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Building Guardians to Create a Better Community

sue rahr 2
By Sue Rahr
Executive Director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission

As a profession, law enforcement has become very good at fighting crime. The FBI stats have proven it over the past several years.

Yet, as a profession, we are struggling. And much of it, though unintentional, is self-inflicted.

While we have done a great job attacking the disease in the community that is violent crime, the way some have carried out the effort has damaged the immune system built on public trust. The results have been eye-opening and are tremendously important: it turns out most people care more about how they are treated than the crime rate – a phenomenon demonstrated over decades of social science research.

We shouldn’t be surprised by that. Who enjoys being conquered? Demeaned? Intimidated?

The results explain the negative cloud that has engulfed policing in this country and the growing divide between cops and citizens. Some communities fear police rather than seeing them as a source of protection and help.

So how did we get here? Read More & Share

Community Relations are a Two-Way Street

chief bidouBy Chief Andrew Bidou
Vallejo, CA, Police Department

It was a year ago when I became chief of the Vallejo Police Department. I was proud to join it – the department has a great group of officers and support staff, but like many communities here in Northern California, Vallejo has also been hit with tough times.

Not everyone may know it but Vallejo was the first city in the nation to file for bankruptcy from the financial epidemic that hit our country several years ago. The city officially pulled out of bankruptcy in late 2011 and we are continually making progress, but anytime a city goes through a bankruptcy, city services are altered and people’s lives are negatively impacted. That in itself builds a lot of cynicism, but it had been exacerbated by both the growing national negative opinion of law enforcement and several high profile local events.  A distinct separation from some in the community and the police was clear.

We as a command staff knew we needed to reach out as a whole and reconnect with the community. Too many invisible walls had been built up, essentially creating an us-vs.-them mindset, which really is only a lose-lose for everyone involved. Read More & Share

11th Annual Missing and Unidentified Persons Conference

The 11th Annual Missing and Unidentified Persons conference (MUPC) and pre-conference will be held in Atlanta, GA on August 15-19, 2016. The conference provides training and education to 300+ search and rescue and law enforcement professionals from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico on effective tools, techniques and strategies for locating and recovering missing persons. MUPC blends practical application and skills development with technology and science in order to provide first responders with the critical information they need to know about what works best.

Presentations will include:

  • DNA can be used effectively to identify individuals
  • Discussions and presentations on effective and practical technology, contingent on circumstances
  • Pending innovations that can help first responders identify those who are missing

The conference also provides participants with instruction on how to interact, communicate with, and support those who become displaced or disconnected from their families as a result of disasters, mass tragedies, casualties, physical or developmental disabilities, mental health, age, culture, or even physical boundaries.

  • Sixteen hours of instruction will be available through a series of four pre-conference sessions
  • Twenty hours of instruction will be offered through the conference (August 17-19)

Fox Valley Technical College’s National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC) and the National Association For Search And Rescue (NASAR) are partnering on the conference.

Register now

New “On Policing” Essays Released

The Police Foundation’s new essay series, On Policing, continues to grow with the release of two brand new essays: “Inviting Outsiders Inside Policing” and “Police Errors are Opportunities to Build Trust”. Both essays offer unique perspectives and ideas about how to advance modern-day policing from authors who have dedicated their entire careers to law enforcement and public service. To view the essays, please visit the On Policing library here. We highly encourage you to leave your thoughts and comments after reading each essay, and please share the essays with others!

New essays will be released next week, so please visit the On Policing page again soon!

Register for Crime Analysis for Chief Executives workshop in Freehold, NJ, March 17-18, 2016

On March 17-18, 2016, the Police Foundation and the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) will be hosting a Crime Analysis for Chief Executives Workshop in Freehold, New Jersey at the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. This free, intensive two-day workshop is designed to support Chiefs, Sheriffs, and other police executives in the development, utilization, and enhancement of crime and public safety analysis intended to drive departmental operations. Limited space is still available if your agency is interested in participating as a team.

Click here for more information on registration

Inviting Outsiders Inside Policing

Joyce pictureBy Nola M. Joyce
Former Deputy Commissioner, Philadelphia Police Department

In many police departments, I would still be considered an outsider.

That might seem striking, given that I have worked in high-ranking jobs at three of the nation’s largest police departments. In Chicago, I was the deputy director of research and development, and while in Washington D.C., I was the chief administrative officer. In my last job, I was a deputy commissioner and the CAO with the Philadelphia Police Department.

But I have never been a police officer. I have never worn the shield , a fact that often surprises my sworn colleagues.

Unfortunately, the strong belief in many law enforcement agencies across the nation is that those who haven’t worn a badge are outsiders with no real understanding of policing. Another belief directly connected to this one is that as long as a person has worn a badge, they have the requisite skills to do any job in a police department, no matter their proficiency or knowledge.

These two beliefs are remarkably limiting. It has built a wall of isolation around too many police headquarters, fostering the status quo and a homogeneity world view. Quite obviously, this severely limits new ideas and prevents alternative policies and programs from being explored and developed that could improve operations. Read More & Share

Police Errors Are Opportunities to Build Trust

stephens_webBy Darrel Stephens
Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association

No one likes making mistakes, but admitting to them can be an even more loathsome prospect. In policing though, there is no better way to move forward – not just from the mistake but as an industry as a whole. Recent surveys show that people have less confidence in the police on a national level, and much of that is borne out of a loss of public trust.

Interestingly, those same surveys show that the public does have greater faith in their local police officers. At first glance, it’s hard to know exactly why there is a difference. Based on what I have seen in my career, I believe it stems from the relationships local departments have developed with members of their community. That provides a foundation for a greater level of trust between citizens and police.

Often times, a critical reason for that trust comes from acknowledging when errors are made by police officers. More often than not, people base their beliefs on the experiences they have had, and when they know a mistake has been made and handled correctly, it builds trust. The reason is pretty simple: everyone makes mistakes, and people generally understand that reality.

From my perspective, police officers make two types of errors: mistakes of the mind and mistakes of the heart. A police chief must recognize the difference and be ready to deal with both. Read More & Share

Police Foundation Statement Regarding Proposed Amendment to the Sportsman’s Bill (HR 2406)

The Police Foundation issued a statement regarding a proposed amendment to the Sportsman’s Bill (HR 2406) which will have a chilling effect on enforcement of illegal gun possession and other gun crimes. At a time when many cities and counties have just witnessed 2015 come to an end with increased homicides and non-fatal shootings, Congress should strengthen, not weaken enforcement of our nation’s gun laws. We call on Members of Congress to support law enforcement officers as they perform the most dangerous job of confronting shooters and other armed criminals, and to uphold state and local efforts to make communities safer. Please see the Statement for further information on the proposed amendment and the Police Foundation’s views.

View the Statement

The Police Foundation Announces Launch of Timely Essay Series Entitled “On Policing”

PF On Policing logo final versionThe Police Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its new essay series entitled On Policing. This timely series is intended to open up dialogue between police practitioners, policymakers, and the public on the critical issues of policing today.  The On Policing series will capture the invaluable knowledge and perspectives that police practitioners gain as they advance through their careers while they are still “on-the-job”, and it will provide a forum for critical discussion on the topics presented.

In the first essays to be published, San Bernardino (CA) PD Chief Jarrod Burguan and San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon discuss the December 2015 terror attack and offer lessons on how other law enforcement practitioners can prepare for similar events.

Under the best of circumstances, many times the knowledge gained from experiences such as San Bernardino and other less high-profile policing situations remains local in that jurisdiction.  It can be diluted with the passage of time unless captured in a meaningful way. Rarely does anyone intentionally capture what police chiefs and other officers learned during their careers.  The Police Foundation aims to change this situation through this essay series so all – especially those separated by mitigating factors of time and distance – can benefit from both lessons learned and critical discussion about a variety of policing issues.

To read and take part in On Policing, click here or visit


An Introduction to On Policing

jim-buerrmannBy Chief Jim Bueermann (Ret.)
President, Police Foundation

As police practitioners advance through their careers, they gain invaluable knowledge about controlling crime and disorder, organizational life, and human nature. While they are still “on-the-job”, they are able to convey what they’ve learned to their co-workers or others through meetings or conferences. But when they retire, most of them lose these knowledge-sharing connections and any future links to what they learned over the course of their careers. Under the best of circumstances, almost all of this diffusion of knowledge remains local and can be diluted with time. Rarely are we able to capture what we came to learn during our careers in a way that others can benefit from – especially those separated from us by distance or time.

Historians use “oral histories” to capture the experiences and knowledge of our elders before they are lost. Similarly, the Police Foundation is committed to now widely capturing the knowledge and wisdom of veteran practitioners, policy makers, researchers and involved community members about the constantly changing world of policing. It is our belief that this wisdom will advance our noble profession and help the public understand the complicated and challenging nature of protecting our communities from crime, disorder, and terrorism.

The topics discussed in On Policing are intended to be as diverse as policing is itself. Read More & Share

New Police Foundation Reports and Training Opportunities!