Is law enforcement getting sloppy?

It pains me to write this article. As a former attorney general and someone who up to this day works with ex law enforcement officials, I, nonetheless, need to raise some pretty blatant occurrences which seem to suggest either  a lack of thoroughness or an easy way out of an in-depth investigation. Here’s what I mean.
Boston Marathon: As we now know, after the all-clear signal was given, a gentleman went out to his backyard to get some air. He noticed that the tarp on his boat was disturbed and there appeared to be blood. Sure enough, the bombing suspect was inside the boat. The homeowner   alerted the authorities who arrested the suspect. Lucky for him that he didn’t get his head blown off by the19-year-old perp, who might have been armed.
This boat was very close to the initial dragnet area. It was an obvious place to search. What happened? For folks to suggest that the all-clear signal was a ruse used by the police to mislead the wrongdoer bespeaks a woeful lack of understanding of the potential police liability, were the homeowner hurt. The simple fact is that the search was not thorough. The protocol for a search is to look everyplace where somebody could hide.
Cleveland, Ohio: Fortunately, three women from the same area abducted almost a decade ago were found safe in a home where they were allegedly held hostage. Ensuing stories claim that at least twice police were called by neighbors who reported bizarre happenings at the location, including a naked girl chained to a tree in the yard. The police stated  that they have no such record of calls. The chief should be asked how long they keep records since the excuse could merely mean that the records weren’t kept from years ago. Unlike occasions when a single person is kidnapped, there was press surrounding the three abductions, which should have made the police more vigilant in following up on a complaint. The informers may be lying now about the calls, but their stories have the ring of truth to them.
Federal law enforcement: Fortunately, Rhode Island ranks in the bottom tier for this practice of selling information for a reduction in sentence,  but there is a virtual epidemic of federal inmates getting deals for providing information. Here’s the practice. Inmate A will “cooperate” by providing information to an investigator. If it pans out, he will get a reduction of 50% off his time to serve. In drug cases a conservative estimate is that 25% of those convicted have had their time substantially reduced by fingering somebody else. The next step for Inmate A  is to then sell information on other criminal activities  to  fellow inmates. Dossiers of information are given to Prisoners B to Z to memorize. These prisoners usually have no direct knowledge of the crime but pay Inmate X thousands of dollars for the information, so each  can trade it for a shorter sentence. Defendants who have money get to exploit the informant chain, whereas poorer prisoners do not get to bargain for a lighter sentence. Conservatively, one in eight federal prisoners get deals from this practice, according to a “USA Today” study published December 14, 2012.
While informants are sometimes necessary, the “pay to play” process should be the last resort, not the first. Investigations have to return to the basics without giving bonuses to bad guys who should be serving their full terms.


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