10 Books on the Lives of Police Officers

Sep 29th, 2010

There’s never been any question on the importance or significance that police have in our society. The police that patrol and protect our society risk their safety and the lives of their families to keep order in our societies and fight to keep dangerous individuals off our streets. The following books offer a sobering look into the lives of the people that put their lives on the line to ensure public safety:

  • Becoming a Police Officer: An Insider’s Guide to a Career in Law Enforcement
    Written by Berry Baker, who has over 30 years in law enforcement, this book serves as a guide to anyone considering a career in law enforcement or wanting to know more about it. The books lists the true ins and outs of living as a police officer, offers firsthand knowledge of how to enjoy the job, and have satisfaction, while also understanding the dangers and how to avoid them. The book also covers the training, police departments politics, and the law.
  • True Blue: To Protect and to Serve
    Written by Sgt. Randy Warren, True Blue is a compilation by several cops about their lives as police officers. The book includes blood, sweat, tears and even some laughs, as you are lead into the real lives of police officers. The book also offers accounts of behind the scenes of the September 11th attacks, and what it was like for the men and women who put their lives on the line to step up and rescue our country after it was ambushed.
  • What Cops Know
    Written by Connie Fletcher, What Cops Know is a collection of stories and interviews from 125 police officers in an attempt to discover what their jobs are like- in a technical sense as well as emotionally. The stories, which take the reader through an array of emotions, are about police officers responses to working on the streets with violence, sex, drugs, organized crime, and gangs.
  • A Cop’s Life: True Stories from the Heart Behind the Badge
    Written by Veteran Sgt. Randy Sutton, A Cop’s Life tells about life as a cop on some of the most difficult streets to police- in Las Vegas, as well as many other cities in the US. The book offers a look into policing through the tales of 20 short stories which offer everything a police officer encounters on a day to day basis no matter where he or she works- scary, uplifting, heroic and life altering.
  • The Rights of Law Enforcement Officers
    Written by Will Aitchison, this book serves as a legal guide to anyone involved and working in law enforcement. The book describes the rights of any person working in law enforcement and what process to go about when those rights have been violated. The book also offers the reader useful tools and plans to ensure the rights of law enforcement officers are met, acknowledged, and upheld.
  • A Different Shade of Blue: How Women Changed the Face of Police Work
    Written by Adam Eisenberg, A different Shade of Blue recounts the lives of female police officers in the field and tells of their struggles as police. The book, told through the voices of 50 female police officers, sheds light on the issues and challenges of sexism, harassment, and the way criminals deal with and treat women police officers.
  • Inside the Kill Zone: A Cop’s Eye View of Deadly Force
    Written by David Klinger, an ex-cop, Inside the Kill Zone is a compilation of 80 interviews and stories of police officers who were forced to shoot in the line of duty. The stories, each told in their own words, include the officers thoughts on police before becoming police officers, the situation itself, the aftermath, and the effect it had on the officer. The book sheds more light on the dangerous lives of police officers and the split second decisions they are forced to make when their lives can be over in the blink of an eye.
  • Boot: An L.A.P.D. Officer’s Rookie Year
    Written by William Dunn about his first year as a cop with the L.A.P.D, this book shows how rookie cops start, their day experiences, how they do what they do, what they feel, what their training doesn’t get them ready them for- as well as a much bigger look into the life of a new police officer. The book not only tells of Dunn’s first year on the brutal street of L.A., but also about adjusting to choosing his career and everything else along the way.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Police Officers Report
    Written by L. Ken Rogers, this book is a compilation of the feelings and ordeals the author went trough with post traumatic stress disorder as a police officer. The book is written in a way as to let people know that officers can be victims too, and that they also, are people. The book also serves as a support system for other officers involved with these feelings to know they are not alone and that they should reach out for help.
  • Practical Homicide Investigation: Checklist and Field Guide
    Written by Vernon Gerberth, Practical Homicide focuses more on the crime scene investigations aspect of police officers and how they should be conducted. The book serves as a how-to and checklist to ensure that every aspect of the crime scene and investigation is looked into. The book explains in depth, tactics and procedures to forensics and evidence collection, using photos and illustrations to explain everything in between.

20 Books to Help You Understand Criminal Justice Better

Sep 21st, 2010

Criminal Justice is a complex system of practices and organizations that involves a wide variety of different types of laws. Whether you’re looking into what degree to go into, are starting a Criminal Justice Degree, or just wanting to know the basics about Criminal Justice- the following books should be able to help:

  • Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction
  • Written by Frank Schmalleger, this book serves a a general introduction to criminal justice related areas accompanied with several definitions, pictures and facts. With many recent and up to date cases, the book outlines the important fields that make up the criminal justice system in the U.S.

  • Judicial Process in America
  • This book analyzes the courts at every level from the judges and attorneys to law makers and legislators. Written by Robert A. Carp, Ronald Stidham, and Kenneth L. Manning, the book also explores the history of how the judicial process got to where it is today and highlights the most important components of it.

  • Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21st Century
  • Written by Frank Schmalleger, this textbook introduces all aspects of the law, police, courts, and corrections. The book is complete with Q & A’s, pictures, models and visual aids for a clear understanding of the criminal justice system and what it has become today.

  • Procedures in the Justice System
  • Written by Cliff Roberson, Harvey wallace and Gilbert B. Stuckey, this book details the courts and the judicial process and outlines what process offenders are taken through- from their arrest to their sentencing.

  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • This textbook touches the procedural aspects of criminal law while also keeping the reader updated with changing laws in the aftermath of incidents such as 9/11, the rise in white collar crimes, and cybercrimes. Written by John M. Scheb, this book also shares important statutes and Penal codes.

  • The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System
  • Written by Paul Bergman and Sara Bergman, this book, set up as a guide of the criminal justice system, touches a vast area of criminal law and how it operates, with an introduction to legal terms and phrases and an explanation of what they mean.

  • Criminology for Dummies
  • Author Steven Briggs touches the basics of criminology in this book exploring the reasons and consequences of specific crimes, society’s views of crimes and punishments, and crime prevention. The book also informs of the basics of arrests, jail protocols, and every step along the way.

  • Criminal Justice (Cliff’s Quick Review)
  • Written by Dennis Hoffman, this Cliff Notes guide gives a brief and understandable overview of several aspects of criminal justice and law enforcement such as: landmark Supreme Court cases, how the courts work, rights of citizens and general laws and crimes.

  • Dictionary of Legal Terms
  • Written by Steven H. Gifis, this is a guide for the non-lawyer or regular person to understand words commonly used in law and criminal justice related topics. It also gives examples of situations of when the term would be used, to help better explain certain aspect of the law and process.

  • Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About the Legal System
  • Written by Jay M Feinman, this book provides readers with an overview of the basics of laws and serves as an introduction to understanding the legal system in America. The book, organized in Q & A format covers contracts, property law, legal procedures, rights of citizens and many other basic elements of the law.

  • The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution
  • Written by Linda R Monk, this book serves a guide for anyone who wants to know more about the rights of U. S. citizens and the Constitution. Monk provides the reader with text, cases and overviews of the rights of citizens and what they mean.

  • Understanding Today’s Police
  • Written by M. L. Dantzker, this book presents the many evolving roles of the police officer. Offering issues, experiences, observations and interviews, Understanding Today’s Police shows the complex system of policing as it changes with society and by communities.

  • Theorizing Criminal Justice: Eight Essential Orientations
  • This book explores the criminal justice system by giving a better understanding of complex issues in the criminal justice system. Written by Peter Kraska and John Brent, it also gives an insight into policy making, the people who work in the field, and the take affect media has.

  • The Mythology of Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Written by Victor E Kappeler, this book sheds some light on the myths regarding the criminal justice system in the U.S. It outlines the basics of the system in the U.S. and offers facts for the misinformed due to media and other literature.

  • Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit
  • This book talks about the FBI’s special force and getting inside some of the most notorious real-life murderer’s minds to capture them. The authors- John Douglas, a criminal profiler for the FBI for 25 years, and Mark Olshaker, who spent his career hunting for serial killers offer their perspectives into the lives of special agents.

  • No Mercy
  • Written by John Walsh, the host of the television show America’s Most Wanted, this book presents several real life cases presented on his show and talks about what happens behind the camera and when catching the criminals. The book also includes information about children that are still missing and fugitives still at large.

  • Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments
  • Written by Dominick Dunne, whose daughter was murdered by her boyfriend, who only served two years in prison, Dunne became particularly interested in the criminal justice system. This books tells about several high-profile murder cases, including the crime, the trial, and the outcome and his beliefs on the outcome.

  • America’s Courts and the Criminal Justice System
  • Written by David W. Neubauer and Henry F. Fradella, provides much information about the criminal justice system, how different courts work, juvenile courts, the law, rights of the accused and several other aspects of the law.

  • Crime and Justice in America: An Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • In this book the author, Joycelyn M Pollock introduces the criminal justice system in four main sections and the relations they have with social control and in society while including theories and research.

  • Criminology: The Core
  • Written by Larry J. Siegal, this textbook brings the reader through the study of criminal justice by explaining research and theories, affects of criminal behavior, crime statistics and real stories of victims and offenders.

    8 Gunmen That Went Postal

    Sep 19th, 2010

    It seems that as of late, we’ve been seen more stories of notorious gunmen involved in mass shootings riddle the media. While they are eye-openers and perhaps give us a better sense of what needs to be done to prevent these mass shootings, they are still very sad, unfortunate and unnecessary situations. The following are 8 stories of gunmen who lost it:

  • Stanley Neace
  • Upset with life and showing increased hostility to his neighbors, Stanley Neace was facing eviction in the mobile park where he lived. Then when his wife didn’t make his breakfast right one morning in September 2010, Neace became enraged, grabbed a shotgun and started firing. At the end of his rampage, Neace’s wife and 3 neighbors were dead and as police arrived Neace killed himself on his porch.

  • Omar Thornton-
  • Omar Thornton, a 34 year old man caught stealing beer several times on tape from the distributor where he worked, was called in for a meeting in August 2010, and offered the chance to quit before he was fired. He quit, then pulled out a gun and started firing; in the end he killed 8 people, wounded 2 and then turned the gun on himself. Thornton, who was black, had told his family of racial harassment at work before, but the family that owns the distributorship claimed that was not an issue and that he had never filed a complaint before.

  • Robert Reza
  • Upset over a domestic dispute and child custody, 37 year old Robert Reza confronted his girlfriend outside the manufacturing plant where she worked in New Mexico and shot her in July of 2010. He then forced himself inside the Emcore Corp. plant, killed 2 others and wounded 4 more before turning the gun on himself. His girlfriend, who survived the attacks, had told co-workers that she was going to report Reza, who had previously worked with Emcore, to police for domestic violence.

  • Amy Bishop
  • A Harvard educated professor at the University of Alabama- Huntsville, 42 year old Amy Bishop had been denied tenure and attended a staff meeting in February of 2010. She then pulled out a handgun and opened fire on her colleagues- starting with those closest to her, shooting each in the head. She was arrested a few minutes later by police outside the building; 3 people were dead and 3 others were wounded.

  • Andrew Joseph Stack
  • After setting his house on fire and leaving behind a suicide note, Andrew Stack crashed his small plane into an office complex building that held the IRS and several other state and federal government agencies in Austin, Tx. The February 2010 crash and subsequent fire killed Stack along with one other IRS employee and wounded 13 others. In his note, which he left on his website, Stack expressed extreme hate over the federal government and the IRS, and told of his long-running disputes with the IRS over the years.

  • Nidal Hassan
  • Major Nidal Hassan, an Army psychiatrist, who was upset about being scheduled to be deployed to Iraq, opened fire at a processing center at Ford Hood, Texas, one of the largest military bases in the US. Hassan, who had been under the FBI’s watch before due to internet postings about suicide bombings, killed 13 and wounded 30 in the November 2009 shooting. After the shooting Hassan, found alive and severely wounded, was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

  • Jiverly Wong
  • A Vietnamese immigrant blocked the entrance of the American Civic Association in upstate New York, walked inside without saying a word, and opened fire in April of 2009. 41 year old Jiverly Wong, killed 13 people and wounded 4 more before hearing police sirens and turning the gun on himself. Wong, who had taken English classes at the center, had quit in March because he said he felt degraded over his poor English.

  • Robert Hawkins
  • 19 year old Robert Hawkins left behind a suicide note in his parent’s house and headed to the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska in December 2007. Hawkins took an elevator to the top floor in a department store and opened fire- he killed 8 people and wounded 4 others. Hawkins, who was taking medication and had been hospitalized for depression several times since the age of 6, turned the gun and shot himself.

    10 Books with Homeland Security Threats

    Sep 15th, 2010

    Since the attacks on the U. S. on September 11, 2001, the United States government has stepped up the game tremendously to protect its citizen from another grave terrorist attack. Countless books have been written about terrorists groups, the large role Homeland Security plays, and what these mean to the privacy and freedom of our citizens. The following books offer looks into the threats on Homeland Security and the US:

  • Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy
  • This book, written by Mark M Lowenthal, shares a broad coverage and introduction to intelligence, politics and processes behind intelligence, and how to make it work most efficiently. Lowenthal also sheds light and offers insight regarding the largest intelligence issues we continue to face: the September 11th attacks and other countries’ weapons of mass destruction.

  • Terrorism and Homeland Security: An Introduction
  • Written by Jonathan White, a Criminal Justice Professor at Grand Valley State University, and used in many college campuses across the country, this book introduces criminal justice and other social sciences to terrorism. The book is intended to help the understanding of terrorism and how to prevent it while also explaining how emotional issues in terrorism have become. For that reason, the issues and facts presented in the book are explained from various points of views.

  • Islam and Terrorism
  • Written by Mark A Gabriel, a former Professor of Islamic History and a former Imam, Islam and Terrorism introduces the Islamic holy book and Islamic faith. The book encourages the understanding and acceptance of individual Muslims but forewarns the people to be aware of what Islam teaches. The book, written in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, tells about the journeys the writer experiences in the knowledge of Islamic faith and how he came to question it.

  • Terrorism and Homeland Security: Thinking Strategically about Policy
  • Written by Paul Viotti, this Homeland Security book focuses on the contributions from security experts and top military personnel. Many issues addressed in this book, which include civil liberties, privacy, nuclear weapons, and intelligence, offer a look into fighting terrorism with strategies that have made the department what it is today. Aside from discussing strategies, the book also brings to light the elements involved in building such strategies.

  • Inside Terrorism
  • Written by Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, covers a variety of debates and discussions surrounding terrorists and terrorists attacks. Hoffman covers the religion, public opinion, methods and mindsets revolving terrorism and how they work and get noticed. The book offers good points as to what effects media coverage has on terrorism and that determination is a good step in on the fight to prevent terrorists attacks.

  • Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror
  • Written by Richard A Clarke, a counter-terrorism expert who has worked with Presidents Reagan, Clinton and the Bush’s, the author states that from the beginning of his 30 years of service for the federal government, terrorism was the greatest threat facing our country. The book offers a detailed account per the author on the events leading up to and after the attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. Not only does Clarke give insight as to what he feels went wrong, but also provides ideas for solutions.

  • U.S. Homeland Security: A Reference Handbook
  • Written by Howard Ball, a legal scholar, U.S. Homeland Security, details the introduction of the Homeland Security Department following the attack on the U.S on September 11, 2001. The book examines and explains the facts of the creation of the department and the present federal actions taking place, and places them in historical context with other major issues in our country’s history. The book also talks about the other legislations and laws brought into effect after the attacks.

  • Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About it
  • Written by Richard Clarke and Robert K. Knake, Cyber War is an interesting look into cyber attacks on the U.S. that have already been attempted and some that have been unsuccessful. Clarke, who has vast knowledge of national security, details American policy on cyber warfare and what is known on cyber capabilities of other countries. The book also clearly explains the potential damage the U.S. can suffer due to cyber attacks and a plan for defending the U.S. against them.

  • The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
  • Written by Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower takes an approach at understanding what beliefs and views make up Al-Qaeda. Compiling hundreds of interviews with people who have knowledge of Al-Qeada, the book examines the lives of the people that make up Al-Qeada and the effort on the U.S. government to shut them down.

  • Safeguarding Homeland Security
  • Written by Simon Hakim, Safeguarding Homeland Security tells of technological ideas brought by the nation’s leaders. They have outlined and summarized models for preparation, response, and recovery for terrorist attacks on the U.S. These leaders also address issues in communications between departments and offers recommendations of services that are usually provided by emergency services, and the role of the private sector in the department.

    10 Chilling Serial Killer Books

    Sep 12th, 2010

    Serial killers is definitely a topic that send chills down our spines- and for good reason, the atrocious acts they have committed makes you wonder how the majority of these people lived seemingly normal lives. The following books offer some answers and a look into some of the most notorious serial killers minds and lives:

  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
  • This book, written by Eric Larson tells about the events surrounding Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The story intertwines the true lives of two men, Daniel Burnham- the chief architect of the fair, known as the White City and H. H. Holmes- one of the first serial killers in America. H. H. Holmes opened up a hotel for the fair, which he built and became the location of many of the murders he committed.

  • Deranged: The Shocking True Story of America’s Most Fiendish Killer
  • Written by Harold Schechter, Deranged accounts the horror Albert Fish practiced in the early 1900′s as a pedophile, sadist and cannibal. Fish who was mistaken for a gentle, kind white-haired man started by taking a young girl out on an outing and she never returned. The book explores the sadodistic mind of Fisher, who killed and ate as many as 15 children and is believed to be responsible for the murder of many others.

  • The Stranger Beside Me
  • The Stranger Beside Me written by Ann Rule is about the life of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. Bundy, who was executed in Florida in 1989, eventually confessed to over 30 murders but is believed to have an estimated range of between 26 and over 100 victims. Rule, began writing her book in the 70′s after serial rapes and murders were left unsolved and while still researching and writing the books, the serial killer was caught- it was a friend of hers- someone she had known well and had worked with, Ted Bundy.

  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare
  • Written by Don Davis about the life of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, this book recalls the night a young man came running out of an apartment complex trembling in handcuffs. When the boy led police back to the apartment they found a lair full of body parts stuffed into barrels, filing cabinets and freezers belonging to at least fifteen young men. The Jeffrey Dahmer Story delves into Dahmer’s demented mind and world of mutilation and cannibalism.

  • Night Stalker
  • Night Stalker, written by Philip Carlo, tells the story of Richard Ramirez, a serial killer who terrorized the Los Angeles area for over a year. Ramirez was found guilty of 13 murders, 5 attempted murders and 11 sexual assaults and believed to be responsible for many others. Carlo writes on all the time he spent traveling to Ramirez’s hometown interviewing Ramirez, his family and friends, and the detectives who solved the case. Carlo also shares a view into Ramirez’s psyche and how he viewed and justified his attacks in the service of Satan.

  • The Devil’s Right Hand Man: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert Charles Browne
  • This book, written by Stephen Michaud and Debbie Price, tells the story of serial killer Robert Charles Browne. Browne was arrested in 1995 for the 1991 murder of a 13 year old girl. Convinced Browne had been involved with other murders, the cold-case investigators began a 5 year hunt for the answers with Browne while he was incarcerated at the Colorado State Penitentiary. Through letters, Browne eventually led led them through 20 years of unsolved rapes and murders.

  • Buried Dreams
  • Written by Tim Cahill, Buried Dreams recalls the disturbing story of John Wayne Gacy, a Chicago businessman who dressed up as a clown at charity events and birthday parties. In 1980, Gacy was sentenced to death for the murders of at least 33 young boys; most were found in the crawl space underneath his home. Cahill includes graphic accounts of the rapes and murders, as he led a four year investigation with Gacy to compile the facts about Gacy’s childhood, his abusive father and his seemingly normal life, rather a torturer and serial killer.

  • Zodiac

    Written by Robert Graysmith, Zodiac tells of the hooded gunman who terrorized the streets of San Francisco in the late 1960′s and then taunted police with letters about the murders. The book includes details about the murders, the investigation and includes photos of some of the letters the killer wrote to police. The Zodiac killer is responsible for the murders of more than 6 people and believed to be the man behind many more. To this day, the cases have never been solved and the self-proclaimed Zodiac killer has never been caught.

  • The Last Victim
  • In The Last Victim author Jason Moss, tricks and seduces notorious serial killers into entrusting him and getting inside their minds. After writing to them in jail, posing as several different people, Moss gained their trust and coerced them to tell why they did what they did. Moss’ book includes getting into the criminal minds with detailed ranting and reasons straight from the words of John Wayne Gacy, which whom he has his closest relationship with, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and Richard Ramirez.

  • Serial Killers: The Methods and Madness of Monsters
  • Written by Peter Vronsky, this book analyzes and documents the psychological and investigative aspects of murders by serial killers. Serial Killers: The Methods and Madness of Monsters also showcases timelines and compares first-ever serial killer instances with later century cases and notorious contemporary cases such as Ed Kemper and Ted Bundy. While not all serial killers can be detected, his book also uniquely provides suggestions on what one should to recognize and escape the encounters of a serial killer.

    10 Laws Passed After Horrible Crimes

    Sep 8th, 2010

    The occurrences of crimes often open our eyes to the things we have not yet experienced or make changes to our current laws and systems. While all violent crimes are an awful part of our society, some have garnered so much attention and controversy that new laws and bills have passed with the belief that had these laws been enacted these crimes probably would have not happened. The following awful crimes have prompted the creation of new laws:

  • Amber Alert
  • The Amber Alert, a legislation signed in April of 2003, is a child abduction alert that exists in several countries that is issued when a child abduction is suspected to have taken place. The alerts are distributed throughout radio stations, satellite radio, TV stations and electronic traffic billboards and gives as much information as possible relating to the abduction. The system was created after 9 year old Amber Hagerman was abducted as she rode her bicycle and murdered in Texas in 1996.

  • Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act
  • This act is a statue signed into law by George Bush in July of 2006 and mandates a national database of convicted child molesters. This law breaks sex offenders into different tiers and requires the most serious offenders to update their whereabouts every three months with less serious offenders every 6 months and longer. The law was passed after 6 year old Adam Walsh was abducted from a mall in Florida in 1981 and later found murdered.

  • Megan’s Law
  • This law, federally known as Sexual Offender Act of 1994, requires law enforcement agencies to make information regarding registered sex offenders public record, which commonly includes their name, address, their crime and a picture of them. The law also requires them to notify local law enforcement of any changes in address or employment. The law came after the rape and murder of 7 year old Megan Kanka, by Jesse Timmemdequas. He had moved into Megan’s neighborhood after he was given a suspended sentence in the attempted aggravated sexual assault of a 5 year old.

  • Kristen’s Law
  • This law, singed into Congress in October 2000, pushed for the creation of a National Center for Missing Adults. The law came in response to the disappearance of 18 year old Kristen Modafferi, who was last seen leaving her shift at the coffee shop where she worked. When her parents called police to report her missing, it was 23 days passed her 18th birthday, which made her an adult and there were no funds to assist in the search and she was not featured in notices in child-search organizations.

  • Matthew Shepard Act
  • The Matthew Shepard act is an American Act of Congress signed into law by President Barack Obama in October 2009. The act, which expands a previous hate-crime law, includes crimes driven by a victim’s perceived gender or sexual orientation. The law came after the 1998 death of Matthew Shepard, a 21 year old student who was severely beaten, murdered and left chained to a fence because he was gay.

  • Hate Crimes Prevention Act
  • The Hate Crimes Prevention Act is also known as the Matthew Shepard Act. It was also fueled by the dragging death of a 49 year old black man in Texas. James Byrd, Jr. was beaten, tied to the back of a truck by his ankles and dragged to his death by 2 well known white supremacists and another man. Since the defendants had tattoos of and openly spoke of white supremacy the murder was considered a hate crime, and in turn sparked another part of the act.

  • Matt’s Law
  • Matt’s Law is a California law that allows for felony charges when severe injuries or death is a result of a hazing ritual. Prior to the enactment of the law, hazing in California (even resulting in death) was a misdemeanor. The law states unstructured or unaffiliated fraternities be held liable regardless of them not being student affiliations. The law was enacted after 21 year old Matt Carrington died during a brutal hazing ritual in the basement of a fraternity house in California.

  • Marsy’s Law
  • This 2008 California law extends and protects the legal rights of crime victims and has had immense impact on the length of parole denials. The primary leader and sponsor of the law, Henry Nicholas is an advocate for victims’ rights. Nicholas’ sister, Marsy was a senior at UC Santa Barbara in 1983 when she was stalked and brutally murdered by her ex-boyferiend.

  • Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
  • The 1994 Brady Bill requires federal background checks on firearm purchases in the US. The bill was named after James Brady, a former assistant of President Ronald Reagan, who was shot during an attempted assassination of the president. The shooter, John Hinckley, purchased the gun in a Texas pawn shop and had been arrested 4 days earlier attempting to board a plane with three handguns and ammunition. Hinckley has also been under psychiatric care before purchasing the gun.

  • USA Patriot Act
  • This act was signed into law in October 2001 and greatly reduced restrictions placed on law enforcement agencies’ abilities to intercept emails, records, telephone conversations and anything else they needed to monitor in response to suspected terrorism. The act came after the September 11th attacks in 2001 in which about 3,000 people were killed and over 6,000 injured. Four US planes were hijacked by al-Queda terrorists and intentionally crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, The Pentagon, and a rural area outside of Pennsylvania.

    10 Shows for the Criminal Mind

    Sep 5th, 2010

    There are many television shows airing that follow the lives of detectives and investigators that are assigned various crime cases. While some of the shows are summaries of real-life events and others are fiction they are all definitely intriguing. The following are 10 shows that will keep the criminal minds entertained:

    Snapped-Snapped is an American television crime series that airs on Oxygen that recalls the real life events of women who have committed or attempted to commit murder. Each episode details the events that occurred and includes clips of the trials, interviews with people that were involved in the case (family, law enforcement, attorneys, etc) and sometimes the accused themselves. The episodes end with the verdict and sentence of the case and an updated summary of where each defendant stands.

    Cold Case Files- Cold Case Files is a documentary style series that airs on A & E that follows the investigations of cases that were never solved and then reopened many years later. Referred to as “cold cases” by detectives, these cases have been opened again because of emerging technological advances in forensics, recent breakthroughs in the case, or witnesses who come forward years later. The episodes of this show have been known to be used by law enforcement agencies across the country for training purposes.

    Forensic Files- Forensic Files is a documentary type show that airs on Trutv and shows how forensic science is used to solve crimes. The show follows one case per episode, from the initial investigation to the legal resolution, with re-enactments and in some cases, name changes, for privacy. The show also features medical examiners, coroners and forensic detectives and specialists involved with the case and clips of their interviews are shown. Some of the best and most well-known forensic analysts in the country have also appeared on the show.

    America’s Most Wanted- America’s Most Wanted is an American television show that airs on Fox and is meant to assist law enforcement in capturing fugitives that remain on the run. Many of the fugitives, who are wanted for murder, rape, kidnapping, child molestation, armed robber, and terrorism, and white collar crimes, are also on the FBI’s Most Wanted lists. The show has been fairly successful; over 1,100 people have been captured from being shown on the air.

    48 Hours Mystery- 48 Hours Mystery is a program that airs on CBS that presents true crime documentaries and mysteries. The show does not use a host and rather is narrated by the reporter who was assigned the story and is also known to report on special cases such as past or current shocking events that were made media headlines. This program has been known to be quite popular and has received over 20 Emmy awards.

    Law & Order- Law & Order is a police and law related drama series that is often based on real events that have made headline news or recently occurred. The show is usually separated into two parts: the investigation of the crime and the capture of the suspect, followed by the prosecution of the District Attorney’s office in the second part and is usually shown from the prosecution’s point of view. At the time of its cancellation, Law & Order was known as the longest running crime drama on American prime time television.

    The Closer- The Closer is an American crime drama series that originally aired on TNT that follows a police detective that leads the Crime and Homicide Unit (depending on the season), teams that are assigned to deal with high profile murder cases. Each episode portrays the aspects of Los Angeles culture as it interacts with law enforcement and highlights issues of public policy, honor, faith, and government responsibility.

    CSI-CSI is an American drama television series that follows criminalists that use evidence to solve brutal murders. Many episodes on the show feature lengthy scenes that focus on technical work, experiments and tests that usually involve high-tech technology and gadgets that don’t exist. The series is also known for using unusual, close-up camera angles and graphic and sometimes gory portrayals of murders.

    NCIS- NCIS is a drama television series that premiered on CBS that revolves around a fictional team of agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. This team conducts investigations involving the Marine Corps and the US Navy and is often assigned to high profile cases including terroristic threats, deaths, kidnappings and bomb situations.

    Bones- Bones is a crime drama series that premiered on Fox and is based on forensic anthropology and focuses on cases concerning the human remains found by FBI detectives and given to a forensic anthropologist for analyzing. The show is based loosely on the life of Kathy Reichs, who is a forensic anthropologist and also produces the show.

    5 Tips for Studying Abroad

    Aug 29th, 2010

    So, you’re getting ready to study abroad and it’s all you’ve been able to think about for weeks. Studying abroad should be one of the greatest experiences of your life, but there are also things to keep in mind in order to make the experience a safe one as well. The following tips can help make your trip enjoyable and enlightening, by also minimizing the risk of getting into trouble or falling victim to something that could have been avoided:

    Pack lightly and wisely- It is important to pack as lightly as possible for your trip. When packing light, you don’t have as much luggage to carry around which can leave you with a free hand if you need. Packing light can also reduce the amount of time you spend putting your bags down or leaving them unattended. You want to avoid bringing things that are valuable such as expensive jewelry and clothes that can draw the wrong attention. It is also best to leave everyday things at home that you will not need such as credit cards you won’t be using, Social Security cards, or any other important documents or material possessions that you wouldn’t want to lose.

    Get to know your area- It is very important to familiarize yourself with where you will be staying and studying during your trip. You should get to know the bus and subway routes and the last times they operate for the night. Purchasing a map is a good way to get to know your surrounding area and can get you out a bind, if you get lost or need to figure out how to get somewhere. Knowing where the closest hospital and police station is and how to get there is important as well. You should also know where the American consulates and embassies are and how to contact them.

    Blend in- Blending in and not drawing attention to you and your group could be one of the easiest ways to avoid conflict while on your trip. It is important to avoid big “tourist” groups, because they can be targeted for pickpockets and other crimes that go unnoticed in large, busy crowds. Flashy clothing and jewelry and noisy, obnoxious groups often invite unwanted attention and could bring trouble. It is best to stay in small groups and observe the dressing patterns, manners and culture of the country you are visiting and to practice them.

    Drink in moderation- While being in a new country is a good time to celebrate, it is important to be alert and still be able to be aware of your surroundings. You should drink around those you know or trust and never leave your drink unattended. Drinking too much can lower inhibitions and weaken your judgment which can make you vulnerable to thieves and tough situations. If you seem to be in a potentially dangerous or uncomfortable situation it is best to leave. It is also best to not walk home alone and to try to take public transportation, such as the bus or subway, for as much of your trip as possible.

    Avoid street crime- You should avoid carrying large sums of cash around; traveler’s checks are the safest way to go. If you must carry cash, keep it out of sight and do not flash it around- it is best to keep it in front or zipped pockets on you. If your money is stored in a purse or satchel, make sure it is zipped and closed. Passports, credit cards, and other important documents (always have copies, too) should be stored in a safe place and you should not be carrying them unless they are needed. The use of pouches or bags hanging around the neck or waist should be avoided unless necessary. Also, try to avoid civil disturbances, minimize traveling alone and stay in well lit areas, if possible.

    5 Biggest US Drug Busts

    Aug 23rd, 2010

    The war on drugs has become bigger, costlier, and more dangerous with every passing day. Drug smugglers have created well thought plans of smuggling drugs across the US, but with the increased presence of agents, sting operations, and help between local, state, and federal officers- big drug busts with millions of dollars of seized drugs are becoming more common. Here are a few of the biggest drug busts in recent years:

    Gatun ship bust- The cocaine bust on the Panamanian ship, Gatun, is considered the largest maritime cocaine bust in US history. The US Coast Guard made contact with the ship after being spotted by a patrol ship in March of 2007. In plain sight, on the top main deck of the freighter, the Coast Guard uncovered more than 42,000 pounds of cocaine with an estimated worth of 600 million dollars. 14 crew members, all from Mexico and Panama were arrested.

    Project Deliverance bust- A two year nationwide drug bust with roots in Nevada, ended with the arrests of 429 people in 27 different cities across the US. The sting operation named “Project Deliverance” was composed of DEA, FBI, ICE, several local agencies and Mexican officials, and led to the confiscation of more than 1200 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 2 tons of cocaine, 1400 pounds of heroin, more than 69 tons of marijuana. The bust also led to the seizure of more than 154 million dollars.

    Gilroy, California bust- In August of 2010, several local and federal agencies raided a home in Gilroy and confiscated crystal methamphetamines and cocaine that had a street value of up to 100 million dollars. The home appeared to have ties to Mexican drug cartels and the three men taken into custody were Mexican nationals. The men are facing multiple felony charges including possession for sale of methamphetamine and the manufacture of methamphetamine.

    Southern California bust- After authorities pulled over a tractor trailer in June of 2010 in Southern California for a traffic violation, a strong smell overwhelmed them and after finding inconsistencies within the paperwork for the load, a search of the trailer was prompted. Inside the trailer authorities discovered about 20 tons of drugs including an estimated 38,000 pounds of marijuana, 67 pounds of methamphetamines and 2,700 pounds of cocaine, totaling an estimated 45 million dollars. The truck’s driver was arrested and charged with possession, transportation, and sale of narcotics.

    Pesotum, Illinois- The February 2010 drug bust, in which police seized more than 2 tons of marijuana is among one of the biggest drug busts in Illinois history. State police pulled over a tractor-trailer during a routine traffic stop and after becoming suspicious and granted consent to search the vehicle, found 270 shrink-wrapped bales of marijuana, an estimated total of between 14 and 19 million dollars. The driver and two passengers, who were headed to Chicago, were arrested and charged with possession, manufacture and delivery of cannabis, cannabis trafficking and cannabis conspiracy. If convicted, the men face between 12 and 60 years in prison.

    5 Violations You Didn’t Know Existed

    Aug 8th, 2010

    Sure, almost everyone has gotten a speeding ticket or been stopped for minor traffic violations, but in some cases people get stopped or ticketed for doing something they didn’t even know was a violation of the law. The following are a better look at some violations that could get you into some trouble when you didn’t even know you were doing something wrong:

    Parking more than 18 inches from a curb- It is illegal to park more than certain allotted inches from a curb. When parking along a curb the front and back wheels must be parallel and within the inches that the state or jurisdiction has set forth. Parking more than the allotted space away from the curb can make it difficult for fire trucks or emergency vehicles to make their way through the streets when need be. While it varies from 12 to 18 inches by state, curb parking violators are normally slapped with small fines.

    Driving barefoot- Driving without shoes on isn’t really recommended or considered safe and is illegal in some states. A driver can certainly be ticketed for the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, which depending on the discretion of the cop, can be driving barefoot. It can also be added to any ticket aside from what the driver was pulled over for the in first place. The fine is usually fairly small and shouldn’t exceed a few hundred dollars.

    Texting while Driving- It is illegal in 30 states to text while driving. While some of these states don’t have laws against talking on the phone, drivers can be cited for texting, email, surfing the web, or playing games unless stopped at a stoplight. These laws vary heavily from state to state so it is best to check with your local agency, because drivers could face up to a $500 fine if they are caught and cited.

    Failure to secure your load- It is against the law in many states to operate a vehicle with a load unless the load is covered or fastened securely as to not become loose, fall out, or cause a hazard to the street. It doesn’t matter whether the load is trash, heavy furniture, or anything else being transported it needs to be covered with a tarp or securely fastened with chains, straps, or ropes. Failure to secure a load while driving is subject to a fine and in some cases, if it causes property damage or harm to another, can be also punishable by jail time.

    Failure to yield to emergency vehicles- It is against the law to fail to stop or pull over on the side of the road when emergency vehicles are trying to get through the street. It is the responsibility of drivers to yield the right-of-way to ambulance, fire trucks, police and other emergency vehicle when their lights are flashing and/or using horns or sirens. The driver should always remain stopped on the side of the road until the emergency vehicle has completely passed and only move back into the lane after checking that there isn’t another emergency vehicle trying to make its way through as well.

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