Archives Erica Richardson

Department of Justice Establishes Community of Practice for Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness

PRESS RELEASE

U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
Office of Public Affairs
Email: cops.office.public.affairs@usdoj.gov
Phone: (202) 514-9079

December 22, 2020, WASHINGTON—The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has established the first-ever Community of Practice for state, local and tribal grantees  to connect, learn, share experiences, and network in an effort to continue the growth of law enforcement mental health and wellness work. Good mental and psychological health is just as essential as good physical health for law enforcement to be effective in keeping our country and our communities safe from crime and violence. The Community of Practice recently launched its work with a virtual meeting establishing short and medium term goals.

“Supporting the health and well-being of the nation’s front-line law enforcement as they ensure public safety is paramount to the Department of Justice,” said COPS Office Director Phil Keith. “The Department has dedicated resources to critical areas of concerns for officers including resilience; officer suicides; felonious and other assaults on officers; and mental health peer support networks. Establishing this new Community of Practice will provide the guidance, assistance, resources and support needed to further develop solutions to keep law enforcement safe and well, as they keep our communities safe and well.”

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Baltimore Police Department partners with the National Police Foundation to launch new peer intervention program for officers

December 22, 2020—To support the efforts of the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) in implementation of the consent decree, through funding from the Ford Foundation, the National Police Foundation (NPF) currently serves as a Technical Advisor to BPD. NPF is providing subject matter expertise and other support to BPD on a broad array of reforms the department is currently undertaking. So far, NPF has supported BPD in completing a Technology Resource Study and a Staffing Study, and supported BPD’s development of a Community Policing Plan. NPF staff are currently assisting BPD with their implementation of “Ethical Policing is Courageous” training, a peer intervention program, and development of neighborhood policing plans.

Keywords: Baltimore, BPD, Baltimore Police Department, EPIC, Active bystandership, training, police training

Developing Evidence in De-Escalation of Potential Use of Force Encounters

By Karen L. Amendola, PhD (Chief Behavioral Scientist, National Police Foundation)

Stories about police use of excessive force continue to appear in local and national news headlines. Community-police relationships continue to be strained by these incidents, many of which have been captured on camera and circulated in media. Witnessed and recorded incidents have reportedly led to a loss of trust in the police1 and for calls to defund local police departments. In a post-2020 era, public protestors are calling for replacing police responses with alternative, non-police emergency service members, such as social workers or mental health professionals, with the intent being better outcomes for all parties involved. The emergence of Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) training is, to a great extent, an outgrowth of this strong sentiment across the country, gaining traction after the shooting of Michael Brown.2

Strengthening Community Policing and Trust

In 2015, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued its report with recommendations to strengthen community policing and trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.3The report showcased the disparity between the level of confidence in law enforcement among various communities while including a special emphasis on de-escalation—a technique used to reduce the potential for a conflict to become more volatile or violent.3 Pillar 2 of the report, which focused on Policy & Oversight, Action Item 2.2.1 stated, “Law enforcement agency policies for training on use of force should emphasize de-escalation and alternatives to arrest or summons in situations where appropriate.”3 While the statement is general enough to allow room for interpretation and adaptation to local community preferences and needs, it was the subject of much discussion among police leadership as it was not adequately defined.

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National Police Foundation to develop techniques to automate analysis of BWC recordings of police-community interactions to evaluate implementation of procedural justice

December 10, 2020—Although the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) has expanded rapidly, the capacity to efficiently analyze the enormous amount of data collected by BWCs lags far behind. As a result, the wider potential of BWCs to improve practices and outcomes of policing has gone largely unrealized. With funding from the National Institute of Justice, the National Police Foundation will conduct a new study entitled: “Multi-Modal Analysis of Body Worn Camera Recordings: Evaluating Novel Methods for Measuring Police Implementation of Procedural Justice.”

The purpose of this project is two-fold: (1) develop novel techniques to automate analysis of BWC recordings of police-community interactions and evaluate officers’ adherence to principles of procedural justice and; (2) use a randomized controlled trial to assess the accuracy of those techniques by systematically comparing them to evaluations of BWCs recordings done manually by human raters under conditions of high and low procedural justice.

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National Police Foundation and partners continue awarding microgrants to first responder families impacted by COVID-19

The National First Responder COVID-19 Grant Relief Program is still continuing to take applications to help first responders and essential public safety staff in need during this difficult time. This program provides first responders an opportunity to request a grant of up to $1,000 to reimburse COVID-related expenses such as counseling sessions for mental health, dependent care, isolation lodging, disinfecting expenses and similar costs.

To date, the National Police Foundation and its partners have awarded over $100,000 to 151 first responders in need, the majority of which have been law enforcement. The below charts show types of first responders that have been awarded so far, as well as the types of COVID- related expenses recipients have requested.

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Origins of officer-involved shootings: Analysis of data reported to police via 911 calls reveal opportunities to reduce violent outcomes

By National Police Foundation

November 25, 2020—Through the cooperation of more than 50 of the largest law enforcement agencies across the U.S. and Canada, our research team was granted access to the most detailed dataset ever collected on fatal and non-fatal shootings by officers while on duty. Covering the period from 2015 through 2018, these data cover over 1,000 fatal and nonfatal shooting incidents, including characteristics regarding the reason for and circumstance of the encounter, the location, and the officers and the other individuals involved. While differences in data availability and policies impacted our ability to collect every detail across all agencies and incidents, the data provide important insights on these statistically rare, but massively important, events. In particular, the data shed light on an often overlooked aspect of the events that likely contributes significantly to the problem and yet remains understudied and unaddressed.

Although traditional and social media content may lead some to believe that officer-involved shootings most often begin with encounters involving a traffic or vehicle stop, our data reveal that in the large agencies we worked with and those providing sufficient data to assess the origins of these incidents, over half of these events began with a community member calling 911. Slightly less than half of the encounters began by an officer-initiated activity (e.g. initiating a traffic stop).

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National Police Foundation to conduct research study on impacts of organizational stressors on officer health, wellness, and work performance

The National Police Foundation is pleased to announce it has been awarded funding to complete a new research study examining the adverse impacts of organizational stress on officer health and wellness.

“Adverse Impacts of Organizational Stress on Officer Health and Wellness: Causes, Correlates, and Mitigation” funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) under the NIJ’s Research Evaluation in Safety, Health, and Wellness in the Criminal Justice System, will examine how organizational stressors are related to negative outcomes for officers and their agencies, and what are mitigating or facilitating factors at the individual and organizational levels. This research study will seek to enhance officer health and wellness while promoting organizational effectiveness.

The dangers and critical exposures associated with police work have long been presumed to be the most stressful aspects of a police officers’ job, despite them being lower in frequency than more routine stressors. However, while traumatic events associated with the work itself can lead to post-traumatic stress or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a considerable body of research has also demonstrated that officers’ perceptions of organizational stressors and/or “daily hassles” far outweigh operational stressors on the job, including trauma-related incidents.

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Dr. Karen L. Amendola, Chief Behavioral Scientist, Appointed by American Psychological Association (APA) to Serve on APA’s Presidential Task Force on Police Use of Force Against African Americans

October 30, 2020—The American Psychological Association (APA) has appointed Dr. Karen L. Amendola, Chief Behavioral Scientist at the National Police Foundation, to serve on the APA’s Presidential Task Force on Police Use of Force Against African Americans. The Task Force will assist the APA’s effort to inform a national movement toward greater racial justice through recommendations for implementing evidence-based practices to successfully eliminate racial disparities in police use-of-force. Furthermore, this work will aim to highlight the role of psychological research in improving community-police relations, as well as the importance of law enforcement partnerships with behavioral health experts.

The Task Force meetings will begin on November 1, 2020 and will end on January 31, 2021. The Task Force will meet three or four times for as much as four hours for each meeting.

The emphasis of the Task Force will be on implementation and ongoing evaluation of evidence-based practices by communities, their local jurisdictions, and the law enforcement agencies that serve them. According to Amendola, “the reduction of disparities in police use of force as well as the improved health and well-being people of color and their communities are not likely to be achieved by reactive or unsystematic efforts, but instead must be driven by scientifically-tested approaches, especially those  generated from the field of psychology whose aim is to examine human behavior, its origins and its social impacts.”

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National Police Foundation Releases Survey Results to Guide Law Enforcement Preparation for the 2020 Election

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2020/PRNewswire/ — With the 2020 election fast approaching, the National Police Foundation, in partnership with data analytics firm Elucd, conducted a new survey measuring U.S. public sentiment about the role of local police in safeguarding voters and their access to polling places. This research is part of the National Police Foundation’s ongoing efforts to provide guidance and support to law enforcement agencies as they prepare to provide policing services as polls open for in-person early and election day voting.

The survey was conducted from October 8-13, 2020, and was based on a nationally representative sample of 1,291 Americans aged 18 and older. The survey included questions about the upcoming election and sentiment about the police in relation to the voting process.

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Apply Now to Join Law Enforcement and Homelessness Community of Practice

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and the National Police Foundation (NPF) are hosting a three-session, virtual Community of Practice focused on how data can inform police-mental health collaboration (PMHC) strategies for addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness. The Community of Practice will be led by law enforcement data expert and former police chief, Dr. Frank Straub, and will also feature presentations from peer jurisdictions. Participants will have opportunities for mutual learning and dialogue and will collaborate with CSG Justice Center and NPF staff in the development of a data dashboard, which will allow PMHCs to collect and analyze data to guide and evaluate their efforts.

Upon completion, participants will also have several strategies they can use in their own communities to guide data collection and analysis efforts, with the ultimate goals of improving housing and mental health outcomes and reducing the number of people coming into contact with the justice system.

These three sessions are funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Dates: Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Time: 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET

Apply by Tuesday, October 20, 2020 if interested in participating.

If you have any questions, contact Charles Francis at cfrancis@csg.org.