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Policing Matters Podcast: How should cops balance free speech and public safety during rallies?

Doug and Jim also discuss issues related to marijuana legalization and stop and frisk


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Segment One: Recently, police in Anaheim (Calif.) were criticized for not having ample presence at a KKK rally that turned violent, while at the same time law enforcement officials in Cleveland are spending $50 million on riot-gear in advance of the Republican National Convention this summer. Meanwhile, police in New Orleans were able to allow BLM protesters to exercise their First Amendment rights outside a Donald Trump rally. Jim and Doug Discuss why it’s critical to achieve that fine balance of having an adequate level (and type) of presence, without creating more tension between opposing groups, as well as some specific tactics law enforcement can use to achieve that objective. 

Segment Two: Critics of the so-called “Stop and Frisk” have effectively ended the practice in places like New York City. But the fact is that when an officer conducts a field interview or makes contact with an individual who they reasonably suspect to possess a weapon, conducing that search is an officer safety issue. The tactic has been held to be Constitutional in the 1968 case Terry v. Ohio, which was based on a stop conducted by Cleveland Police Department Detective Martin McFadden. Jim and Doug discuss how the tactic is used, and consider ways to better educate the public that it’s not a matter of police arbitrarily stopping people on the street, but based on the officer’s articulable observations.

Segment Three: With four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — and the District of Columbia allowing individuals to possess and consume marijuana for recreational purposes, as well as other states allowing for its medical use, officers are tasked with keeping the roads safe and free from drivers impaired by the drug. While companies like Hound Labs are working toward developing breathalyzers to detect THC, officers on the road have to rely on experience and expertise to determine impairment. Another issue for law enforcement is just on the horizon: How do you deal with police applicants who admit to prior use in states where such use is completely legal? Jim and Doug examine these and other issues related to the legal availability of pot in an increasing number of states. 

Episode 7

  • Segment One: Crowd Control
  • Segment Two: Stop and Frisk (10:48 min mark)
  • Segment Three: Legal Pot (24:03 min mark)

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