John Jay’s Law Enforcement News Honored for Articles on 9/11

As any reader of New York City’s newspapers is well aware, the attacks on the World Trade Center created an unparalleled challenge to the journalistic community. Last spring’s Pulitzer Prizes made it clear local newsrooms, notably that of the New York Times, rose admirably to the challenge.

More specialized periodicals have also played a part in responding to the numerous plot-threads that will produce a comprehensive response to the terrorist attacks. One of these—Law Enforcement News, a publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice—was recently honored with a national award for its coverage of the tragedy and its aftermath.

Law Enforcement News, created in 1975 as part of the college’s mission to enhance police professionalism, was recently presented with the Quill & Badge Award for Excellence in Communications by the International Union of Police Associations, a member of the AFL-CIO. The IUPA, an organization of more than 100,000 law enforcement personnel, cited the newspaper for “superb coverage in the aftermath of September11, and what it means to the local law enforcement officer.”

Literature about September 11

First presented in 1995, the Quill & Badge Awards recognize journalists and others who produce information that provides an accurate picture of the men and women dedicated to careers in law enforcement. This year’s awards ceremony was held in conjunction with National Police Week in May.

Law Enforcement News previously won the Quill & Badge Award in 1997 for its reporting on law enforcement on Native American land—a series of articles that played a part in then-Attorney General Janet Reno’s formulation of new federal policy in this area.

John Jay President Gerald Lynch, acknowledging the new honor, said, “We are extremely proud of the ground-breaking, sometimes controversial, reporting and writing by the entire staff, and appreciate the important recognition of their work by police organizations around the country.”

The award-winning reportage began with a true “stop the presses” moment: the WTC towers collapsed as the newspaper was just hours away from going to press with another semi-monthly issue. A quick but necessary remake of the issue was undertaken, and the newspaper began a series of probing special-focus articles that would run through the remainder of the year and continue into 2002.

“Certainly, it was a defining moment for everyone, but it was a watershed for American policing,” Marie Simonetti Rosen, the newspaper’s publisher, said of that day. “Law enforcement at all levels is in the midst of reinventing itself to combat terrorism at home, and there are still a whole host of ideological and pragmatic issues that need to be worked out.”

The series of nine articles submitted to the IUPA competition explored such themes as personnel issues, community policing, racial profiling, post-traumatic stress, interagency cooperation, and citizen involvement in the war on terrorism.

The headlines of the stories—which were produced by Rosen, staff writer Jennifer Nislow, and editor Peter Dodenhoff—give a sense of the range of Law Enforcement News’s coverage:

  • “Secret weapon against terrorism? Chiefs say community policing is an ace in the hole”
  • “Are Americans ready to buy into racial profiling?”
  • “Can we talk? Officers take steps to head off 9/11 post-traumatic stress.”
  • “Really trying: When it comes to inter-agency cooperation, is the FBI really trying harder or just trying locals’ patience?”
  • “New duties for some police, new problems for their agencies: Reserve & Guard call-ups could hurt manpower-strapped PDs”
  • “Below the radar: Local police suffer strain of stretched resources”
  • “When there’s no cop in sight: Heroes aboard Flight 93 exemplify a new standard for citizen involvement in the fight against terrorism.”
  • “Portland just says ‘no’ to FBI.”
  • “2001, a year in profile: Life in law enforcement before and after 9/11”

The influence of Law Enforcement News can be measured by its readership, which includes police practitioners of all ranks in all 50 states and 15 foreign countries, along with academic criminal justice researchers, print and broadcast journalists, and members of the rapidly expanding private security sector.

Since its inception, LEN articles have been reprinted in numerous college textbooks and other publications, with the newspaper fielding about 40 such reprint requests each year. One long-time reader, the novelist Thomas Harris, even wove LEN into the plot of his best-selling horror-thriller The Silence of the Lambs, placing the paper in the hands of the imprisoned serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

Innovative and ground-breaking coverage is nothing new for LEN, which in the past has featured in-depth explorations of such topics as the growing threat of right-wing extremist groups, the criminal justice system’s response to aspects of the AIDS crisis, hate crimes, psychological screening of police officers, community-based and problem-oriented policing, and law enforcement’s evolving response to domestic violence.

The newspaper’s reporting on the potential health hazards posed by traffic radar guns, which helped
shape policies in numerous police agencies, was featured in a “60 Minutes” segment on the subject.

LEN is also a lively platform for police officials and many others to express their views on timely issues, whether through wide-ranging, candid interviews or op- ed-style commentaries. The newspaper takes no editorial stance of its own, but contributions from readers ensure that each issue contains an array of spirited expressions of opinion.

The newspaper has enjoyed a long-time symbiosis with John Jay College’s Lloyd Sealy Library, including such collaborative ventures as special supplements on the Literature of Criminal Justice, which have contained reviews of hundreds of current books in dozens of criminal justice-related subject areas. The library also sponsors the Law Enforcement News web site ( where browsers can find “snapshots” of each issue, along with some issues in their entirety. The site, which also includes subscription information, receives 20,000 visits each year.
Contents October 2002

From High School Dropout to Surgeon General – Thanks to BCC

Extending the Lifespan of Learning

The Bronx: A Thriving River Runs Through It

Chancellor's Message: Celebrating CUNY Poets

Two Bills for CUNY Signed by Governor

Colleges Set Out Welcome Mats For First “CUNY Week” Outreach

New Technology: Two Conferences

Celebrating the Pleasures of Literature

The Public and Private Lives of Eleanor Roosevelt

Capturing the Life of a Complex General

TV Boot Camp Gives Students Taste of “60 Minutes” Magic

Big Cats' Novels Change America

Imagining Hopper

New Stars in Faculty Firmament

John Jay Law Enforcement News Honored for Articles on 9/11

Preserving the History of the Puerto Rican Diaspora

Vigils, Bells, Art, Eloquence—and Silence: Campuses Observe September 11

Three WTC Workers from City Tech Receive Scholarships

Future Holds New Home, New Master’s for CUNY’s School of Architecture

N.J. State Human Resources Executive Comes to CUNY

Hostos Goes Electronic on the Grand Concourse

New Shuttle Service Eases Lehman Commute

Leap in Fall Enrollment

CUNY Board Adopts State Early Retirement Plan