Sarena Straus has a post about the lack of technological support she had as a sex crimes prosecutor.
In my first year at the DA’s office, I shared my desk with five other ADAs and my phone with 7 in a windowless room aptly called, “The Barn.” By my last year at the office, only supervisors and a select few felony prosecutors that could prove a need even had computers. The rest of us only had access to computers for writing up cases and those looked like something that Matthew Broderick used in War Games. The printers were still dot matrix. Seriously…
Availability of a Colposcope for examination of sexual abuse victims allows for an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix, the tissue of the vagina, and vulva. Photographs can be taken of these magnified images for use at trial to show injuries that are not visible to the naked eye. Toluidine Blue Dye helps to detect and enhance trauma with or without the use of a Colposcope. It works on wounds like that dye your dentist puts on your teeth works on plaque. It’s great stuff….
Then there’s this:
And for that matter, what about availability of safe and reliable equipment for law enforcement on a day to day basis. Undercover officers conducting buy and busts often don’t have wires that work inside buildings. The result is that they either have to lose a buy (because most don’t occur on the street) or risk losing contact with their team if they enter a building to complete a purchase.
Well, as an amateur economist and an opponent of the War on Drugs, I see an obvious solution. The system Straus describes is like a restaurant that has too many items on the menu, none of which are very good. In trying to do so much, they do nothing well. They need to focus their resources on a smaller number of more important things.
Since sex crimes are violent crimes against people, whereas drug crimes are victimless, they should sell off all the gear they use to fight drugs and spend the money on equipment for the sex crimes unit. Move the personnel as well, and take a real bite out of some really important crimes.
(You can read Straus’s article here, but be warned that there are close-up pictures of bruised tissues. Given that Straus is talking about sex crimes, I’m trying not to think about what body parts those might be.)