Archives Erica Richardson

Militias and Police Normalization of Domestic Violent Extremists

By Chief (Ret.) Jim Bueermann

It is illegal in all 50 states to form unauthorized private militia groups.[1] However, 36 states allow the open carry of firearms at protests. As a result, groups carrying arms and wearing tactical gear at protests can generate the public impression that they are sanctioned by the government and even perhaps aligned with police agencies. That impression presents unique challenges to public and officer safety, all the more so as it becomes normalized

Background

The modern U.S. militia movement dates to the 1990s. For most of their history, these groups have been anti-government, labeling as tyranny, many legislative or judiciary actions. Despite these early leanings, most of the current “mainstream” paramilitary movements have cast themselves as sympathetic to former President Donald Trump and against what they claim to be “deep state” conspiracies. While the large majority of such groups are on the far right of the political spectrum, 2020 also saw activity from the extreme left, for example, in the Pacific Northwest.

During 2020, unauthorized armed groups protested health lockdowns, opposed racial justice protestors, conspired to abduct a state governor, and kill law enforcement officers, and, in an event indelibly imprinted on the country’s collective psyche as well as on policing and history, participated in the siege of the U.S. Capitol during which five people died.  Complicating the problem is the fact that that allegiances can and do change as groups splinter or attach to new grievances or leaders.

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2020 Annual Report Now Available!

February 26, 2021—The National Police Foundation (NPF) is pleased to release its 2020 Annual Report. The report highlights NPF’s work throughout 2020 in four key areas: Building trust and legitimacy between police and communities; leveraging scientific research to advance policing; developing innovative solutions to meet the needs of police and communities; and improving officer safety and wellness through data-driven training and technical assistance.

View the report here: https://www.policefoundation.org/publication/2020-annual-report/

Understanding Intergroup Communication as a Pathway for Improving Police Legitimacy

By Lt. Shawn L. Hill, Santa Barbara Police Department; Howard Giles,
Distinguished Research Professor of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara; Edward R. Maguire, Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Arizona State University

Internal and external communications are essential to the success of police organizations. In this article, we focus primarily on external communications, reflecting on how a body of theory and research from the study of communication can be used to improve relationships between police and communities.

Police scholars and practitioners have identified communication as a key to successful policing for decades. As Stanford law professor David Alan Sklansky (2011) has written, policing’s “primary technology is verbal.” Likewise, former police chief Darrel Stephens co-authored an entire “tool-kit for police executives” on strategic communication. Scholarship in the fields of social psychology, communication, and sociolinguistics teaches us how communication can reinforce social categorizations, sometimes resulting in stereotyping and bias that can damage police-community relations.

The ideal of community policing inspires police to build cohesive relationships with communities as a means of co-producing public safety. Implementing that ideal has often been difficult, due in part to communication challenges between police and communities. Furthermore, communities are not homogeneous; they consist of different groups that may have very different perspectives on the police. Communication mediates intergroup relationships and can play a powerful role in enhancing or diminishing them (Gallois & Giles, 1998). Thus, an important step in implementing genuine forms of community policing is understanding how communicative processes between groups work. Enter the field of intergroup communication.

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Applications Available for Police Reform and Racial Justice Grant Program — Due April 16

SOURCE: U.S. Conference of Mayors

February 17, 2021

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) is pleased to be working with Target on a new grant program for USCM member cities.  Information on it follows. We encourage you to apply.

POLICE REFORM AND RACIAL JUSTICE GRANT PROGRAM
A U.S. Conference of Mayors/Target Opportunity

THE PROGRAM — The U.S. Conference of Mayors has long been recognized for its commitment to both police reform and civil rights and for its leadership through the years in bringing mayors and police chiefs together in working partnerships to strengthen police-community relations and build trust between police departments and the communities they serve. Target has long been committed to creating and maintaining strong, healthy and safe communities, and advancing social justice and racial equity.

On January 21, in the opening session of the 2021 Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Laysha Ward, Executive Vice President & Chief External Engagement Officer for the Target Corporation, announced the creation of a two-year, $700,000 Police Reform and Racial Justice Grant Program, a national partnership between the Conference of Mayors and Target aimed at identifying, supporting and promoting police policies and practices in cities shown to be most effective in advancing the goal of justice for all residents.

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National Police Foundation releases new report with results from national survey on how small law enforcement agencies respond to calls involving persons in crisis

January 24, 2021—The National Police Foundation, with funding support from Arnold Ventures, recently published the results from a national survey that examined how small law enforcement agencies are preparing for incidents involving persons in crisis as a result of mental health or substance abuse issues.

Police frequently respond to calls involving persons with behavioral health needs, particularly those with mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders. These calls are often time-consuming and potentially dangerous for officers and the persons experiencing crisis. Large and medium-sized law enforcement agencies have increasingly adopted specialized police response models, such as Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) and Co-responder programs, that entail collaboration between law enforcement, mental health agencies, and medical facilities. However, little is known about the adoption of specialized responses by small agencies with fewer resources, less occasion to see persons in crisis, and fewer nearby mental health facilities.

Between February and October of 2020, NPF distributed a national survey to a random sample of 380 municipal police and sheriff’s offices with between 10 and 75 sworn officers. The survey aimed to explore the extent to which small law enforcement agencies have adopted specialized response models for dealing with calls involving persons in crisis, the amount of training provided in this area among small agencies, and what percentage of small agencies employ CIT-certified officers or are part of a regional CIT partnership.

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Apply Now to Join the Nationally Recognized Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites Program

January 22, 2021/via www.csgjusticecenter.org—In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), The Council of State Governments Justice Center is seeking applicants to expand the Law Enforcement–Mental Health Learning Sites Program. This program is designed to identify and highlight agencies from across the country with successful police-mental health collaborations (PMHCs) between leaders from law enforcement and behavioral health systems who are willing to serve as examples of effective PMHC response models.

Learning sites will be chosen, not just for their programmatic successes, but also for their ability to provide insight and guidance to other jurisdictions interested in starting or expanding a PMHC. While learning sites do not receive funding directly from BJA or the CSG Justice Center, they are reimbursed for approved costs associated with hosting site visits from other jurisdictions or travel to other jurisdictions to provide training and technical assistance. They also have access to no-cost, expert technical assistance provided by CSG Justice Center staff.

Following a competitive application process, selected jurisdictions will gain national recognition as members of the Law Enforcement–Mental Health Learning Sites Program and will work closely with the CSG Justice Center to provide peer-to-peer learning opportunities to programs nationwide. They may also be called on to collaborate with fellow learning sites and stay abreast of current research and best practices.

Learn more and apply here: https://csgjusticecenter.org/2020/12/01/apply-now-to-join-the-nationally-recognized-law-enforcement-mental-health-learning-sites-program/

*Apply no later than Friday, January 29, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. E.T.*

#lawenforcement #police #mentalhealth #collaboration

The Danger to Policing in Normalizing Extremism

By Chief (Ret.) Jim Bueermann

The sights and sounds of January 6, 2021, are etched into our minds for the remainder of our lives and will no doubt be studied and read about for decades to come. This was no ordinary Wednesday. It could be classified as one of the worst, if not the worst day yet, in American history.

As we contemplate what went wrong and reflect on the differential response and treatment, we should keep our minds open to the possibility that there isn’t one sole explanation or just one take away from the day’s events and how police responded. It is certainly fair to say that had the gathering been a Black Lives Matter protest, the police response may have been significantly different. I believe it would have been. But there may be many more points of failure, blame and cause for concern, including distractions, cultural influences, or even a profound failure of leadership within the federal agencies and offices involved.

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From Contradiction to Confusion: Reflections on the challenges facing policing and questions to help bring clarity

January 13, 2021—The year 2020 will be remembered as an incredibly difficult and challenging year for many for good reason. With the death of George Floyd and on the heels of other controversial deadly force incidents, we witnessed a spring and summer of unrest with a serendipitous outcome—people across all backgrounds came together to declare that Black lives matter. Furthermore, in a number of these events, we saw law enforcement officers and leaders marching in solidarity.

As unrest and deadly force incidents continued, including the June 2020 shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, calls for police reform and defunding emerged. Key demands included less force and violence, decreased militarization and enforcement, the elimination of racism, increased relationship building and trust, and a fair, and just unbiased response when and where needed. Local and state governments took steps to reduce police presence and restricted the types of force that were used, including the prohibition of certain tactics, such as tear gas and other less lethal tools. The failure to use such tools is legitimately being questioned today.

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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