruction, he said.

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Indy Cop Crowdfunds DNA Test; Pulled From Case

Though he is not a cold case investigator, Detective Sgt. William Carter of the Indianapolis Metropolitan police used his own time over the past two years to look into the unsolved rape and murder 22 years ago of Carmen Hope Van Huss, 19. The city agreed to pay the $1,600 cost of a DNA test that Carter hoped might identify a suspect. But when that test went wrong and the city balked at paying for another, Carter set up an online crowdfunding page and asked for donations, reports the Indianapolis Star.

Seven hours after he began asking for donations, he had exceeded his goal. But when the Star published a story about the DNA-test crowdfunding, police officials pulled Carter from the case. They insisted he was removed over department jurisdictional issues, not the crowdfunding. "We just want to make sure that people stay in their lanes," said Major Chris Bailey. "We have cold case investigators, and we want to let them do their job." Officials say they are not sure whether they will authorize the new DNA test. Van Huss' family members are infuriated. "This is insane," said her brother Jimmy Van Huss.

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FL Gun Bill 'Makes No Sense,' Likely Will Pass

A bill in the Florida legislature to allow the carrying of guns on campus is opposed by all 12 Florida university presidents and all 12 university police chiefs. It is a proposal many college students and faculty members say will make them feel unsafe. It is a proposal that defies common sense, unless you're a member of the Republican-led Florida Legislature and want to run for re-election with an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association, says the Sun-Sentinel in an editorial.

And largely for that reason, a bill to let people carry concealed weapons on college campuses stands an excellent chance of becoming law after the legislative session begins next week. (A dozen other state legislatures are considering similar bills, shepherded by the NRA.) The Sun-Sentinel says, "Countless reasons exist why this bill doesn't make sense. But where guns are concerned, reason often doesn't matter in Florida."

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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Lynch, 12-8; IACP Backs Her

The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved the nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General, the New York Times reports. The vote was 12-8. The nomination could go to the Senate floor next week.

Earlier, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) endorsed Lynch, now U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a letter to the committee, the Hill reports. “Throughout her career, Ms. Lynch has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to the rule of law and protection of the public,” said IACP President Richard Beary.

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TCR at a Glance

How to Build the ‘Perfect Cop’

February 27, 2015

Can community policing restore public trust in a profession shaken by national events? The Sacramento News & Review gets a mixed answer.

Study: Medical Identity Theft on the Rise

new & notable February 26, 2015

The number of patients victimized by medical fraud schemes jumped nearly 22 percent in 2014, according to an annual study by the Ponemon ...

How to Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform

new & notable February 25, 2015

Two new studies by the Sentencing Project, an advocacy group, highlight successful campaigns for changes to state criminal justice policy

There Goes the Judge

February 24, 2015

Once-sleepy “retention elections” for judges have become vulnerable to big-spending partisan campaigns.

Chain of Command

February 20, 2015

Military brass undermine the ability to prosecute sex assaults, a New York City Bar Association panel is told

What was the BOP Doing in Afghanistan?

February 19, 2015

The federal agency overseeing prisons played a previously undisclosed role in the war on terror overseas. The ACLU wants to find out more.