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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group

When the Police Use Deadly Force

Kevin Nietert, Chief of Police, South Euclid Ohio
Friday February 27, 2015
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

What explains the behavior of police officers in their many confrontations with members of the public whom they, or other members of the public who have called in a report, fear may be dangerous?

Among the issues are how police are trained; how they are hired; tendencies to rally around each other and reject criticism; and what it is like to work in situations that involve danger and uncertainty. Research has shown how officers worry about how to "handle a situation" and "take charge." "Rookie cops," James Wilson summarized, are told on their first day on patrol, "Forget what you learned in the policy academy… I'll show you what police work is really all about." Yet in spite of this pattern of "street-corner socialization," management does matter: there are well-known cases in which new administrators took over, and the rates at which the police used deadly force dramatically declined.

What, then, should we know about the behavior of the police, and how problems like those that seem to have occurred in Ferguson, Staten Island and Cleveland can be corrected? There are no easy answers but it would be useful to have a careful discussion. Kevin Nietert, Chief of Police for the city of South Euclid, will join us and provide his perspective. He has served as Chief since 2007 and in the department since 1986.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest

Chief Kevin Nietert was appointed to the South Euclid Police Department in 1986. In 1997, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, then to Lieutenant in 2001, and Assistant Chief in 2004.

He has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Cuyahoga Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in public administration from David Meyers University. He is also a graduate of the 221st session of the FBI’s National Academy, and the Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command.

Chief Nietert comes from a family of law enforcement. His father Carson is a retired Lieutenant from the Bedford Police Department; his twin brother Kris is a Lieutenant with the Bedford Police Department; and his brother Kyle is a patrolman with University Heights Police Department.

He grew up in Bedford and is a graduate of Bedford High School. Prior to his appointment to the South Euclid Police Department, Nietert worked for the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority Police Department.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We usually meet in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

March 6: What Explains the Price of Gasoline? With Steven W. Percy, former Chairman and CEO, BP of America.

March 13: Spring Break

March 20: TBD

March 27: Talking Turkey: Some Personal (and Historical) Perspectives on Turkish Politics and Society. With John Grabowski, Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor in Applied History; Senior Vice President for Research and Publications, Western Reserve Historical Society.

April 3: Origins and Prospects of the Islamic State. With Karl C. Kaltenthaler, Professor of Political Science, University of Akron.

April 10:
Obama's White House and Management Style: A Recipe for Success or Failure? With David B. Cohen, Professor of Political Science, University of Akron.

April 17: TBD

April 24: TBD
February 23, 2015

If you would like to reply, submit items for inclusion, or not receive this weekly e-mail please send a notice to:

Upcoming Events

Wealth, Health, and Democracy in East Asia and Latin America

A discussion with James W. McGuire, Ph.D., Professor of Government at Wesleyan University, Tuesday February 24, 2015, 12:15-1:45 p.m., Tinkham Veale University Center, Ballroom A, Case Western Reserve University, 11308 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies.

Why do some societies fare well, and others poorly, at reducing the risk of early death? In his award-winning book, Wealth, Health, and Democracy in East Asia and Latin America, Professor McGuire shows that the public provision of basic health care and other inexpensive social services has reduced mortality rapidly even in tough economic circumstances, and that political democracy has contributed to the provision and utilization of such social services, in a wider range of ways than is sometimes recognized. His conclusions are based on case studies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, as well as on cross-national comparisons involving these cases and others.

This program was made possible by the generosity of Ms. Eloise Briskin.

High-Risk Activism and Popular Struggle Against the Israeli Occupation in the West Bank

A discussion with Professor Joel Beinin, Ph.D., Stanford University, Monday, March 2, 2015, 4:30 p.m., Tinkham Veale University Center, Ballroom A, Case Western Reserve University, 11308 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the Department of History, NOCMES, and Kent State University.

Scholars have long distinguished between normal political protest and what can be termed “high-risk activism,” exemplified for example in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964. The International Solidarity Movement consciously invoked that example by designating its 2002 campaign of Palestine solidarity action “Freedom Summer.” Protesting the occupation in any form has always been a high-risk activity for Palestinians, who have regularly experienced tear gas, beatings, torture, incarceration, and live fire from Israeli security forces, as well as indefinite administrative detention and other judicial procedures based on secret evidence. Professor Beinin will discuss the participation beginning in 2002 of Israelis and internationals in situations of similar risks, especially in protest of the separation barrier between Israel and the territories. What perceptions of the conflict, of others and oneself encouraged and enabled that participation?

February 2015




































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