NEWS of the Day - July 13, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - July 13, 2012
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...

We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...


From Google News

Professional Learning Communities: Why law enforcement needs them

Maybe there was a time when all you had to do as a cop was swing your nightstick and do as you were told, but those days are long gone

by Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

Police culture is made up of leaders and followers. It is — as the kids say — how we roll.

Top down management works or we wouldn't stick with it. We talk a good game of collaboration, but we believe in experts, we believe in bosses, we believe in butts-in-the-seat training and being talked at rather than conversed with.

Television psychologist Dr. Phil would ask, “How's that workin' for yah?”

Professional Learning Communities

Leadership and training patterns are not likely to change in my lifetime so I'm only going to suggest an addition. It's the concept of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), borrowed from the world of K-12 schools.

In the frenzy to comply with ridiculous federal rules, grant requirements, and a system of public education that seems to be in the toilet, the trendy concept may not be a bad idea. By trendy I mean less than 30 years old.

That's about how long it takes for law enforcement to adopt a concept from the rest of the world.

According to Southwest Educational Development Laboratory's website, PLCs in education are made up of teachers who collaborate with shared experiences with common problems.

The elements of PLCs are supportive and shared leadership, collective creativity, shared values and vision, supportive conditions, and shared personal practice.

What does that have to do with policing? Maybe a lot.

Teachers (like the one I'm married to) report to one boss but work largely independently and in their own microcosm of the classroom. Although given some guidelines and a few mandates, they use their own style and deal with their own problems.

Their work schedule has them engaged with the classroom, so talking to other teachers happens as they pass by each other in the hall, meet in the faculty lounge on breaks, or sit facing a speaker during mandatory meetings. So when do they get to really talk to each other and share problems and solutions?

Until PLCs came along, pretty much never.

Cops have a central reporting system, but they work largely independently and in their own microcosm of the patrol car, beat, and shift. Although given guidelines and mandates, they use their own style to deal with their own problems.

Their work schedule has them out on patrol, so talking to other cops happens as they show up for calls, meet over coffee on break, or sit facing a speaker during mandatory meetings. When do they get to really talk to each other and share problems and solutions?

Unless it's off duty over beer, pretty much never.

Sharing and Learning More Effectively

As someone with education in my life history, I know that the best learning is experiential, involves multiple senses, attaches to current relevant life experience and knowledge, and is gleaned in a social environment.

Educators finally took time to educate their own using these basic, proven principles. We should, too. Maybe there was a time when all you had to do as a cop was swing your nightstick and do as you were told, but those days are long gone.

We now have a pretty hefty body of knowledge to work with and qualified thinking professionals working the streets. Shouldn't we be sharing and learning more effectively from each other?

PLCs won't happen unless police leaders make it happen. They'll have to trust their officers and line supervisors to use meeting time away from patrol, and to learn how to guide productive, collaborative discussions. In return, they'll get more uniformity, greater camaraderie, better shared vision and purpose, and more professionalism.

For all the talk we do about community policing, having PLCs internally may be the best way to develop officer skills in working, sharing, listening, and learning in small groups where community policing begins.

I think it's time for PLCs in our PDs.

About the author

Joel Shults currently serves as Chief of Police for Adams State College in Alamosa, Co. Over his 30 year career in uniformed law enforcement and in criminal justice education Joel has served in a variety of roles: academy instructor, police chaplain, deputy coroner, investigator, community relations officer, college professor, and police chief, among others. Shults earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri, with a graduate degree in Public Services Administration and bachelors in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Missouri. In addition to service with the US Army military police and CID, Shults has done observational studies with over fifty police agencies across the country. He currently serves on a number of advisory and advocacy boards including the Colorado POST curriculum committee as a subject matter expert.



Louisianna Deputies, BR police team up

by Naomi Martin - Advocate staff writer

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux is assigning 25 deputies to supplement the work of five elite Baton Rouge police officers under a new plan targeting the city's worst crime hot-spots.

To enhance collaboration between the two agencies, Gautreaux said, he also is granting those five Baton Rouge police officers parishwide jurisdiction, making their work in certain high-crime areas such as Glen Oaks, Scotlandville, Gardere and Burbank more efficient.

“Listen, we don't know exactly where this is going to be three years from now, four years from now,” Gautreaux said. “But I can tell you, without us making all the efforts possible and without the community involvement, I can definitely tell you where we're going to be and it's not going to be a position any of us want to be in.”

Modeled on the nationally successful CeaseFire community policing program, the city-parish's new plan, called Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination, or BRAVE, aims to quell violence using a multi-faceted approach.

One key element involves the police fostering positive relationships with the law-abiding majority of the community, to embolden them to report criminal activity they know about in their neighborhoods despite the pervasive fear of retaliation from criminals and distrust of law enforcement.

Another key part of BRAVE is offering criminals opportunities for GED or community college classes, drug and alcohol abuse treatment, job placement, vocational technical training and other social services.

“That's really what we should be doing — not building more jails, but changing behavior,” Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White said. “Take people who have a problem and get them on the right track so they can have a productive, meaningful life.”

Noting some dire statistics for his Parish Prison inmates — on average, they have a seventh-grade education and either drug or alcohol dependency — Gautreaux said the BRAVE program needs more-sophisticated statistical analysis than law enforcement can provide.

Even though both the Sheriff's Office and the Police Department create maps to analyze where the most shootings and other crimes are occurring, the BRAVE program needs comprehensive data analysis that also takes into account economic and social conditions in the neighborhoods, Gautreaux said.

Authorities will find out in September or October whether BRAVE has won a $1.5 million grant to fund extensive research and statistical analysis by LSU, said District Attorney Hillar Moore III.

As a starting point, analysts from the law enforcement agencies this summer will undertake a thorough analysis of the past year's fatal and non-fatal shootings, Moore said.

If the grant is awarded, LSU associate vice chancellor Matthew Lee said, his research team would use “spacially-based analysis” to help predict where crime may be shifting, to determine what interventions are working, and to examine cliques of youngsters who tend to influence each other into violence.

“One of the most important elements of this program is the social network analysis component where we can identify groups of offenders that are linked together through social networks, and determine, based on mathematical modeling, what might be the best way to disrupt that criminal group,” Lee said.

Both White and Gautreaux emphasized that whether or not the grant money comes through, they will sustain community policing.

The sheriff's 25 deputies will be working in all crime hot-spots, Gautreaux said, as well as supplementing the five BRAVE police officers who are focusing solely on the north Baton Rouge 70805 ZIP code — an area generally bounded by Airline Highway to the north and the east, the Mississippi River to the west and Choctaw Drive to the south.

Gautreaux said the 25 deputies he is assigning to help with BRAVE are from: the Special Community Anti-Crime Team, led by Capt. Rodney Walker; the Community Policing Unit, led by Lt. Todd Parker; the K-9 Unit, led by Capt. James Broussard; the Crime Analysis Unit, led by Lt. Denise Boudreaux; and the Emergency Service Unit, led by Capt. Todd Martin.