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Special Police Urban Response
AbbreviationSPUR
Motto"Keeping The Streets Safe" (official)
"We harm those who would harm others" (unofficial)
Agency overview
Formed1987
Dissolved2002
Superseding agencyLocal Option Police Supplemental Support
Employees18,000 (peak)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionEtheinia
Parent agencyBureau of Law & Order

Special Police Urban Response(SPUR), later briefly known as Community Police Response(CPR), was a program run by the Etheinian Bureau of Law & Order which existed between 1987 and 2002. SPUR was designed to counter the rampant crime in Etheinian cities at the time, particularly drugs and street gangs, by applying military-style tactics & training to everyday law enforcement duties. SPUR units, which operated in 14 cities and employed 20,000 officers at their peak, worked independently of local police departments and had considerably more freedom in their movements, methods, and activities. They also received equipment and vehicles from the military.

In its early years, the SPUR program was considered a roaring success, managing to arrest unprecedented numbers of criminals, break up several high-profile gangs, and “sanitize” entire neighborhoods of crime & drugs. Later in life, however, SPUR units became notorious for their brutality and corruption, and for the criminal activities many of their officers were involved in, including theft, extortion, drug trafficking, witness intimidation, beatings and rapes of detainees, and reckless, indiscriminate shootings. This culminated in the 1999 Korista City Riots, which was later deemed a police riot by a government investigative panel. One historian would note that “by the end of the millennium, many members of SPUR seemed to be little more than gangsters with badges.”

SPUR was placed under heavy government scrutiny after the riots, and many officers left or were forced to resign. Under the direction of reformist President Alejo Ibáñez, several units were disbanded, with the remainder having their budgets slashed and being placed under the supervision of federal courts. However, relatively few officers were ever tried or convicted for crimes they committed under the auspices of their authority. SPUR was renamed to CPR in an attempt to distance the program from its checkered past, but in 2002 all remaining units were disbanded permanently; it would be replaced by the Local Option Police Supplemental Support(LOPSS) program in 2003. SPUR remains the only police program in Etheinian history to be dismantled due to criminal misconduct.

Background

The waning years of the original Gérard administration saw an unprecedented crime wave affecting Etheinia's largest cities. The national homicide rate per 100,000 citizens had increased by 8% between 1975 and 1985. The number of violent crimes more than tripled in the same time period, and there were corresponding increases in sexual, property, and public order crimes as well. Drug abuse, particularly of heroin and methamphetamine, had reached epidemic proportions in inner-city areas. There was an estimated 4,500 street gangs and 240,000 individual gang members across the nation, engaged in such activities as robbery, carjacking, extortion, illegal gambling, pimping, drug dealing, and contract killing. The average age of a new gang member was 16 years old. Subway trains & buses were considered unsafe to ride at night, and public housing projects - deteriorating for years due to shoddy construction and insufficient maintenance - became so infamous for crime that certain building complexes were nicknamed by residents: among them were "The Rockpile" in Port Sullivan, "Death Valley" in Dzefel, and "Junkie's Corner" in Kiraz.

There had been an increase in the number & severity of civil disturbances, as well. In July 1983, exiled civil rights activists Sofi Kevorkian and Fiona Aideen-Sheridan, who had been campaigning internationally for sanctions against the Etheinian regime, were killed on foreign soil when a booby-trap bomb in Kervorkian's car exploded. The bombing was widely believed to have been carried out by Etheinian intelligence agents. An outpouring of grief and anger back home over the deaths of the young activists sparked nationwide riots, which neither the national government nor local police forces were prepared to handle. The riots, which lasted six days before being suppressed, resulted in 61 deaths, 5000+ injuries, 40,000+ arrests, and property damages in excess of $800 million; in Alestin, arson fires came within a kilometer of the Presidential Palace. Smaller incidents of rioting would again occur in several cities between 1984 and 1986, none of which lasted long but still managed to further spook the Etheinian government.

1986 Green Paper on National Policing Reform

In response to the issues of crime & civil unrest, Leonard Adorján, chief of the Bureau of Law & Order, commissioned a study group in 1986 to both determine the causes of the crime wave and to study the efficacy of various solutions. The final report of the group, presented in September of that year, painted a bleak picture of the future. Crime rates, it said, were expected to increase exponentially from 1987 to 2007 due to economic stagnation, unemployment, and high drug availability. It also referenced the (now discredited) superpredator hypothesis to claim that the next generation of Etheinian youths would be more dangerous and commit crimes at a younger age than the previous generation. Commonly proposed solutions, such as expanding the size & budgets of local police forces, were deemed to be insufficient.

Presenting these findings to the National Unity Council on September 15th, Bureau Chief Adorján proposed two new programs to confront this expected tidal wave of lawlessness:

  1. Special Police Urban Response(SPUR), which would operate in major cities. SPUR units would operate in high-crime neighborhoods where local police were ineffective, and would primarily be charged with breaking up gangs, disrupting drug trafficking operations, and suppressing riots.
  2. Inter-City Mobile Response(ICMR), which would operate in suburban, exurban, and rural areas. ICMR units would be charged with preventing inner-city violence from "bleeding out" into the suburbs, and with intercepting the flow of cash, drugs, and guns between cities across the nation's highways.

Adorján's proposal was accepted by the NUC and incorporated into the 1986 Crime Control & Police Modernization Act. The Act was passed by both houses of the legislature on September 20th, then signed into law by the President on September 22nd. The first SPUR and ICMR units would

Structure

Organization

  • Anti-Gang Division
  • Anti-Drug Division
  • Anti-Riot Division
  • Youth Crimes Division (added 1989)
  • Public Housing Division (added 1992)
  • Mass Transit Division (added 1992)
  • Anti-Corruption Division (added 1995)


Uniforms & Equipment

Tactics

History

Early operations

1989 Kiraz police station beatings

1994-1995 Norvak Point shooting & corruption scandal

1999 Korista City riots

Crackdown & reforms

The end of SPUR

Aftermath

Ainsworth Report

Wider political impact

Cultural impact