Showing posts from April, 2019

"I held this kid's hand. I talked to him. I begged him not to die."

An interview with Deputy Chief Wayne Harris (Ret.), formerly of the Rochester Police Department in New York.Deputy Chief Wayne Harris (Ret.) joined the LEAP speakers bureau in 2019 to work on issues ranging from procedural justice to the impacts of justice system fines and fees on indigent civilians. In this interview, he discusses the mental health challenges facing police and how re-envisioning policing as "relational" will revolutionize the field and make neighborhoods safer.

Mikayla Hellwich: Why did you choose a career in law enforcement?

Chief Harris: I never actually intended to be a police officer growing up. I started working with the Salvation Army when I was about 16, and I developed a skill set in dealing with youth. It was a summer job once, and I kept going back to it in New Jersey for about eight years. After that time, a friend of my father's, who was an officer on the Rochester Police Department, approached my father with a job he thought I would be great …

The Opioid Crisis - How Every Cop Can Help Right Now

My name is Chris Magnus, and I’m the police chief of Tucson, Arizona. Recently, several of my officers were flagged down by a frantic couple who said someone in their vehicle was dying. The officers were led to an unresponsive 20 year-old man experiencing a drug overdose in the back seat. They worked to revive him, and he was ultimately transported to a nearby hospital where his condition improved. Meanwhile, the young man’s friends told the officers about other teens in similar shape at a nearby house party.

The officers rushed to the house and discovered an unconscious 17 year-old girl lying on the floor. She had overdosed, and all the signs pointed to opioids. Relying on their training, our officers administered naloxone (also called Narcan®), an over-the-counter opioid overdose reversal drug. This drug is as simple to use as it is effective, and can be administered nasally without any harmful side effects. Thankfully, due to the concerned couple, our officers’ actions, and the powe…

Innovative Prosecutors are Promoting Police Accountability and Civil Rights

The Institute for Innovation in Prosecution is part of a growing movement to create criminal justice programs and policies that reduce crime and incarceration. New LEAP speaker and former Assistant District Attorney Lucy Langis the IIP's executive director and a national leader in prosecutorial reform. The following discussion with Lang explores the challenges prosecutors face, the IIP's groundbreaking work, and how prosecutors are learning from past mistakes to help tackle the civil rights crisis.

Learn more about the IIP's novel toolkit to help prosecutors best respond to officer-involved shootings.

Mikayla Hellwich: Thanks so much for meeting with me. Our social media audience will enjoy hearing from you for many reasons - one of which is that not many people with law enforcement backgrounds are women - so we really appreciate the perspective that you bring to our organization.

First, I’d like to talk about your professional background prior to the position you hold now …

Press Release: Nat'l Leaders in Law Enforcement Agree on Mental Health, Justice System Solutions

  National Leaders in Law Enforcement Agree on Mental Health, Justice System Solutions

The nation’s first response to mental health crises is often dangerous for all involved, say experts.

April 10, 2019 – (DENVER, COLO.) – The way we currently address mental health amounts to a public health crisis, say law enforcement department and policy leaders. The lack of access to mental health care for many communities places an overwhelming burden of mental health crisis management on public safety agencies. Law enforcement experts have just released a priority list for community-based reforms, produced in collaboration with The Equitas Project, a non-profit organization working nationally at the intersection of mental health and criminal justice.

"Jails and prisons are not designed to be mental health facilities. Police are not trained to be social workers or counselors, and the criminal system is no place for people with mental illnesses. We have to seriously reinvest in proper mental he…

Op-Ed: Arizona Needs Real Criminal Justice Reform

First published in print by the Arizona Republic
April 5th, 2019

Officer Jack Wilborn (Ret.)
Speaker, The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP)

In January, a bipartisan coalition of both liberals and conservatives stood alongside nearly 100 formerly incarcerated people gathered at the Statehouse to make the case for HB 2270, a bill to create fair and just sentencing in Arizona. It was an inspiring day filled with personal stories, powerful policy arguments, and the people most impacted by Arizona’s broken criminal justice system speaking directly to those with the power to change it. 

These are the voices we need, at the moment we need them.

Yet Arizona’s House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Allen decided to ignore these voices for change and instead bow to pressure from the same tough-on-crime prosecutors who got us into this mess. Allen let the legislative hearing deadline come and go without considering HB 2270 and other key reform bills, handing a major setback to bipartisan r…