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A Little Whimsy Helps the Warn-and-Scold

Tony Zerwas picBy Officer Tony Zerwas

“Don’t speed.”

“Wear your seatbelt.”

“Don’t drink and drive.”

Have you heard this before? Traditional messages similar to these are posted on law enforcement social media pages on a daily basis throughout the country. The messages are well intended, but have been repeated so much that they often fall on deaf ears. As law enforcement agencies, we must find a way to adapt and share these messages in a more effective manner. How do you accomplish this? Easier said than done, right?

Wrong.

It’s really simple.

Read More & Share

Input Needed! Nominate Innovative Programs Responding to Addiction

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Our organization, in collaboration with the Addiction Policy Forum, is excited to launch a new project featuring innovative programs to address addiction in the fields of prevention, treatment, recovery support, overdose reversal, criminal justice reform and law enforcement strategies.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the 2015 drug overdose death data, which showed a significant increase from 47,055 drug overdose deaths in 2014 to 52,404 – an average of 144 drug overdose deaths each day.

However, many states and communities all over the country have created innovative programs to address substance use disorders in their area and we believe they deserve recognition for their hard work in the face of a national epidemic. Innovations in addressing the disease of addiction will help change the way our country views addiction, and featuring these great programs move this forward.

We would like to invite you to nominate programs your organization believes are innovative in these fields. All nominated programs will be reviewed and considered by the Addiction Policy Forum’s National Advisory Board. Selected programs will receive the following:

  • National recognition as an innovation, including announcement to the media and key policymakers;
  • A feature article published on the Addiction Policy Forum website and delivered to over 200 partner organizations
  • A seal of recognition to include on their website and organizational websites; and,
  • Inclusion in a compilation of innovative programs to be published by the Addiction Policy Forum

If you or your organization is interested in nominating a program, please complete the nomination form available here:  Nominate a Program.

Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis until March 31st, 2017.

New Release: The Importance of Shop with a Cop

PF On Policing logo final versionAs we enjoy the holiday season and spend time with friends and family, one police department is taking the opportunity to make a special impact on its community. In our newest essay, Beaumont (CA) Police Chief Sean Thuilliez explains how his department’s annual Shop with a Cop event is a great way to not only connect and build relationships with the community, but to also provide for children who may otherwise not receive any gifts for Christmas. To read the full essay, click here. And if you missed the recent essays on pre-arrest diversion programs and deadly force encounters, be sure to visit www.onpolicing.org.

If you would like to receive updates when new On Policing essays are posted, please click here to subscribe and indicate that you would like to receive information about the On Policing essay series.

The Importance of Shop with a Cop

seanthuilliezBy Chief Sean Thuilliez
Beaumont (Ca.) Police Department

My family and I had just driven 9-year-old Indicta from our police station to the local Walmart for our annual Shop with a Cop.

We climbed out of my unmarked vehicle, preparing to join with the other 39 cop-and-child combos to go and find perfect holiday gifts for all of the kids, who come from low-income families. But Indicta’s mother approached us first and raised some concerns.

She explained that Indicta’s father, before leaving for a self-described 30-day camping trip that he never returned from, told Indicta to always behave while he was gone or “the men in blue” would come to take her away. The comment apparently had a powerful impact on the child, and a negative one at that.

The mother then said she was concerned that Indicta would not get a true understanding of police officers because my family was accompanying me. She also did not understand why we were in an unmarked car and not a cruiser with lights and sirens.

At first, her concerns caught me by surprise. But I listened to her, making sure I understood the issues, and then first explained that we were in an unmarked car because it’s my assigned vehicle.

And then I tackled what for me was the more important issue – why my family (my wife, daughter age 20 and son who is 11) had come along. Read More & Share

Deadly Force Encounters and Difficult Conversations

Tim Hegarty photo 2By Capt. Tim Hegarty
Riley County (KS) Police Department

With each new police deadly force encounter, regardless of the circumstances, the opposing sides are becoming more polarized, as if some critical mass is building in the space between.

One of the primary forces behind this mass is the concept of blame.

Stone, Patton and Heen explain in their book “Difficult Conversations” that blame accomplishes three things. First, it assigns the responsibility for the problem to one person or group. Second, it judges the actions of that one person or group to be wrong. Third, as the person or group who caused the problem was wrong, blame calls for that person or group to be punished.

The authors note that blame directs the focus backward, on the past, and consequently an emphasis on blame will never create a path forward to a solution.

Moving away from blame first requires that we acknowledge both sides have been engaged in its practice. Read More & Share

Pre-Arrest Diversion Programs: The Future of Policing

bob-gualtieri-02By Sheriff Bob Gualtieri
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

People make mistakes. They do stupid things. Sometimes they make bad choices because they are down on their luck and don’t feel they have another option.

But it is important to realize there is a big difference between bad people who do bad things that hurt people and good people who make an error in judgment because they are young and immature or just find themselves in a bad spot.

Here in Pinellas County, Florida, time and again we see people making these mistakes, getting convicted, serving time or paying large fines and ultimately, leaving themselves with criminal records that will often haunt them for much or all of their lives. Given how information today is so readily available, that statement really is true. There are even websites now where anyone can locate a person’s mugshot for what in some cases is really just a petty offense.

After a lot of talking and planning, we have decided that in our county, just because people do something wrong doesn’t mean they all should be saddled with an undue weight for the remainder of their days. In October, we started an Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion program aimed at preventing these sorts of errors from keeping people from getting a job or stable housing. Read More & Share

New Essay: It’s Not Weak to Feel Psychological Trauma – It’s Human

PF On Policing logo final thumbnailOn the one-year anniversary of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, clinical psychologist Tammy McCoy-Arballo discusses the myriad of emotions and thoughts officers can experience in the aftermath of such an incident. She stresses that “those who develop post-incident reactions are not weak – they are human.” To read the full essay, click here or visit www.onpolicing.org.

If you would like to receive updates when new On Policing essays are posted, please click here to subscribe and indicate that you would like to receive information about the On Policing essay series.

It’s Not Weak to Feel Psychological Trauma – It’s Human

tammy-mccoy-picBy Tammy McCoy-Arballo
Counseling Team International Clinical Psychologist

Being courageous does not mean you are not afraid. Courageous people are afraid, but fear does not stop them from confronting danger. I have been thinking about courage and danger a great deal as the first anniversary of the San Bernardino terrorist attack neared. We saw a tremendous amount of courage from the men and women in law enforcement who responded to the Inland Regional Center a year ago today.

As the anniversary of the San Bernardino terrorist attack dawns, it seems only natural to ask: “What would I do in that situation?” and “How would I react to the emotional strain caused by an event like that?”

A husband and wife tandem fired off hundreds of rounds during the Dec. 2, 2015 attack, killing 14 people and seriously injuring 22 others – all civilians. The pair was killed hours later during a firefight with officers, some who were injured during the exchange of gunfire.

Of course all law enforcement officials hope such circumstances never repeat themselves, but it would be normal for all who carry a badge and gun to look inward and ponder how they would respond if they faced the same situation or some sort of active-shooter event. Media reports describe a broad range of emotions from responding officers, from anxiety to excitement. Read More & Share

21st Century Cures Act Passes in the House of Representatives

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A message from Police Foundation President Jim Bueermann:

I am pleased to share the news that the 21st Century Cures Act  passed  the House of Representatives last night with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 392-26. As I shared previously, the bill, while primarily focused on medical innovation, contains critical provisions on criminal justice. I was most pleased by inclusion of a provision that would provide for the creation of a National Criminal Justice and Mental Health Training Center, which would coordinate best practices on responding to mental illness in the criminal justice system and provide technical assistance to governmental agencies.

Here’s a list of 7 things the bill does to support law enforcement:

1.  Law Enforcement Training – Authorizes resources for police responses to individuals with mental illness and de-escalation training.

2.  National Criminal Justice and Mental Health Training Center – Creates a new center to coordinate best practices on responding to individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system and provide technical assistance to governmental agencies.

3.  Diversion Programs – Allows state and local governments to use grant funds on programs to divert individuals with mental illness and co-occurring disorders from prisons and jails.

4.  Crisis Intervention Teams – Expands resources available to state and local governments to develop and operate school-based mental health crisis intervention teams that include coordination with law enforcement agencies.

5.  Focus on Evidence-Based Research – Requires the Department of Justice to prioritize grant applications to those who use evidence-based interventions and risk assessment tools to reduce recidivism.

6.  Mental Health Response and Corrections Programs – Allows funds from existing federal grant programs to be used in new ways, such as on specialized mental health response training like crisis de-escalation techniques.

7.  Active-Shooter Training – Permanently authorizes the VALOR Initiative to provide crisis training and active-shooter training for federal, state and local law enforcement officials.

8.  Reauthorization of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) – an essential funding mechanism that supports the use of mental health courts and crisis intervention teams in local law enforcement agencies. The bill would extend MIOTCRA, effectively filling critical gaps in the system, including providing additional resources for veterans’ treatment courts to help those suffering from behavioral or post-traumatic stress disorders.

This bill is a needed step along the way to strengthening our nation’s criminal justice system and ensuring that people with mental illness are treated well by it. Law enforcement professionals are a huge part of the system and I am glad that the bill recognized this and provided solid policy provisions designed to aid the community in its work each day.

Fortunately, Police Foundation was at the table in crafting these important provisions, having worked with key champions on the Hill to advance this work and having sent a letter of support. Thank you to those who lent their names to that effort. I look forward to keeping you updated as we follow the bill’s progress through the Senate and then onward to the President for his signature, which we hope to see finalized within the next two weeks.

 

Chief Jim Bueermann (Ret.)
President
Police Foundation

Raising Our Standards Above Criminal Culpability

FLYNNEdwardABy Chief Edward A. Flynn
Milwaukee Chief of Police

These days, there cannot be many more difficult jobs than being a cop in the United States. It’s reached such a point that in many ways, I can liken it to being a member of the military, serving overseas in a hot zone.

I say that because much like in the military, we in the law enforcement community are in the business of making critical decisions that impact people’s lives, and yet have to make those tough decisions with insufficient information. We are going to make mistakes. We can’t not make them.

We are encountering criminals with high-capacity firearms who are becoming more sophisticated at being criminals every day. They are cold, calculating and clearly have no problem killing people, particularly people in our inner cities. We also deal on a daily basis with more mental health issues than mental health professionals. Read More & Share

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New Police Foundation Reports and Training Opportunities!