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Crime Education Idle

FBI and NYPD Officers Sent On Museum Field Trip 70

Posted by samzenpus
from the warrantless-permission-slips dept.
In an attempt to "refresh their sense of inquiry" FBI agents, and NYPD officers are being sent to a course at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Art of Perception hopes to improve an officers' ability to accurately describe what they see during an investigation by studying art. From the article: "Amy Herman, the course leader, said: 'We're getting them off the streets and out of the precincts, and it refreshes their sense of inquiry. They're thinking, "Oh, how am I doing my job," and it forces them to think about how they communicate, and how they see the world around them.' Ms Herman, an art historian, originally developed the course for medical students, but successfully pitched it as a training course to the New York Police Academy."

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FBI and NYPD Officers Sent On Museum Field Trip

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @01:08PM (#34027554)

    The New York Police Department calls the trip a "resounding success." Though several paintings and sculptures were shot multiple times during the trip, an internal NYPD investigation has confirmed that the pieces of art were apparently reaching for weapons when they were fired upon. "Yeah, sounds like a clean kill to me," said Officer Leo Sekonsky, in reference to an incident that left Vincent van Gogh's "Self-Portrait with Straw Hat" in tatters. "That Van Gogh was definitely reaching for a knife or some shit. Ain't no one gonna say different."

  • ze inspecter (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by rossdee (243626)

    Did they catch any art thieves?

    • They tried to, but the art thief was holding a banana and they hadn't yet taken the Monty Python course yet.

  • I may implement this with my students and colleagues.

  • Meditation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @01:16PM (#34027642) Journal

    It sounds like an attempt at filling the gap left by the lack of meditation our society experiences. Nobody plays Go (or Chess; but Go is a superior game), nobody quietly contemplates, nobody does listening meditations or anything. The most basic are breath awareness exercises-- sit quietly, close your eyes, observe the sound of the air passing through your nose and into your lungs, how your chest and belly expand, how your body shifts... then focus as well on your heart beat, and then add the focus of your attention on your muscles adjusting to hold your posture against gravity, shifting your balance constantly. All of these things at once, just for a minute or two, or an hour if you wish; time is a personal decision.

    We do none of this stuff, and then we sit around wondering why people are bad at observing things. People want answers to shit; we still want to understand what's happening around us. But we've trained ourselves to be intolerant of the task of observation. We want to look, see, and understand; but our minds are looking for an ANSWER, not simply looking. So we don't understand what we're seeing, and we can't form a viable answer of what's going on around us.

    It's like when you put a can of soup to the right of a jar of mayonaise in the cabinet. Then you open the cabinet and somebody moved the mayo a foot to the left next to a bottle of oil, and you spend 10 minutes trying to find it. You NEED it to be there, because you don't know HOW to observe and understand.

    Here we have an attempt to make people stop, relax, stare and contemplate the art, the sculptures. Talk about what they see. A hollow attempt to regain these abilities that we no longer have.

    The sad part is this is all completely whacked out and ridiculous ... and that I'm right.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MaWeiTao (908546)

      I generally agree with all the points you made. But something stuck out to me:

      Nobody plays Go (or Chess; but Go is a superior game)

      I have to ask: why is Go superior to Chess? Easier to pick up? More possible permutations? It was created in China as opposed to Chess which is a Western game?

      I don't see how any of these reasons make Go inherently superior to Chess. Hell, even Checkers is a pretty damn good game and there are a million other good ones out there.

      If you prefer Go, that's great, but that doesn't n

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vlm (69642)

        I have to ask: why is Go superior to Chess?

        You get more meditative observation of symmetry and pattern matching out of the simple rules of Go, than the relatively much more complicated rules of Chess.

        Go is more about the patterns of pieces whereas Chess is more about the interactions between the different rulesets for pieces.

        The board for checkers is way too small to develop exciting patterns to watch.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by bluefoxlucid (723572)

        Nobody plays Go (or Chess; but Go is a superior game)

        I have to ask: why is Go superior to Chess? Easier to pick up? More possible permutations? It was created in China as opposed to Chess which is a Western game?

        I don't see how any of these reasons make Go inherently superior to Chess. Hell, even Checkers is a pretty damn good game and there are a million other good ones out there.

        Let's say that "superiority" is a fuzzy term first. No matter my arguments, someone will come with a completely different list of valuable aspects of a game and claim that X is superior to Y because these aspects are more important.

        Checkers is a simpler game than Chess, but in the same vein. I would call Chess superior, because Checkers allows for isometric thinking (i.e. breadth, but very little depth... look at the field and play). Checkers is also quite shallow: pieces move around and do not reall

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Go no more 'stems from the concepts of life and death than chess or checkers.' Claiming that it is superior, even in a 'fuzzy' way is applying meaning where their is none. Unless you are going to claim that Go is about becoming good at genocide, while chess is about subduing your enemies without genocide.

          Go also has a definition to it's goal. "Remove all of your opponents pieces". Go is won by defeat of your opponent. Period.

          There are reasons that Go is superior to Chess though. The rules are si
          • by vegiVamp (518171)
            > Go is about becoming good at genocide
            > Go also has a definition to it's goal. "Remove all of your opponents pieces"

            Incorrect. You could win a game of Go without capturing a single stone.
          • Go no more 'stems from the concepts of life and death than chess or checkers.'

            In Go, your most advantageous skill is recognizing shapes that suggest life or death. Can you make this group of stones uncapturable? Can you make a play that prevents the opponent from making a group of their stones uncapturable? If these stones are dead, you can safely ignore them; if they are alive, you don't have to worry about capture and you can leverage them. If they are unsettled, you should take action here.

            In Chess or Checkers, you have no way to guarantee that even a single piece cannot be

      • The game is thought to originated somewhere in the border country of India and Afghanistan around 600 A.D. It came to Europe via Arabic traders a few hundred years later.

    • It sounds like an attempt at filling the gap left by the lack of meditation our society experiences. Nobody plays Go (or Chess; but Go is a superior game), nobody quietly contemplates, nobody does listening meditations or anything.

      This is only true for rather loose definitions of nobody. Practitioners of Eastern meditative traditions, New Age traditions influenced by Eastern meditative traditions, Christian meditative traditions -- native or adopted from other sources, etc., are not exactly hard to find in

      • It may be a little harder to find meditative practices practiced outside the context of a religious tradition, but there's quite a bit of that around, too. (Even if most of the practices themselves are adapted from one or more of the religious traditions.)

        Religion and spirituality are separate concepts. Many people avoid meditation because they don't want to accept the idea of a "spirituality" and thus determine that since they can't explain why this is any different than sleeping it must be a complete waste of time for whacked-out new age hippies.

        Just as meditation can be practiced outside religion, many forms of meditation can be practiced without discomforting yourself with the ideal that this is somehow "mystical." Kundalini meditation cannot. Yoga

    • nobody does listening meditations or anything

      While I wish more people in our society did so, lots of us still do. For anyone interested here's a great site with some free podcasts on the topic: This [audiodharma.org] is a great series by this guy [audiodharma.org], and while not affiliated with audiodharma, here [amazon.com] is a great book on cultivating "Mindfulness".

      By the way, before anyone mods me into oblivion, neither of these 2 resources teaches mediation that's necessarily from 1 particular religious background (or any religious background). So, this isn't preaching, proselytizi

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Yes, people "want answers to shit" and that's why they invent bullshit like meditation and numerology and astrology and chi and acupuncture. Because they don't care if they're logical or sensible answers. Just as long as they can put their primitive monkey-brains at rest.

      The time and money would have had a greater return on the investment if they had sent everyone to a remedial course on the constitution and civil liberties, since law enforcement officers tend to know the least about the actual laws they're

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @01:16PM (#34027644)
    This made me think of the scene in the movie L.A. Story, where Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin) is describing an off-screen painting, which then turns out to be composed of all red paint:
    • I like the relationships. Each character has his own story.
    • The puppy is a bit too much, but you have to overlook that.
    • The way he's holding her, it's almost... filthy.
    • He's about to kiss her and she's pulling away...
    • The way his leg is smashed up against her...
    • Look how he's painted the blouse, sort of translucent,
    • You can make out her breast, and it's sort of touching him...
    • It's really pretty torrid, don't you think?
    • And of course you have the onlookers peeking out like they're all shocked.
    • They wish.
    • I must admit, when I see a painting like this, I get emotionally...Erect.
    • by Dabido (802599)
      Without remembering the movie, I'd guess he was looking at a Mark Rothko painting. He made great big square patches of paint famous.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @01:16PM (#34027652)
    ...that will refresh the sense of inquiry much, much better.
    • by Shark (78448) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @01:54PM (#34028140)

      I'd go even cheaper: Make them read the constitution they swore an oath to defend.

      • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @05:46PM (#34031842)

        Reading the constitution isn't nearly enough to understand even the hundredth part of it, much less to understand why it matters that we defend it.

        One simple example: we tell kids it takes a simple majority of Congress to pass a bill into law, then a 2/3rds majority to overrule the president's veto, and we give them the constitution to read. But technically, Congress can pass laws any way it wants for the initial passage--it can deem them passed, or require sixty votes to end a philibuster, or require a unanimous vote. Just reading the constitution without thought isn't enough, and even with thought isn't enough, unless you're actually studying it.

        Another example: Miranda rights are NOT in the constitution. The Supreme Court made them up a few years ago as a way to protect constitutional rights and has been slowly taking them away since.

        Another example: There is a debate over changing the language of the Fourteenth Amendment to not grant citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. The sentence they're thinking about changing is the one we insisted on writing in because of the civil war--it's what we fought the civil war over: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." To the casual reader, it just seems to make people born here citizens of the US--but in reality, it granted black northerners *federal* citizenship, as opposed to merely state citizenship, meaning the federal government now had a legal avenue to fight discriminatory state action.

        It would take a year of a *good* school for most of us to begin to understand the constitution.

        • by Shark (78448)

          Reading the constitution isn't nearly enough to understand even the hundredth part of it, much less to understand why it matters that we defend it.

          I mostly agree there and with the rest of your post too. But I still think someone who swears an oath to the constitution ought to *at least* read it.

          As it stands, current trend seems to instruct law enforcement that people who mention the constitution too often might be domestic terrorists. See the MIAC report among several other examples of that.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @01:25PM (#34027780) Journal

    end up with thought-police?

  • Faux pas (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @01:33PM (#34027866) Homepage

    The program will be canceled about 12 seconds after the first officer on the witness stand describes a rape victim as "Rubenesque".

    -

  • by BatGnat (1568391) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @01:42PM (#34027988)
    Why is it labeled your rights online?
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @01:58PM (#34028198)

    Looks like the NYPD is taking a page out of NASA's preparation for the moon landing. Where Apollo astronauts worked with geologists to better be able to describe what they saw while they were on (or flying above) the moon's surface. Instead of calling something a gray rock, they could give it a more scientific and accurate description.

    • So your analogy is...
            geology:moon_landing :: art:crime_scene
      or more specifically,
            rocks:moon_rocks :: art:dead_bodies

      I think that's a bit of a stretch

  • by trb (8509)
    I think this will lead to a rise in the arrest of moonwalking gorillas.
  • by JimTheta (115513) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:12PM (#34028366) Homepage
    Why is this filed under "Your Rights Online"?

    Because it involves cops...?
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by BeanThere (28381)

      Maybe it's about taxpayers' rights not to have their money wasted on crap like this?

      • Take any person you consider 'brilliant' and do a bit of digging on what makes them brilliant. You'll probably find they have a wide breadth of knowledge outside their focus area. The other thing you'll find is that by absorbing new ideas that you get new perspective on your old ideas by being able to make connections between seemingly disparate concepts or see patterns in your old ideas by seeing them through a new lense.

        So, while you see this as 'money wasted on crap', I think it's a good idea. Take peopl

        • by BeanThere (28381)

          Something tells me the most brilliant cops didn't get that way because someone dragged them to an art museum one day, but because of their own internal drive, motivation and breadth of interest.

          The rest don't need to be 'brilliant' intellectual masters of diverse knowledge, they just need to be good at catching bad guys and filing reports.

          Let's face it, this is little more than a glorified day off. If there's any value in it, it's that they're getting a paid break.

          But hey, if this precinct suddenly churns o

    • Absolutely (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because it involves cops...?

      As a member of a city police department for over 15 years, I can tell you that in many cities there exists a real problem with relations between law enforcement and the public, and that problem is that in any urban or suburban department of any real size, the officers are all ultimately gravitating towards a world in which there exists only cops and criminals. If you're not a cop then you're a criminal and a citizen is just a criminal who hasn't got caught yet. This nation is on

      • Interesting idea.. The same should apply to career politicians, or any other profession involving a great deal of power over others..

      • As much as I love this idea, it'll never happen for the same reason my other favorite plan won't.

        Every time we hear the police complain that "Civilians don't understand what it's like, it's a lonely dangerous job, you could never do it, you could never understand" I offer the following plan. Fine. Take every able-bodied, responsible, solid-citizen who's willing, and train and deputize them.

        I'm talking serious people with gravitas. Former military officers and chiefs, ER docs, SAR team leads, Red Cross disas

        • by Quothz (683368)

          Every time we hear the police complain that "Civilians don't understand what it's like, it's a lonely dangerous job, you could never do it, you could never understand"

          This is no dig on you, but it's worth pointing out at this point that cops are civilians. And likewise worth pointing out while I'm here that cops are citizens. Folks on both sides of the badge have a nasty tendency to forget that. I'm not sure why.

          • by jeko (179919)

            cops are civilians.

            Civilian: [merriam-webster.com]
            2a : one not on active duty in the armed services or not on a police or firefighting force

            But I get your point in that they aren't military. The problem is that the police have forgotten that in the "War on Drugs/Terror/Liberals."

            Head over to the forums on "Officer.com" to hear some truly hair-raising smack talked by people we trust with guns and badges. We've tolerated a police culture that thinks of everyone out of uniform as -- officers' own words, mind you -- "sheeple," "peasants" and "childre

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Baby Duck (176251)
      It would be more apt to file it under "Your Rights Deniers Offline"
  • The setup sells itself!

  • Yet another scene from the Simpsons, accurately predicting where this all will go:

    Agent Johnson: [on speaker] This is Agent Johnson from the FBI. Be on the lookout for a 1936 Maroon Stutz Bearcat!

    [A 1936 Maroon Stutz Bearcat whizzes past.]

    Chief Wiggum: [lazy] Ahh, that really was more of a burgundy.

    From The Trouble with Trillions

  • Excellent idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mad-cat (134809) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:26PM (#34029578) Homepage

    Observation is a learned skill, and anything that makes police better observers is great in my book.
    I train my fellow officers in some simple observation exercises. My favorite takes place during meal breaks.

    When sitting down at a restaurant, I instruct them to maintain eye contact with me, but describe every article of clothing the person at the table next to us is wearing. By forcing them to use their peripheral vision to gather details, they slowly learn to better use their unfocused vision and not get easily distracted. It's also a lot of fun.

    For the less-than-willing male officers, I tell them it means they can check out women without actually looking at them...

  • by toby (759) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @04:06PM (#34030278) Homepage Journal

    Would be teaching them to DRAW.

    Which is also about learning to see.

  • Let's give a round applause for two groups of people thinking creatively in order to get better at doing what they do: the law enforcement folks for considering new approaches and the art folks for doing more to make their profession relevant to society.
  • That's reminiscent of a Mexican mayor who required his officers to regularly read books (and write short reports) in order to be eligible for promotion. I've been curious for some time how well that worked out. The LA Times story is archived here [pqarchiver.com] (behind a paywall but there's an abstract).
  • The Art of Perception hopes to improve an officers' ability to accurately describe what they see during an investigation by studying art.

    Er, wasn't the whole point of studying to be a police officer so that they could, among other things, accurately describe what they see during an investigation? If they're no good at that, they shouldn't have been hired in the first place; and if they were hired, they should be fired after the fact.

  • They would probably feel as though the constitution was falsifying a police report.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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