Transparency that matters: Releasing the right information at the right time following an OIS incident

By Chief Gordon Ramsay
Wichita (KS) Police Department

Throughout my tenure as Chief of Police, in Duluth as well as Wichita, I’ve taken pride in my strong belief and commitment to working together with the community. In order for our relationship to be and remain effective, it is essential that we work closely together and that we do so on the basis of trust, respect, transparency and a shared commitment to safety.

This is a challenging time for policing – many of my colleagues around the country are facing dire challenges in recruiting officers as well as retaining officers within their departments. A 2017 national survey report by the Pew Research Center found that 8 out of 10 Americans (83%) say they understand the risks and challenges of police work. However, the report found that 86% of officers say that the public does not fully comprehend the challenges that officers face. The report noted that police officers are three times as likely as other workers to say they nearly always or often have serious concerns about their physical safety while on the job, compared to other employed Americans who are four times as likely as officers to say that they hardly ever or never seriously worry about their physical well-being at work. Read More & Share

Co-opting the Police: What can be done about “Profiling by Proxy?”

By Sergeant Jeremiah P. Johnson
Darien Police Department, CT

More than 50 years ago, James Q. Wilson noted that, “As the urban poor and the big-city police increasingly come into conflict, it is the patrolman who is on the grinding edge1.” Wilson’s imagery brings to bear an uncomfortable reality that is neither pleasant for police or the community. If police are on the grinding edge, the metaphor begs the question as to whom is pulling the lever.  Police and “the urban poor” (a euphemism for racial and ethnic minorities) are brought into contact through different avenues, not all of which are initiated by the police. It is imperative for police executives to recognize and mitigate the perils of 911-driven complaints that can entangle their officers in the biases of others. Read More & Share

Utilizing Data and Science to Reduce Serious Injury and Fatality Crashes on Rural Roadways

By Captain Ken Clary
Iowa State Patrol

This article was reprinted from Translational Criminology Magazine (Fall, 2018), with the permission of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy.

As commanders within state police and patrol organizations, we are charged with protecting the citizenry traveling on our roadways. Although some might view violations of traffic laws as lesser offenses, those infractions can often lead to death and/ or serious injury if not corrected. In 2016, a total of 37,461 people lost their lives on U.S. roadways,1 while, in comparison, 16,250 people were reported by the FBI’s Uniformed Crime Report as murdered that same year. Traffic crashes result in an enormous loss of life annually and are consistently a leading cause of nonhealth related deaths in the United States. Read More & Share

Enhanced Interviewing Techniques to Improve Memory Recall

By Lieutenant Jason Potts
Vallejo Police Department, CA

What Happened? Who did it? And, where are they now – simple enough, right? Typical questions that police officers and investigators want answered. But all too often, we attempt to rush and control an interview by asking close-ended questions. This drive for expediency can unintentionally reinforce the victim’s sense of inadequacy, frustrate and confuse them, give off the perception they are not believed, and even re-victimize. Research shows that stress and fear can cause memory alterations and limitations 4. However, cognitive interviewing techniques can mitigate these effects, thus providing a more thorough account of the traumatic event. Cognitive interviewing frames questions to obtain more accurate information and details while simultaneously increasing law enforcement legitimacy in the eyes of the victim. According to several studies, cognitive interviewing elicited between 25% and 40% more statements in the cognitive interviewing groups (intervention) than the traditional methods or business as usual groups (control)8, 4. Read More & Share

“Peace Officers” Are The Guardians of Our Society

By Chief David G. Dominguez (Ret.)
City of Palm Springs, CA

In 2016, our colleague, Executive Director, Sue Rahr of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission wrote on the Police Foundation blog about how law enforcement has become very good at fighting crime; yet, as a profession, we are struggling; I would agree, law enforcement in the United States is at a crossroads with continuous challenges. Since that time, Police Chiefs and law enforcement executives around the country have examined how training and development occurs so recruits and officers are steeped in community and cohesion—and understand they are guardians in addition to warriors. There will always be an element of warrior, it is the part of the profession. One just needs to look at the recent increase in line of duty deaths, the mass shootings and the dangerous life-threatening situations police officers face daily.

To many this Guardian and Warrior discussion poses the question: Guardians of what? I submit that police officers are guardians of the fabric of society, not just the people. Recently, I was introduced to a new organization which was formed to address this same issue. They are called “Police2Peace” and their mission is unique and straightforward—to include the designation “Peace Officer” on law enforcement vehicles. You might ask, why would a charitable initiative be formed to distribute this message? Read More & Share

Getting Ready for the NIBRS Transition

By Sheriff Anthony Wickersham (Macomb County, Michigan) and Chief Edwin Roessler (Fairfax County, Virginia)

On January 1, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will retire the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s Summary Reporting System (SRS). After then, the FBI will only collect crime statistics through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). We should understand why this is an important move and prepare for it.

As local law enforcement executives, we face the same challenges you do when it comes to federal systems and changes, but the switch from UCR SRS to NIBRS is one that is necessary. While some may see it as an added cost, we’ve found the change to be both manageable and effective. Our agencies have seen many benefits after switching to NIBRS, including the ability to better track and analyze drug-related crimes and better data on location types, among others outlined below. We recommend all law enforcement executives to continue reading for more information about this important transition and opportunity for our profession.

Why NIBRS matters

NIBRS is more comprehensive and detailed than SRS.  Although SRS has served our nation for many decades, NIBRS is a more modern system with a number of advantages: Read More & Share

Community Policing and Public Transportation

By Lieutenant Allen Schubert
Los Angeles Police Department

On July 1, 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) newly-formed Transit Services Bureau (TSB) and Transit Services Division (TSD) entered into a five-year contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) with the promise to provide safe and effective conveyance for all 1.5 million Angelenos who commute daily along the 95 miles of rail lines and 1,700 bus routes. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has made it very clear that there are no caveats when it states, “all Angelenos.” In the past, several entities have tried to fulfill this commitment, but fell just short of METRO’s expectations. The biggest problem: they were using traditional policing models to handle radio calls. Specifically, calls for service on the rails and buses were just added onto the heavy call load of an already-established division. Officers would respond by patrol vehicle from their normally-patrolled jurisdiction, handle the issue, and quickly dart back to their field duties. This resulted in poor response times and a disconnect between the rail/bus commuters and officers. In addition, officers never gained a fundamental working knowledge of the quality-of-life issues plaguing the transportation riders. Read More & Share

Technology and police operations

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

Policing technology has moved out of the backrooms of the administration building to the core of police operations.

Today police departments are using surveillance cameras, gunshot detection systems, automated license plate readers, facial recognition software, body cameras, drones, and numerous databases to prevent, respond and investigate crimes.

The near future holds even more possibilities, such as driverless patrol cars with heads-up screens, delivering information as the car patrols the streets. Augmented reality and artificial intelligence will eventually find its way into policing.  Smart police uniforms could monitor and report on officers’ stress levels and the surrounding environmental conditions and provide situational awareness to supervisors about their officers.

The question is not whether this technology exists, but rather, should police use it when it becomes available to them? And, if so, how should it be used? Read More & Share

The school shootings that don’t happen

By Chief Dean Esserman (Ret.)
Police Foundation Senior Counselor

Every single school shooting is a tragedy steeped in pain and loss. 

But for every school attack, there are many more that are prevented. Typically, attacks are averted because someone warned law enforcement or school officials. That can be a potential shooter’s family member, a friend, classmate, staff at school or just someone who saw enough of something to say something. 

We know this has happened because we have been tracking averted attacks for almost two years . We also believe there are many attacks that have been prevented that we don’t know about. Yet.  Read More & Share

The missing link in policing

By Chief Cameron S. McLay (ret.)

Leading from the front, the New York Police Department has begun exploring mechanisms to incorporate sentiment analysis — data about public perceptions —  as a component of its flagship performance management system.

They are on to something important. The NYPD knows that it matters how members of the public feel about police services.

Police are dependent upon the support and cooperation of the public to be effective, and communities are likewise dependent upon the police to help create safe communities.

If you ask most police officers, they will tell you their role is simply to respond to police calls for service, fight crime, and arrest violators of the law as the intake process for the criminal justice system. Read More & Share