IACP Community Policing Committee Blog
- The IACP Community Policing Committee 2015 Workshop
- International Law Enforcement Partnerships
- Leadership and Partnership in Law Enforcement
- TOPPS - it is not what you think
- Exercise caution with positive press
- International Community Policing
- Rishon Leziyon Police Station, Israel
- Riverside Police Department, California
- Oslo Public Service Summit 2011
- Kill Community Policing?
The IACP Community Policing Committee 2015 Workshop (11-06-2015)
In the last few years the IACP Community Policing Committee was able to put on timely workshops that were well attended and addressed key issues relevant to law enforcement and communities alike. Typically the committee’s workshops have been ranked among the top ten of all the workshops at the IACP’s annual conferences. We also take advantage of the workshop to recognize the winners and finalists of the IACP-Cisco Community Policing Awards.
This year, at the 122nd annual conference in Chicago, our committee presented a workshop titled: “Understanding domestic/international terrorism and assessing new threats against local law enforcement: Are you prepared? What community policing can do for you.” The key concept was to provide an understanding of the threat with the added benefit of providing law enforcement leaders with programmatic skills of how to harness community policing principles to better cope with the growing threat of international and domestic terrorism.
Our topic and speakers were firmed up through extensive discussion by and input from our committee members. The workshop speakers included: Dr. Robert R. Friedmann [Director, Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies] focusing on understanding the linkage between incitement and terrorism, Morgan Wright (Analyst, Fox News Channel Senior Fellow, Center for Digital Govt. Principal,
Morgan Wright, LLC) who focused on cyber terrorism and particularly threats to law enforcement personnel in the form of doxxing and how to better protect against it; Kerry Sleeper (Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of Partner Engagement, FBI) who provided a realistic threat assessment and pointed out the growing danger from a host of hostile sources; Todd Miller (Director of Public Safety, City of Mankato, City of Mankato, who also covered material for Steve Dye, Chief of Police, Grand Prairie Police Department, Grand Prairie Police Department who was unable to attend. Please keep him and his wife Mimi in your thoughts and prayers) who focused on the successful implementation of community policing strategies to assist the Somali community in Mankato to better cooperate with the police to attenuate the influx of Somali youths who train and join terrorist organizations; and Melanie Pearlman [Executive Director, Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (CELL)] who talked about prevention of terrorism through education, empowerment and community engagement.
Informal feedback was excellent and we are awaiting the formal evaluation of the session. We hope that the law enforcement leaders who attended the workshop got out of it that community policing can and should be harnessed as an effective tool to cope with the threat of terrorism. The threat of terrorism will be with us for the forseebale future and is imperative to develop effective measures to curb it.
The IACP annual conference provides an excellent opportunity for professional education and training as well as serving as a rich source for best practices, networking and cutting edge information.
See you in San Diego at the 123rd annual conference.
International Law Enforcement Partnerships (07-16-2015)
Organizational vision and cooperation bring law enforcement agencies closer together despite global distances. On June 30, 2015, Y. Danino, Commisisoner of the Israel Police, has retired after 37 years of public service. This was an opportunity to review the impact of his “Turning Point” program. His program and vision focused on the police officer as the center of the police force, on improving police services to the law abiding citizen, on increasing deterrence, and on reducing
Several police leaders from around the world worked with Commissioner Danino and were influenced by his programmatic vision. They sent recorded greetings for his retirement sendoff where they remarked on the value of his contibution to law enforcement and for increasing international cooperation and partnerships between the Israel Police and police agencies around the world.
View the composite video of the remarks.
Leadership and Partnership in Law Enforcement (11-01-2014)
This past week the IACP held its 121st annual conference in Orlando, Florida. With about 25,000 police leaders from all over the world each attendant leaves with their own impressions and I am writing to share mine by highlighting three activities worth noting.
First, the IACP Community Policing Committee had one of its best educational sessions. Attended by more than 300 people it was titled “Has Your State Drug Policy Gone Up in Smoke? The Real Story of What Every Police Chief Needs to Know” and featured speakers from the DEA, State police (Washington), local police (Colorado), treatment experts, and international representatives from Belgium and Holland. The consensus that emerged from this session is that the legalization trends are starting to show unintended consequences that defy expectations. Colorado data point out that homelessness is up an estimated 153% (in Denver), high cash enterprises have increased, hospitalization up 82% from 2008 to 2013, and student referral on marijuana incidents is up 45%. In other words, the problem is getting worse not better. It is the classical proof that solving one problem has created another. It also showed the extent to which the work is cut out for community policing efforts.
Second, FBI Director James Comey provided an inspiring address at the first General Assembly. Federal agencies often stress the importance of partnering with (and relying on) state and local agencies. Comey went a step further: he has instructed all FBI SACs to meet in conjunction with the IACP and this way get closer to the law enforcement community in a show of determination that this is indeed a twoway partnership. He also showed a clear understanding of the threat of
international (and domestic) terrorism and expressed a growing concern about what he called (in a 60 Minutes interview) the “Lone Rat” and the need for better intelligence measures that are hampered by modern commercial technology.
Third – as far as I know for the first time in Israel’s history, its police commissioner attended an IACP annual conference. Better say, two conferences. Commissioner Yochanan Danino attended the 120th conference last year in Philadelphia where he spoke in several sessions. He attended again this year in Orlando where in addition to speaking and meetings with his counterparts he received the Leadership Prize from PERF for partnering with his Jordanian and Palestinian peers on matters of public safety in what PERF called an “Unprecedented Middle East Policing Project.” See more here. He shared the prize with Interior Minister Hussein Hazza alMajali, the former head of Jordan’s public security forces (who attended the IACP), and the head of the Palestinian Civil Police, Gen. Hazem Atallah (who did not attend). In photo L-R: Charles Ramsey, Commissioner, Philadelphia Police Department; Hussein Hazza alMajali, Jordanian Interior Minister, Yochanan Danino, Commissioner, Israel Police, Terry Gainer, U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms (2007-2014), and Chuck Wexler, Executive Director, PERF.
But his attending the IACP had more to it than receiving an award. Commissioner Danino included four commanders from the Southern Police District that have demonstrated outstanding leadership traits during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge (July-August 2014) when their jurisdictions were under the barrage of more than 4,500 projectiles from Gaza. By identifying outstanding command staff and having them attend the IACP he created an opportunity for professional
Now, an observer’s comment: There are several highly important law enforcement organizations that set the professional tone for the police profession. Of those, the IACP is the largest and most important and several organizations actually hold their annual meetings in conjunction with the IACP. This gives an opportunity for police leaders from around the world to meet, exchange ideas, develop projects, enhance partnerships, cooperate with peers, and share cutting edge developments in the profession. If anything, it is surprising that until recently Israel and its police force have not actively participated in the IACP. While the resident Israel Police attaché in the U.S. tended to participate, it is encouraging to see that the commissioner understands the importance of building and strengthening international relations among sister law enforcement agencies. This is not to say that such relations were absent. It is, however, to say that it received the proper priority and emphasis by the top leadership.
I started with the impression left on me by the community policing session, continued with the community policing elements of the FBI director and ended with the international Middle East partnerships that received proper recognition. Community policing is about developing partnerships, being proactive, and most important, trying to curb crime before it occurs. All three elements mentioned above do exactly that. These serve as encouraging role models to illustrate what community policing has to offer for local, regional, national, and international policing.
TOPPS it is not what you think (04-12-2014)
On April 2nd I gave a talk on “Tourism Policing: How Police Departments Can Interact for Better Tourism Security,” at the International Tourism Safety Association annual meeting in Las Vegas. We received a great welcome Vegas Style from former Mayor Goodman and two show girls.
As is NOT typical to conferences, I was not responsible for the title of my own presentation. I was asked to talk about community policing in connection with tourism and was happy to enumerate what community policing has to offer.
So, initially, I did not even pay attention to the title and saw it reflecting the need to provide better security for tourism by using community policing principles. At the conference I first learned about TOPPS: Tourism Oriented Policing and Protective Services. The idea sounded great. So I queried TOPPS on google only to find over 4 million entries but not a single one related to tourism safety. There are companies, baseball and football cards, apparel products, bakeries, university programs on health, comics, investments, but nothing on tourism safety. Only a search on TOPPS with the added words of tourism safety revealed a number of entries most associated with “Tourism and More” which is the web site of Dr. Peter Tarlow who offers sessions on TOPPS in connection with tourism safety and who was the moderator of the conference.
I paid attention to the other presentations as I was intrigued that to date I have never heard about TOPPS and I remain wondering if any member of our committee had. Two issues came to the surface by the end of the conference: 1) other than Dr. Tarlow’s talk about TOPPS there is absolutely no mention of it in the literature, no research, and no theoretical conceptualization. Tarlow’s book on Tourism Security was just published and the paperback edition is expected to be in print in July. I doubt it fills the gap as it is slated more as a “how to” approach with no indication of any theoretical or conceptual discussion. 2) There was a great deal of talk about the need to establish tourist police and that concerns me. Even worse, there was a repeated recommendation during the conference to designate specific officers and specific units to serve as tourist police. I have not seen any reference to TOPPS as a philosophy but rather as a specific program.
Indeed, if that is the case, the nice and appropriate title of tourism oriented policing is missing the target altogether. It is oriented in name only. A number of countries are active in establishing tourism police departments or designation of special units; this is the case in the Caribbeans, Nepal, and Latin America. Aruba even passed a new law a few months ago where crime against a tourist is going to be penalized more severely than a crime against a local citizen. It is yet to be
tested in court.
I am all in favor of tourism oriented policing where the entire department adopts the philosophy that tourism safety is important and then it tries to proactively coproduce tourism safety with relevant partners and stakeholders. Designating specific officers or specific units is wrong. What will the rest of the department be doing?
For example, the City of Las Vegas is a top destination tourist city with an estimated 40 million visitors a year. Its police department (which is actually a citycounty
department) has approximately 2700 officers. For a city/county of this size of visiting population and in a 24-hour city that does not sleep, designating specific officers or a unit is simply a drop in the bucket as the departmental resources are already stretched to the limit.
So if we now see recommendations for tourist police next we will see church police, or science police or any specific subject matter police. That is not only a waste of resources but it goes to show a grave misunderstanding of police mission, organizational realities, budgetary considerations, deployment tactics, and effective interventions.
Tourism is clearly an important economic engine and for some it is the major or the only economic source of living. If anything, it behooves those who are interested in the safety of travel and tourism to better understand the concept of policing, community policing, and the coproduction of public safety. The principles of community policing should be looked at as a valuable source to assist tourism oriented policing with concepts and practice alike. After all, tourism oriented policing is nothing but a private case or a derivative of community policing. There is absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel.
Exercise caution with positive press (03-27-2014)
It is nice to get positive press and accolades but with it comes the extra responsibilities of reading such press correctly. Once it is printed it is difficult to remedy as any PIO well knows.
A 500-word article titled: “US community policing expert lauds Israeli program as international model” appeared in The Jerusalem Post (3-27-2014).
The photo in the article is actually against a backdrop of the “Turnaround” poster that is the flagship of Commissioner Danino. The award, for those of you who notice, is our committee’s recognition of the Rishon LeZion Police Precinct, of the Israel Police, as a finalist in the 2012 award cycle (cities of 250,00+). I had the honor of representing our committee and personally handing it to the Commissioner and the police chief.
Let me draw your attention to a few inaccuracies in quoting me (and misspelling my last name is but one):
“…in Atlanta there are 60 local police departments.” I said that the five county metro area has 60 police department.
“In Israel there is a centralized force, which is a more efficient model because communication among all departments is clear, resulting in higher standards.” I said there is efficiency in having a centralized model as it is easier to implement programs across the board. However, I also said that I do not imply that the U.S. law enforcement should become centralized. Rather, it could adopt elements of the 10 points irrespective of department size. Indeed, there are coordination problems across agencies but within each department the turnaround program is certainly applicable. In other words, it does not mean the Israel Police structure is better than the American one but rather that there are programmatic principles that could be utilized in US law enforcement (regardless of agency size, structure or having a multitude of agencies).
“…impressed by Danino’s Turning Point program that he regularly flies senior members of US police departments to Israel to study it.” I do indeed fly command staff to Israel but I have done it years before the turnaround program came into being. There is indeed a lot to learn from exchange programs and “turnaround” is one such initiative.
“…every department I have brought to Israel has adopted a number of elements in Israel’s model with great success.” I was making specific references to various programs and in particular to the Video Integration Center of the Atlanta Police Department.
Of course, a positive article beats a negative one any time but in order to avoid any misunderstandings at least as to what I said I wanted to clarify the above points.
International Community Policing (01-11-2014)
Among key principles espoused by community policing (CP) several come to mind when considering international community policing (ICP): Interagency cooperation and partnerships building. Most practitioners and scholars emphasize the importance of building relations with the community to focus on crime-causing conditions so as to minimize the likelihood of crime production. By utilizing a proactive approach agencies can also focus on organizational
development, interagency collaboration and the enhancement of police professionalism.
Yet, an aspect that does not get enough attention is police organizational development. One way to enhance police professionalism is through interagency interaction that aims to exchange information, methods, techniques, knowhow, best practices, sources of excellence and ways to improve police services and public safety. Perhaps there is no better platform for ICP than that provided by the IACP. This 120 years old organization offers structured opportunities for
interaction, learning, exchange of valuable information, networking, introduction of new technology and shaping and influencing law enforcement related policy and legislation. In essence, the IACP offers access to and promotes best law enforcement and public safety practices.
Therefore, from the perspective of ICP it is important to look at international participation in the IACP which is largely American dominated. Agency heads from the US regularly participate in IACP annual and other conferences and there is typically participation from a number of countries around the world. If attendees from the US are numbered in the thousands, international attendees number in the hundreds. The distance, cost, valuesought, climate of international cooperation
could all independently or together hamper participation. Even if seen as important, cost, distance and other technical factors are often prohibitive not only for regular participation but even the occasional one.
I would like to focus on one example, the Israel Police (IP). For a number of years (probably the last 20 or so) the IP has sent its attaché in the U.S. to attend IACP conferences. In 2006 the Israel Minister of Internal Security, Avi Dichter, attended and addressed the IACP and also signed cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In 2013 it was the first time that a commissioner of the Israel Police addressed the IACP and Lt. General Yochanan Danino had an opportunity to present his “Turnaround Plan” that is aimed at increasing the public’s sense of safety and enhancing the level of trust the public has in the police. A key element of this plan is an approach called community-based policing which combines enforcement with preventive measures. See RAND report: Effective Policing for 21st-Century Israel which offered enhancements to the Turnaround Plan.
The IP has been known for years to excel in areas of homeland security and counter terrorism measures. The IP’s YAMAM, bomb disposal units and other special forces have acquired worldwide reputation. Yet, despite this excellence, most members of the public were frustrated with what they perceived as insufficient attention they received in the areas of “traditional” crime. Low clearance rates on property offenses, increasing violence and other troubling offenses made the
police realize that excelling in the areas of counter terrorism is necessary and important but also insufficient. Police realized that a balance is needed between special services such as counter terrorism and “traditional” service such as handling crimes against the person and against property. This is the backdrop against which Danino’s Turnaround Plan has emerged. He presented it to foreign delegations visiting Israel and at international conferences. Independent surveys have
provided data driven confirmation that the public’s sense of security and its trust in the police have increased.
Indeed, the IP has always encouraged international interagency cooperation in many areas of policing. For the first time in its history, the Israel Police became a finalist in the 2012 IACP-Cisco community policing award with the Rishon LeZiyon entry. In addition to exchanges in the areas of counter-terrorism (special forces, bomb disposal), crime laboratory, and other areas, the IP is now collaborating with the Atlanta Police Department on developing the future cadre of police leaders
by exchanging leadership training principles, expert instructors, and command staff.
Law enforcement agencies are no longer an isolated island. In order to remain on the cutting edge of development it is in the interest of law enforcement agencies to enhance and increase interagency collaboration and the IP understands the importance of ICP and is committed to international cooperation. As much as it can learn from sister agencies it also has a great deal to offer. All this does not minimize the gravity of the challenges facing the IP (or for that matter, many police forces) but adhering to ICP can make a real difference in improving police services locally and internationally alike.
Rishon Leziyon Police Station, Israel (01-03-2013)
Rishon Leziyon Police Station (RLPS), Israel, was the second finalist in the 2012 IACP-Cisco Community Policing Award for departments serving populations of 250,000 and above. In the tradition of IACP’s Community Policing Committee an effort is made to present the award at a local event to achieve further recognition, publicize the award and bolster the work of the police department and its community partners.
The RLPS serves a community of 320,000 residents, and it serves two cities; Rishon Leziyon, which is the 4th largest city in Israel, and Nes-Tziona. In addition, two regional counties, Gan Rave and Emeq Lod, and one local community, Bet Dagan, also fall within the jurisdiction of Rishon Leziyon. Within the station’s responsibility are commercial and industrial facilities, shopping malls, military bases, and two beaches. The most prevalent crimes are property crime, use of narcotics, violent crime, juvenile crime, domestic violence, gambling, and prostitution. The RLPS has 240 officers and relies on a force multiplier of 1400 authorized volunteers (sworn while on duty). Volunteers operate in an integrated manner; participate in monthly meetings with community leaders, organizing youth sporting events during summer vacation and holidays, and building relationships with other city municipality organizations, such as educational institutes, fire departments, and hospitals.
Reductions in burglary and positive impacts on drug use and distribution have both been realized through this particular deployment strategy of using volunteers. The officers and volunteers serve together as a direct line of communication between the community and agency leadership. The RLPS recognizes that no police department can stand alone without the assistance and full cooperation of the community in which they are policing, and this is a philosophy that the
department integrates into their daily practice.
The Israel Police Liaison to North America, Brigadier General Menashe Arviv received the award last October at the IACP conference in San Diego. I had the honor to represent Todd Miller (IACP’s Community Policing Committee Chair) and the entire committee to present the award in person to the RLPS. The event took place at the station as part of an initiative called “Turnaround” where the police commissioner visits 140 police stations and units from north to south during a period of five weeks to assess their progress and meet with them in person.
The Israel Police is comprised of approximately 28,000 officers in 7 districts (including the Border Guard) deployed in 80 stations and sub stations across the State of Israel. It was rather timely that my visit to Israel coincided with the commissioner’s Turnaround tour of the country’s police force. The ceremony started with a fitting tribute (commissioner’s certificate) to Vicki and Itzhak Kimchi, a senior couple who made their apartment available for the use of the RLPS detectives to catch brazen burglars who targeted senior citizens.
Since this was the first time that an Israel Police station received an IACP community policing recognition, the commissioner asked me to describe the nature of the award and I happily articulated its intent, purpose, history, structure and process and emphasized its competitive and prestigious nature. The event was held with many of the station’s officers and volunteers attending in a packed hall.
I mentioned that the IACP community policing committee conducted a highly competitive selection process where the committee was able to review applicants from the U.S. and other countries to determine best practices in community policing. I added that the RLPS application represented key principles of community policing: it has built partnerships, it is proactive, they rely heavily on community volunteers, and they aim at minimizing the production of crime. I was proud to present the award to Chief Superintendent Itzhak Menashe (RLPS chief) and Israel Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino.
It was heartwarming to evidence the outpouring of enthusiastic cheers of officers and citizens alike and their pride in their police station was easy to recognize. They appreciated the RLPS being the groundbreaking recipient of this important international recognition.
It is appropriate to mention that the application was submitted by the former RLPS chief, Commander Alon Arieh who is currently the chief of the Nenatya Police. I
would like to add some personal observations.
Within a period of three weeks I was able to present the IACP Community Policing award to two finalists in the category of cities with populations of 250,000 and above. While the distance between Riverside, California, and Rishon Leziyon, Israel, is 7,500 miles, they are almost on the same latitude (33 degrees and 32 degrees, respectively), close to the beach and with very similar temperatures in December/January. I arrived in Israel for a couple of days of stormy weather but
since then it has been a sunny week with temperatures in the low ’70s and the beaches were full of people enjoying a sun tan like this was midsummer.
It was amusing to hear Israelis complain about the tedious length of the upcoming parliamentary elections (about five weeks) and evidence their surprise when they learned it was a bit longer in the U.S. (two years). Despite the cultural and demographic differences what was also common is that the Riverside PD and the RLPS tackled similar crime problems by relying on proven community policing principles and were able to show results.
It was indeed an honor and a pleasure to personally present the IACP 2012 Finalist Award to RLPS Chief Itzhak Menashe and to Israel Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino and I want to express my gratitude for their outstanding hospitality. It was great to meet a group of dedicated public servants and their community partners and I wish them all continued success.
Riverside Police Department, California (12-13-2012)
Riverside Police Department, California, was the finalist in the 2012 IACP-Cisco Community Policing Award for departments serving populations of 250,000 and above. In the tradition of IACP’s Community Policing Committee an effort is made to present the award at a local event to achieve further recognition, publicize the award and bolster the work of the police department and its community partners.
RPD’s officer David Cunningham recognized that most kids involved in after school crimes and disturbances were from one particular school: Ramona High School. He took the initiative to identify and reach out to the community stakeholders and began to build partnerships. Officer Cunningham recognized a problem that was negatively impacting a significant segment of the community and thought outside the box about the best solution, thus creating The Village Project.
Here children have the opportunity to participate in numerous activities at the YMCA. RPD saw a decline in calls for service as it has made collaborative efforts to diminish the risks associated with exposure to juvenile delinquency and the victimization of the community’s youth in the Ramona neighborhood.
I had the honor to represent Todd Miller (IACP’s Community Policing Committee Chair) and the entire committee to present the award in person to Riverside PD. The event took place at the Art Pick Council Chamber in City Hall on the occasion of the swearing in of the newly elected mayor of Riverside, William R. Bailey III. Following the ceremony, Mayor Baily called on IACP and Cisco to present the award to RPD.
After Chief Diaz introduced the project, the partners and the guests, I was given the opportunity to provide brief remarks. I used the podium to introduce the IACP and our committee and mentioned that RPD became a finalist in a competitive process where the committee was able to review applicants from the U.S. and other countries to determine best practices in community policing. I added that RPD represented key principles of community policing: it has built partnerships, it is
proactive, officers are empowered and it aims at minimizing the production of crime. It was indeed an exciting moment to then present Chief Sergio Diaz the 2012 Finalist award in the category of population served of 250,000 and above. James Kidd who represented Cisco also added how proud is Cisco to support the IACP Community Policing Committee and its activities and congratulated RPD on this award.
I would like to add some personal observations. Flying from Atlanta to Riverside (via Salt Lake City to Ontario, CA) was an interesting experience. The flights were on time (actually early!), connections were uneventful and I had the opportunity to see much of the US from the sky. That included the snowy mountains surrounding Salt Lake City as well heavy snow on the Rocky Mountains. Gorgeous. Seeing the Great Salt Lake City Desert and the wilderness of the Mojave
Desert was fantastic. Seeing the beauty and the size of the country (the visibility was very good) was simply inspiring even if this was not the first time.
This was my first visit to Riverside but from the little I have seen it is a beautiful city, well kept, clean and well planned. The weather is dry and comfortable. The sense of community and the sense of pride and belonging, displayed by everyone I met or observed, were impressive. People really care about the city. I stayed at the historic Mission Inn hotel where many U.S. presidents have stayed. What a unique place. It was all decorated for Christmas and I could not have helped
having a few Kodak moments (see 5 attached photos).
The hospitality was gracious. I was picked up at the airport by officer Mark Reddick and we had a good conversation on community policing, crime causation and preventive measures. We continued the conversation when he dropped me back at the airport as I was headed back to Atlanta the following day. The City Council meeting was longer than usual due to the swearing in of the new mayor but it gave me a chance to observe the elected officials and the citizens that were
present. The Riverside Poly High School Junior ROTC presented The Colors and the Riverside Poly High School Chamber Singers gave one of the best renditions of the National Anthem I have ever heard.
This was followed by dinner with Chief Sergio Diaz, Officer Dave Cunningham, and Jackie and Chris Fielder from the YMCA. We had a pleasant conversation about policing, community involvement, and even discussed great lines in movies that we liked.
It was an honor and a pleasure to personally present the IACP 2012 Finalist Award to Chief Sergio Diaz of the Riverside Police Department and I want to again express my gratitude for his outstanding hospitality. It was great to meet a group of dedicated public servants and their community partners and I wish them all continued success.
Oslo Public Service Summit 2011 (12-15-2011)
I had the honor of representing the IACP Community Policing Committee and GILEE (and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University) at the Public Service Summit that was held in Oslo (December 9-11) in conjunction with the award of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. The Summit and the Concert were sponsored by Cisco which is also the sponsor of the IACP Community Policing Committee. Oslo in December with ice, snow, and temperatures ranging
from 15-35 Fahrenheit was not a top priority. Frankly, neither was the Peace Prize (given some of its past recipients). Yet this year, the combination of the Summit and the award winners three amazing women was attractive enough for me to attend. The Nobel Peace Prize 2011 was awarded jointly to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peacebuilding
work.” During a live broadcast and the Award Concert they have shown viewers and listeners their traits of leadership, perseverance, integrity, patience, and humanity.
The Public Service Summit’s official theme focused on “Empowering the Edge: Boosting Resiliency and Productivity in the Public Sector:” The Summit recognized the “changing character of societies and economic conditions, where public sector leaders are creating new paradigms for how government, healthcare and education responsibilities are being envisioned, designed and implemented.” An impressive array of speakers and about 300 participants from 42 different
countries shared ideas for addressing modern challenges by providing better, more accountable, and more transparent public service. Speakers included Bill Bratton who headed the Boston, New York and Los Angeles Police Departments; Dr. Muhamed ElBaradei, former head of the IAEA and himself a Nobel Laureate; Sam Pitroda, an entrepreneur who is currently Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations; Maros Sefcovic, Vice
President of the European Commission; Lindsay Tanner, former Australian Finance Minister; Jocelyne Bourgon, former Secretary to Cabinet for Canada; and Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico. The plenary sessions were well attended and rather inspiring as were the breakout sessions. Sessions dealt with the economic impact on public service; governing in a changing world; cybersecurity; and how to improve public service. It was interesting to note that the “Open
Government” project in Vienna prided itself for developing an application to assist one in finding the nearest public toilet yet if you visit Vienna you will not have publically available information on crime incidents or the budget.
The Summit was extremely well organized, very well run, facilities were conducive and speakers were outstanding. Three sub-themes were visibly identifiable through the entire Summit: the importance of partnerships, the value of technological innovation, and the need to be proactive. Little surprise that these dimensions sounded more than familiar to me and they should to the members of the CP Committee as well as to any police department that has adopted community policing. It became fairly obvious that a community-based approach has value not only to policing but to public service in any arena be it health, education, government services and for business development. A note worth taking: the entire Summit was paperless. Cisco has developed a
special application that included summit information, the agenda, participants, speakers, evaluations, Oslo information, the Summit community and participants’ insights. It made accessing information, sharing information and managing one’s time very productive and convenient. The entire conference site such as meeting halls and hotel rooms were wireless and thus conducive to networking via iPads, iPhones (and blackberries) and any other smart device.
I met several participants with whom I had an opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts about public service. One of them was Bob Cook, President of the El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation who was interested in ranking cities on crime. This led to an extensive discussion about the ranking of cities on homicide that I have done with my colleagues Drs. Rosenfeld and Blumstein and how to use crime data smartly when making business decisions
such as investment, development, and relocation. Bob also provided daily blogs together with his colleague Ann Gates, associate vice president of research and sponsored projects at UTEP to the El Paso Times.
The Summit concluded with the Nobel Peace Prize Concert that literally rocked the house. MC’d by Helen Mirren and Rosario Dawson, it featured among
others Janelle Monáe, David Gray, Sugarland, Ellie Goulding, and Jill Scott. I must confess that other than Mirren none of them were household names (in my household that is). Yet, the show was superb and literally no one was able to remain seated without being influenced by the music.
The Summit was inspiring in that it was a proper mix of theory, practice, policy and reports on best practices and identifying future trends. It was worth traveling to Oslo in December and even getting stuck for an extra day due to flight delays caused by icy conditions.
I am looking forward to share more details with the CP Committee when we meet in March.
Kill Community Policing? (11-27-2011)
Literally on the eve of the IACP 118th annual conference (Chicago) an article posted on PoliceOne.com by chief Joel Shults (Adams State College in Alamosa, CO) argued that “If ‘community policing’ isn’t already dead, let’s kill it and move on.” Shults maintains that he is “by some measure” an expert in community policing and even made it the subject of his doctoral dissertation research.
He is very correct in pointing out that many police departments jumped on the community policing (CP) band wagon for the money (Clinton’s COPS program) and not for the concept it represented. He also correctly termed that behavior including his very own as “almost immoral.” However, the way he outlines his understanding of CP is indicative of misunderstanding it.
After all, CP is not about ‘officer friendly’ to school kids, public service announcement on local radio stations or being the face of the police department for frightened senior citizens. Those examples he cites may be tools or means but they are not and should not be considered community policing. Police departments have done that for years well before the advent of CP in the mid 1980s yet it has not constituted CP.
He argues that while CP was not a “total wash” (because it “forced some police leaders to come out of their shell…”) it had ill effects by diverting police from real police work to picking up trash and that its “effectiveness has never been proven by research and that it was founded on weak presumptions.”
He must have missed the voluminous research by scholars such as Cordner, Friedmann, Greene and Mastrofski, Rosenbaum, and many others who have demonstrated CP’s effectiveness. This despite objective evaluation difficulties such as program complexity, multiple effects, variation in program scope and research design limitations (Cordner, 1995). Weak presumptions? After years of reactive policing with limited success CP introduced an epidemiological understanding of the need to focus on crime causation and not only criminal outcomes. If there is any value in CP it is precisely in providing a better understanding to the limitation of reactive policing and an opening to a far more comprehensive approach that should result in the production of less crime.
Shults’ conclusions are a bit more generous than his homicidal title: He argues that “collaboration” (partnership?) is “solid gold.” But then he argues that police need to do what they do best, namely use force. One remains wondering how often did he and his department use force against students, faculty, staff and visitors in his college or if he can even recall if force was ever used and if so when was the last time.
Is community policing perfect? Has it achieved all its objectives? Has it been (well) implemented across all departments? Of course not. But to “kill” it because of less than perfect achievements? On the contrary, in the days of the “new normal” of severe budget cuts, CP is more important than ever before. In the days of threats to homeland security the principles of CP are an integral part of homeland security (Friedmann and Cannon, 2007).
CP does not need mercy killing because it is not “completely dead” (it is either dead or it is not). CP needs serious, thorough and professional implementation with systematic accountability and transparency. Shults will be well advised to review the community policing efforts and their effectiveness of the departments around the US and the world that have won the IACP Community Policing Award since 1998. It will prove to be a rather educational and inspirational effort.