Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio,
for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
The top 10 reasons to start a police homeless outreach team and how
by Nancy Perry
Homelessness is expensive. Each chronically homeless person on the streets of your community consumes up to $30,000 annually in public resources (such as jail stays and emergency room visits).
With an effective homeless outreach team, your law enforcement agency can offer strategies, solutions and savings by:
Decreasing police calls for service;
Decreasing homeless arrests and incarceration rates;
Saving tax dollars while reducing demands for public services;
Enhancing community relationships;
Avoiding expensive and unnecessary litigation;
Making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring.
During his session at the 125th International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference, Tampa Police Department Homeless Liaison Officer Daniel McDonald, MPA, outlined the top 10 reasons why your police agency should start a homeless outreach team and how to do it.
10. YOU CAN NO LONGER STAY IN YOUR LANE
The current approach to solving homelessness in your community is probably not working. While many communities try to ignore the problem, there is still pressure to do something, but why is homelessness considered a police problem?
“We have a unique ability to engage with the homeless and solve the problem,” said McDonald, who founded Tampa PD's Homeless Initiative and Crisis Intervention Team.
9. THE PYRAMID OF SOCIAL INERTIA
McDonald described the pyramid of social inertia, where the majority of communities – the largest segment at the bottom of the pyramid – want to maintain the status quo and let others deal with the problem of homelessness. There is a smaller segment in the middle of the pyramid who try to offer solutions, like a charity handing out food or sleeping bags to the homeless, but that doesn't solve the problem. The small top tier of the pyramid is where solutions are found and law enforcement can play a role in implementing those measures.
8. MAKE EXITING HOMELESSNESS QUICKER, EASIER AND CHEAPER
Homelessness is a complex problem, which is part of the challenge. Expecting a person who is living on the streets to navigate their way through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's assessment system is setting them up for failure, notes McDonald. The process of taking someone from the street to an emergency shelter and then to transitional housing followed by permanent housing can take 2-3 years. Requirements during these phases seem somewhat unreasonable, such as expecting a person to have a copy of their resume. Emergency shelters can play a role, but the barriers for entry need to be low, said McDonald.
7. YOU CAN DRASTICALLY REDUCE THE HIGH COST OF HOMELESSNESS
There is a significant return on investment with homeless programs, notes McDonald, who says the average yearly cost of a homeless person hovers around $30,000, which is reduced to $12,000 a year if you can get that person into permanent housing.
Once an individual is in personal housing, costs plummet with savings on ED visits, detox services and jail bookings.
6. THE HOMELESS OUTREACH TEAM (HOT) IS A PROVEN MODEL
The HOT model is well established nationwide notes McDonald, citing successful programs in place at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Sarasota Police Department, Broward County Sheriff's Office, San Diego Police Department and Houston Police Department.
“The police are called regardless, so let's help navigate folks through a rigid, complex system,” said McDonald.
Just like electrical linemen can fix a power failure anywhere in the country after a storm, why not take the same standardized approach to solving homelessness? Agencies should be developing regional partnerships and starting task forces, McDonald advised, and never just displacing the problem to a neighboring jurisdiction.
5. YOU CAN LEVERAGE COMMUNITY COLLABORATIONS
If your agency has a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), you are halfway there, said McDonald, as you already have established relationships with community partners. Substance abuse and mental health providers often offer housing for the chronically homeless.
4. IT'S A POLICE PROBLEM WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT
It costs $125 a day to detain a homeless person in jail, notes McDonald, which is the current solution in most jurisdictions nationwide. We need to solve homelessness with housing, not just displace the homeless to jail.
3. TO REDUCE LITIGATION (HOW NOT TO GET SUED)
McDonald cited several cases where courts ruled that cities can't prosecute people for sleeping on the streets if they have nowhere else to go – in essence, you cannot criminalize homeless.
With panhandling a litigation lightning rod, developing a homeless outreach team using a housing-first strategy will reduce municipality's risk of litigation.
2. JUMP START YOUR COMMUNITY-ORIENTED POLICING PROGRAM
Homeless outreach teams are scalable, said McDonald, so start small and think big. If you can spare one officer, you can start an initiative. Even a small program can significantly influence your community's perception of the police and receive positive media coverage.
1. YOU ARE COMMITTED TO REAL SOLUTIONS
Most of us became cops to help people, said McDonald: “HOT offers hope and gets help to people right on the street level.”
Ending homelessness is both good public policy and an effective use of public resources.
HOW YOUR POLICE DEPARTMENT CAN START A HOMELESS OUTREACH PROGRAM
If possible, dedicate one officer or more to homeless outreach, said McDonald. Don't have those officers make arrests, as you need to develop trust with the homeless community.
The process of ending homelessness is time consuming and can require 15-20 contacts or more to overcome service resistance. McDonald suggests officers wear a uniform rather than plain-clothes so that they are easily identified. Word quickly spreads through the homeless community, so it won't take long to make the transition from being a symbol of enforcement to one of outreach.
Homeless outreach officers should possess a unique combination of skills and attributes:
These officers should apply a trauma-informed approach to their contacts with homeless individuals and use motivational interviewing and assertive engagement.
Homeless outreach teams can include professionals from other disciplines such as:
Mental health workers
Street medicine providers
Other best practices that are helping to solve problems associated with homelessness include:
Homeless courts for handling minor offenses where courts emphasize the treatment and rehabilitation of homeless offenders;
Free ID programs;
Outreach programs for the collection and distribution of citizen donations.
McDonald ended his presentation with a reminder that homeless outreach teams should use effective policing models to accomplish their goals.
“We should use elements of community-oriented policing, problem-oriented policing and intelligence-led policing when combating homelessness,” he said. “We should use data to see homeless hotspots just as we would crime hotspots so we develop the appropriate response.”
How community initiatives disrupt gang violence
by Patrick Welsh
Over the last 25 years, research shows that the best – and most sustainable – approach to reducing gang homicides is a three-pronged initiative involving law enforcement, social services and the community.
Such an initiative is commonly referred to as a Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, or CIRV. CIRV started in Boston in 1996 and has been replicated throughout the country in agencies of all sizes and cities of various demographics.
In Dayton, Trotwood and Montgomery County, CIRV has been used to reduce gang-related gun violence and homicides. The local initiative was dubbed Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence (CIRGV). It provides life-changing support to individuals who desire positive transformation in their lives, and engages the moral voice of the community to promote a neighborhood standard that openly values life and safety while denouncing gun violence. Law enforcement supports the initiative through enhanced multi-jurisdictional policing efforts.
Through coordination between law enforcement, the community and social services teams, CIRGV disrupts the cycle of violence by:
Clearly informing the public and those involved in high-risk lifestyles of the consequences of gun violence and its impact on the community.
Empowering the community to be a moral voice that speaks out against gun violence.
Engaging gun violence survivors and their families in educating the public on the impact of gun violence.
Providing life-changing supportive services to those who want to get out of the cycle of violence.
Improving communication and coordination among multi-jurisdictional law enforcement agencies.
Initially, the response of many cops to a CIRV initiative is: “That's a bunch of liberal, ivory-tower crap. I'm not going to hug a thug. I'm going to do real police work and lock them up.” I had that same initial reaction in 2008 when I was placed in charge of setting up the CIRV initiative to reduce the number of homicides attributed to gangs in Dayton, Ohio. I'll admit that my doubt was misguided. Looking back, the program worked extremely well for our department and I'm proud to say the initiative is still going strong today.
COLLECTING DATA ON GANG HOMICIDES
The CIRGV initiative focused specifically on group member involved (GMI) – or gang – homicides. Representatives of Dayton PD, Trotwood PD and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) began by utilizing the Problem Analysis Triangle model of POP (Offender/Place/Target or Victim) to conduct an in-depth problem analysis.
All firearm-related violent crime data in the city of Dayton was compiled for the complete years of 2000 through May 31, 2008. This included crimes, victims and incidents. This data was broken down and tracked by month and year, and a comparison graph was generated to reflect trends for firearm-related violent crimes. The results were as follows:
759 non-fatal firearm injuries
59 forcible rapes
2,487 armed robberies
1,386 aggravated assaults
Looking at January 1, 2005, through January 1, 2008, we reviewed every homicide from Dayton, Trotwood and Montgomery counties with the purpose of identifying some of the following key characteristics:
Victim known to review team
Offender known to review team
Incident known to review team
Victim involved with street group
Offender involved with street group
Incident connected with previous homicide/violence
Incident connected with subsequent homicide/violence
Running dispute between groups/individual(s)
From this review the following data was revealed:
Total homicides – 91
35 were GMI homicides (38.5 percent)
Causes of these homicides were:
Drug related – 14
Respect issue – 11
Running dispute – 5
Robbery – 5
Sudden dispute – 4
(Note: Total exceeds 35 because some homicides had multiple underlying reasons.)
GATHERING INTELLIGENCE ON GANG MEMBERS
Once we had collected the above data, an eight-hour intelligence gathering session was held. The following agencies were represented: Dayton PD (all five districts and Special Investigations Division); Trotwood (Patrol and Detectives); MCSO (Patrol and Detectives); FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); DEA; Metro Parks; Adult Probation; and Adult Parole.
The purpose of this session was to identify:
Known groups and their members
Type of group (adult, juveniles, both)
Level of violence (low, medium, high)
Territorial boundaries of group
Illegal activities of group
Alliances between groups
Feuds between groups
Any additional info
This session resulted in the following:
9 identified groups
541 identified members by name
57 members on probation or parole
Follow-up intel sessions were held annually and the identified group members/affiliates grew to over 900 individuals in 50+ identified groups, with several hundreds of those individuals being on probation or parole. The identified groups and members were geographically located in 2nd, 3rd and 5th Districts in the City of Dayton, Crown Point and various neighborhoods within Trotwood and Harrison Township.
We found that 38 percent of the total number of homicides in the three-agency region were committed by 0.03 percent of the population in the same region. The offenders were identified as members of various gangs who had a measurable amount of documented violent behavior in specific areas of the region. Furthermore, 79 percent of all homicides were committed by firearm.
To reduce the number of GMI homicides and residually reduce the overall number of homicides, CIRGV was initiated between Dayton, Trotwood and MCSO using the data recorded/collated. The local initiative was based on CIGV best practices involving law enforcement, the community, and social services strategies.
LAUNCHING THE CIRGV STRATEGY
Initially, the judges of the Montgomery County Courts were briefed on the CIRGV initiative, including our methodology of identifying gang members and related homicides over the previous three years. We needed their buy-in in order to conduct call-in sessions with known gang members who were on probation or parole.
“Call-in sessions” was the term we utilized to order gang members into a courtroom and be addressed by the court, law enforcement and social services.
With the judges' approval, group members identified as being on probation or parole were ordered into the first call-in session, in a Common Pleas courtroom, as a condition of their supervised parole or probation. Each member was personally served with an order by their probation officer (PO) and failure to appear as ordered would result in an arrest warrant being issued. Additionally, the PO would initiate the proper paperwork to revocate the member's probation/parole.
DURING THE CALL-IN SESSION
Members of law enforcement, including representatives of Dayton PD, Trotwood PD, MCSO, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, delivered a message to the group members gathered at the call-in session. In the three-hour session, it was explained that the groups and their members must put down their guns and stop the killing or face intense law enforcement response from the combined agencies.
We made it clear that anytime there was a GMI homicide, the group responsible for pulling the trigger would be targeted for any and all legal enforcement action; all members of the group would be targeted regardless of their involvement in the underlying homicide. We also emphasized to the group members that any violence linked to their group would result in law enforcement requesting revocation of their parole/probation status.
The gang members were told that law enforcement's first course of action when a gang-related homicide occurred would be to place all new cases into the federal system, not state court. Next, members of social services agencies offered assistance to the group members to help them exit the violent group environment by navigating them through social services programs (commonly referred to as an “honorable exit”). These social services agencies also reinforced the message that failure to get out of the group may result in being targeted by law enforcement.
Finally, a member of the community whose family member was the victim of a GMI homicide delivered a message as the “moral voice” of the community. The speaker shared the pain of losing a loved one, the impact on family members, the community's condemnation of the violence, and their support of law enforcement in stopping the killing through group targeted enforcement strategies.
NEXT STEPS IN THE CIRGV STRATEGY
The combined law enforcement agencies met to develop and execute enforcement strategies targeting groups responsible for future homicides. This did not involve any new enforcement units being created, manpower reallocation, or funding. Instead, within existing patrol and narcotics enforcement units, we developed strategies to go after gang members whose group was responsible for a homicide.
From quality of life violations (e.g., loud music, disorderly conduct and other misdemeanor offenses), to felony drug investigations, to POs increasing random urine analysis testing, every identified gang member on probation and parole was fair game for any and all legal means of getting them off the street and locked up in order to interrupt the cycle of gang violence.
Responsibility after a GMI homicide was determined through intelligence gathering, informants, evidence gained through investigations, and Crime Stoppers tips. Regardless of whether there was probable cause to make an arrest for the underlying homicide, the decision to launch enforcement efforts lay with the commander of the Special Investigations Division of the Dayton Police Department. If such a determination was made, the CIRGV enforcement efforts were launched against the entire group.
This same message was made abundantly clear to the gang members who attended the call-in session.
Additionally, the CIRGV law enforcement team kept track of GMI homicide rates and of group members opting for “honorable exit” opportunities. Within months of the next GMI homicide after the first call-in session, we had gang members who had attended the session reporting to us who was responsible – they did not want the police to think it was their group and suffer the enforcement actions they knew would be coming.
Finally, groundwork was laid to institutionalize the initiative's practices as the way of doing business in response to all future GMI homicides in Dayton and the surrounding communities. A formal Community Police Relations Council was formed and a full-time coordinator hired to administer the various services of CIRGV.
OUTCOMES OF THE CIRGV INITIATIVE
From the launch of the first call-in in March 2008 through to the end of 2010, CIRGV recognized a 64 percent reduction in GMI homicides.
Not only has CIRGV significantly reduced gang-related homicides; in addition, the 2017 Community Survey by the City of Dayton indicated that community police relations improved to a 57 percent citizen satisfaction rating. Also, the survey revealed a significant increase in the perceived safety of neighborhood residents who were once plagued by gang-related homicides. While there is still more to be done, the reduction in gun violence and gang homicides over the 10-year period speaks for itself.
The honorable exit strategies also proved successful. Social services agencies reported a marked increase in gang members voluntarily coming forward to seek help to get out of the gang life. Support services included anger management counseling, drug rehabilitation, getting a GED, or simply getting a driver's license and employment counseling. By offering quality services, the community was able to overcome all the excuses as to why someone would stay in a gang or join in the first place.
The bottom line is that the police and community came together with a unified message and supported one another. Building relationships between the police, social services, faith-based organizations and community members, without sacrificing the law enforcement mission of the police, proved to be the right thing at the right time. The initiative was implemented in the right way for the right reasons – with the right results.
And the “hug a thug” mentality? The only hug I ever got was from a gang member who hugged and thanked me for saving his life by providing the help he needed to get out, and stay out, of the gang life.
Living with the Sacrifice
by Barbara A. Schwartz
Long after the national attention fades and the news media packs up and leaves, trauma from a school shooting lives on for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and first responders. What role should officers and agencies play in the aftermath of a school shooting? How can officers best help the community heal?
ENSURE THE COMMUNITY AND STUDENTS FEEL SAFE
After a school shooting, police across America receive an influx of calls concerning questionable social media postings and reports of students who meet the profiles of the latest shooter. The community's guard is up. Calls for service increase for disturbances and suspicious activity. Be ready for those calls. Staff accordingly.
Proactive policing and increased patrols through affected neighborhoods need to be the standard. Traumatized citizens desire to see an active police presence, which can be healing and comforting. Officers should stop to talk to the people on their beats. Fostering police/citizen trust is paramount. Citizens tend to come forward with tips when they personally know the officer working their neighborhoods.
Nearby agencies must continue to offer mutual aid to ensure that municipal and school district officers have time off to decompress and rest.
ATTEND TO OFFICERS' EMOTIONAL HEALING
Law enforcement administrators must diligently monitor for signs of emotional burnout as officers provide security for funerals, victim's families, and the return of students and teachers to school.
School and law enforcement administrators must foster environments where raw feelings can be expressed without judgment or repercussions.
Officers should be encouraged to talk to trained peer supporters. If an agency does not maintain a critical incident stress management team, request one respond from another agency.
Agencies have a responsibility to educate officers on how to heal their emotional wounds in the wake of a traumatic community event. Tips for officers following a school shooting can be found here.
SURVIVORS AND OFFICERS ARE WITNESSES
Officers must offer guidance and support to help survivors/witnesses through the investigation and the criminal justice system.
Requiring survivors – students, teachers, police officers and other first responders – to retell and relive their story over and over should be minimized.
Avoid re-traumatizing survivors/officers and provide grief and emotional support during court proceedings.
PREPARE FOR LONG-TERM EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Law enforcement agencies should team with community resources and school district counselors to prepare for long-term emotional and psychological support for residents, students, teachers, parents and officers.
Emotional trauma from a violent act can leave survivors with shattered assumptions. In our society, a sacred trust exists that others won't hurt us. When that assumption is shattered, the ability to trust gets shattered as well. Students may look at other students and wonder if one of them will show up at school with a weapon and kill them. Officers must be sensitive to this fear and to their own reactions as they have been reminded that anyone can be a threat – even a child.
Law enforcement and school district administrators must enact programs that reach out to students, teachers and first responders to prevent them from feeling isolated or alone.
Trauma can show up months and years later. Plans need to be in place to support students, teachers and school district officers when they return in the fall for the next school year. Programs to address traumatic reactions need to be ongoing and preventative.
RIDING THE GRIEF ROLLER COASTER
Everyone grieves differently. Grief comes in waves. One day a person can have it all together and the next break down as if the loss happened in that very moment.
We grieve for more than the fallen. We grieve the innocence that was taken from us; the loss of a sense of security in a place where students and teachers are supposed to feel safe. We grieve for the loss of fundamental assumptions about life, society, and a safe, just world.
Officers struggle with grief and emotions because their job requires them to be devoid of feeling. Witnessing death and tragedy over the course of a career desensitizes officers to turn off the grief emotion.
In the case of a mass school shooting, when officers have been exposed to a gruesome crime scene involving children, the power of grief can and will win out.
Viktor E. Frankl, a holocaust survivor and the author of “Man's Search for Meaning,” said: “But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man has the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
Officers and their community must unite in their suffering to heal each other and to acknowledge each other's pain.
The hard part is finding meaning in the suffering, pain and grief.
Law enforcement officers should help the community organize ongoing events to memorialize those who lost their lives, to recognize those injured, and acknowledge the ongoing pain of the survivors.
Joanne Cacciatore wrote a healing book, “Bearing the Unbearable,” about her grief journey after losing her daughter, Cheyenne. She created the MISS Foundation, which provides support services for bereaved families and the Kindness Project, which advocates for survivors to perform a random act of kindness, then hand out a card bearing the name of the deceased that states the act of kindness was performed as a remembrance.
The Kindness Project helps survivors find meaning in their loss and grief.
Officers should consider spearheading a Kindness Project in their communities.
In addition to Cacciatore's book, the following resources can provide healing and comfort:
“How to Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies” by Terese A. Rando, PhD
“The Courage To Grieve” by Judy Tatelbaum
“Trauma and Recovery” by Judith Herman, MD
“Shattered Assumptions” by Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
How one American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality
by BEN AUSTIN
On a spring morning last year, in the Keith Creek neighborhood of Rockford, Illinois, Eric Thurmond stopped his patrol car on a street shrouded by trees and veined with cracks. The homes on the block were modest and weathered, many of them low-end rentals that had been chopped up into multiple units. The surrounding streets were cratered with foreclosures and vacant properties. Thurmond, a rookie on the Rockford police force, had been shown the statistics documenting the neighborhood's decline—burglaries, shootings, home invasions. It was not a desirable place to live. But he would be moving there in less than two weeks. He was part of Rockford's newest experiment in policing—a program designed to help cops put down roots in high-crime sections of the city. The police department had procured a house for him. He would be living there rent-free for a minimum of three years, with his only mission to serve the community—to be a good neighbor.
Thurmond got out of his cruiser to inspect his new home, a brick and wood-paneled bungalow with peeling paint above the brim of a beveled awning. As he stood on the front steps, he noticed a neighbor peeking at him from behind makeshift curtains. The neighbor—a scruffy-bearded white man in jeans and a T-shirt—came outside to meet him. He looked concerned. Thurmond is 25 years old, built squat and burly like a washing machine, with a laid-back manner and a round, cherubic face. Realizing how the arrival of a uniformed officer must look, he assured the man that there was nothing to worry about. No crime had been committed. He wasn't responding to a call for service, just checking out the house prior to his move. He described the police residency program, extending a hand as he introduced himself.
“You going to have cameras up?” the man asked, his eyes scanning the front of Thurmond's bungalow.
“Yeah, if anything happens in the neighborhood, I'm going to be able to see what's going on.” To Thurmond, it sounded assuring. The man nodded and turned away.
A few days later, when Thurmond returned to measure the inside of the bungalow for furniture, his neighbor was gone. The rental was trashed, the family leaving behind chairs and garbage bags stuffed with clothes. Other people on the block told Thurmond that the guy had been selling drugs. Cars used to pull up at the house at all hours of the night, they said, and after an exchange, they sped off. The landlord knew about the drug deals, but he said he'd been unable to carry out an eviction. One woman mentioned her repeated calls to 911, saying the police had done nothing. When Thurmond related all of this to his superiors, they were thrilled. He hadn't even moved in his belongings and he had already made the neighborhood safer.
Living in a high-crime area has changed the way Eric Thurmond understands policing. Knowing and helping his neighbors, as much as making arrests, is how he now “solves” crime.
Rockford is a Rust Belt city that straddles the Rock River 90 miles northwest of Chicago. Until the mid–twentieth century, it was among the nation's manufacturing contenders, a builder of tools and fasteners, the self-proclaimed “Screw Capital of the World.” In 1949, an article in Life magazine portrayed Rockford as the embodiment of the country's promise of upward mobility for all. But today, with the bulk of its factory jobs gone, the city of 150,000 is better known for ignominy. Rockford has the highest percentage of underwater mortgages of any city in the nation: Nearly a third of its homes are worth less than the money owed on them. Rates of violent crime are higher than in Chicago. Homicides are up. A quarter of the population lives in poverty.
Rockford is now typical of many small and midsize cities across America that are suffering from what we tend to think of as big-city problems—guns, drugs, and gangs. A sense of purposelessness and despair has settled in the areas outside the economic activity of downtown and the prosperity of the outer-ring suburbs. Although businesses and new development have sprawled toward Interstate 90 on the eastern edge of the city, the black neighborhoods west of the river, in particular, have been ground down by disinvestment, crime, and, many residents contend, over-policing.
Only a very small percentage of Rockford police officers reside within city limits, and there are fewer than 60 officers of color on the force of 300, in a city that is little more than half white. That discrepancy—between those policing and being policed—is a common one. While departments have slowly diversified, three-fourths of the nation's police remain white. Many departments across the country have scrapped residency restrictions to retain officers and attract new recruits. Yet even in cities that still require police to live in the municipalities where they work, officers usually settle in neighborhoods among themselves. At the same time, decades of tough-on-crime policies have rewarded the warrior cop who racks up stops and arrests.
Too many officers have come to know the communities they patrol primarily for their dangers, seeing everyone who lives there as a potential threat. And too many residents now view the police as an invading force, defined by their worst instances of abuse and impunity. Trust in law enforcement has hit historic lows in recent years, causing clearance rates for major crimes to stagnate. The high-profile killings of unarmed black people by the police over the past several years have demonstrated how dire the divide between cops and citizens really is—and how urgently it needs to be repaired.
Many residents view the police as an invading force, defined by their worst instances of abuse and impunity. Trust in law enforcement has hit historic lows.
In this climate of mistrust, Rockford was betting that its version of extreme community policing would be a model for how to undo entrenched practices and antagonisms. Thurmond and his partner, who would be known as resident officer community keepers, or ROCK cops, would be tasked not with arresting criminals but with treating the underlying conditions that breed crime. Unlike regular beat officers, they would have no fixed schedule or responsibilities.
Available 24 hours a day, with their cell phone numbers widely distributed, they would go where the community needed them. The hope was that this small pilot program would not only shape the mind-set of individual officers but also grow to transform the culture of the department as a whole, in the process helping to reconstitute the fundamental way civilians and police interact with one another. If the job of policing could be redefined in this way, then maybe the city would be made safer.
Along with the community outreach efforts that are part of the ROCK program, Officer Patrice Turner also goes on ordinary patrols. Here, she helps resolve a dispute that occurred inside a beauty parlor.
Last year, when Rockford announced the program, Thurmond was one of only two officers to sign up, both of them African American. Thurmond lived on Chicago's West Side until he was nine, and kids used to tease him for declaring that he would grow up to become a soldier/fireman/cop, an imagined trifecta of uniformed public service. His mother, who'd served in the Navy, moved the two of them to the western suburb of Bolingbrook. In high school, Thurmond readied himself, joining the military drill team and the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. He abstained from drugs, knowing, he said, that one day he'd be peeing in a cup for the police exam. At Western Illinois University, he paid his way by signing up for the National Guard. He tattooed the archangel Michael, the patron saint of police officers, on his left biceps, and he joined the Rockford Police Department in 2016, one year after graduating.
When he announced the news, Thurmond estimates that 50 of his friends and family members dropped him on Facebook. “Fuck the police,” he read in their posts. Their cynicism amid reports of police violence and eruptions of protest didn't surprise him. But Thurmond held to a conviction, at times even quixotically, that he could show the haters that the police were no different from those they served. He didn't begin the job seeing himself as a reformer. He'd actually chosen Rockford in part because it was, as police say, “busy” with robberies, opioids, prostitution, and theft. Making a difference, he believed, meant getting guns and drugs off the streets. But the residency program appealed to his desire to reach out to those who feared or despised the police, as well as to his own evolving sense of doing good. “As a cop, you don't have to talk to people tough and mean-mugging,” he said. “You can talk to them as you would a friend.”
The other officer who volunteered for the program was Patrice Turner, a 41-year-old veteran of the force. Short and unassuming, with a wide, toothy smile, Turner manages effortlessly to be both calming and commanding at the same time. She'd been stationed inside Rockford public schools for several years. “Positive contacts with students,” she said. “Not buddy, homey, friend. I don't play games. But if you want to talk, if you're hungry, if you need something, I'm there.” She grew up in Rockford public housing, and although she moonlighted several nights a week doing security for a bank—to help pay for what she called her “one vice” of overseas vacations—she was die-hard in her commitment to the city.
So last July, she and her teenage daughter moved into a little house on the west side of the river, in a neighborhood with rows of ranch houses and neat patches of yards. Her car was broken into, other cars in the area were vandalized, and crowds sometimes parked in the middle of the streets talking, smoking, playing music. Turner didn't pretend to know why crime in Rockford went up or down. She saw lots of heroin and knew that guns were easy to acquire. But she felt that the ROCK program matched the way that she had always thought about the job. “People are going to eat no matter what,” she told me. “They are going to rob or steal if they need to meet their basic needs. We can arrest them after the crime or help them beforehand.”
Dan O'Shea, Rockford's police chief, said that the traditional way officers understood policing wasn't going to move the needle on high rates of violent crime. “We have to change the old-school, cuff-and-stuff mentality of policing,” he told me. “It doesn't work.” He wanted his officers to immerse themselves in the city's neighborhoods; they needed to know residents personally, understanding that just a tiny percentage of the population were serious offenders. The police had to convince the public that they were legitimate and sincere. Only by joining with the community could his officers solve crimes and address their root causes. “Instead of 300 cops, I need 147,000 people working on this,” he said.
Thurmond and Turner began by walking their new neighborhoods, introducing themselves door to door, explaining their presence in the community. They were goodwill ambassadors, frontline resource providers, and they were there to learn what the city's neighborhoods required. They attended church services and community meetings. They rode their police bicycles, visiting local businesses and classrooms. “Why do you guys shoot everybody?” a little girl asked Thurmond. A high schooler met Turner with his arms lifted above his head, the “Hands Up, Don't Shoot” pose of protest adopted after Michael Brown was killed by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri. “I'm just sayin',” he told her.
The two of them weren't required to respond to calls coming over dispatch, but they did when they weren't otherwise engaged. During the days, they cruised the residential streets and alleyways in their districts. At the shopping complex near Turner's new home, a couple of the storefronts were vacant—there was an empty Payless, an abandoned Curves, and a dry cleaner with ghost lettering above its entrance. I followed her as she checked in with a guard at a bank that had recently been robbed and chatted with a hardware store manager. The anchor store was a Schnucks supermarket, and Turner drove a few minutes away to a boxy, one-story house to speak with an elderly woman who'd been banned from the store for putting cheaper price tags on groceries. Turner told the woman about the food pantries in the area and made her promise to see a doctor after she complained of vomiting and fainting.
On another day, I was with Thurmond when he stopped to talk to one of his neighbors, a young African American woman who had moved to Rockford from Kentucky not long ago. She was working three jobs, she said, and she asked for Thurmond's help dealing with whoever was dumping old electronics behind her garage. “They wouldn't do that if they knew my heart,” she told him. He pulled up alongside a school where fourth graders were out on recess, and one of the boys on the wood-chip playground shouted, “We didn't do anything bad.”
“I know,” Thurmond said. “I'm just sayin' whatsup.” By the swings, he matched dance moves with a couple of the pigtailed girls.
Rockford has a rising murder rate and higher rates of violent crime than Chicago. Recent deadly encounters with police have only hindered efforts to make the city safer.
Many officers in Rockford seemed to distinguish between what Thurmond and Turner did and what “real police” work entailed. “It's a cushy job; he kisses babies for us,” a veteran cop ribbed Thurmond in front of me. I heard a training officer bark at him as greeting, “You watch Sally Jessy Raphael yet today?” I never saw Thurmond lose his cheerful buoyancy. “Not yet,” he said.
But what Turner and Thurmond were doing was arguably the brunt of police work. Nationally, only an estimated 25 percent of 911 calls have anything to do with crime, and just 5 percent of arrests are for violent offenses. In Rockford, a third of the calls were the result of a domestic dispute, and engaging people properly could be the difference in whether a situation ended violently. The police are the boots-on-the-ground government workers who first encounter the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the homeless, and the unemployed. As cities try to reduce the steep social and economic costs of mass incarceration, police departments are increasingly prioritizing communication skills, patience, and a better understanding of the support services that offer an alternative to lockup.
Research has supported this social-minded approach. In his new book, Uneasy Peace, Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University, documents how the dramatic drop in crime starting in the 1990s, which took place nationwide, corresponded with an increase in the number of nonprofits serving high-crime areas. That drop had previously been attributed, by politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, and many others, to aggressive policing tactics that emerged from the “broken windows” theory of law enforcement. “Broken windows”—the idea that small infractions left unchecked lead to a collapse in social order—was first introduced by criminologists George Kelling and James Wilson in The Atlantic in 1982.
“If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken,” Kelling and Wilson wrote. “One unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares.” In the 1990s, the widespread adoption of “broken windows” policing resulted in the criminalization of panhandlers, loitering teens, and pot smokers; it contributed to the War on Drugs, the 1994 Clinton crime bill, the Los Angeles Police Department's rampaging CRASH unit, the horrors of “Giuliani time” in New York, and a police department in Chicago that demonstrated “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color,” according to an independent review in 2016.
But there is another way to interpret Kelling and Wilson's findings. If a window is broken, police can arrest the person who broke it, but they can also help repair it. Sharkey believed that what makes areas safer is police who partner with the kind of nonprofits that do the “broken windows” work of maintaining social order—cleaning up trash, creating youth programs, helping people find jobs. Many departments are slowly beginning to understand “broken windows” in this way. In Los Angeles, a new policing program credits officers not for arrests but for walking their beats, often teaming up with former gang members to stop violence, and working with civic groups to start soccer leagues and develop health initiatives. The areas patrolled by these “guardian” officers have seen the steepest declines in crime of any Los Angeles districts. Rockford is hoping for similar results.
On a sunny day last October, Thurmond and Turner were preparing to host a Halloween event at one of the precincts. They had been living in the community for five months at that point, and “Pumpkins with the Police” was the third large function they had organized. They traded anxious calls throughout the day to figure out whether they had enough pumpkins and how to pay for additional ones. The ROCK program didn't have a budget, and the two officers regularly spent time soliciting donations from local businesses. When Thurmond arrived at the station house to set up, the contents of his trunk spoke to the wide-ranging job he was now undertaking: Next to a tumbleweed of police tape, collected from a recent homicide scene, were three plastic bags from Walmart filled with cookies, plastic cups, and napkins.
Pumpkins with the Police was being held in a gymnasium at a station that had previously been an abortion clinic, and before that a school. At one end of the gym, pumpkins the size of basketballs awaited their fate. Bales of hay were stacked against the opposite wall, in front of a “Rockford Police Department” backdrop. A young white woman with five children, the youngest of them a baby she carried on her hip, showed up 30 minutes before the event's start time, announcing that she had nowhere else to wait after picking up her kids from school. Thurmond greeted her with a smile, leading two of her boys to a beanbag toss in the center of the basketball court. The woman said she appreciated the station house being opened for them.
Over the next hour, 30 other families arrived. The children sat at folding tables with their pumpkins, scooping out the goopy innards. One of the kids recognized Thurmond from his school and waved. Other police officers were there as volunteers, most of them in uniform, though one of the women from the precinct had on a sweatshirt that said: I STAND BEHIND THE THIN BLUE LINE. Turner's teenage daughter passed out cider and cookies. A pregnant African American woman shooed away her five-year-old son, deflecting his pleas for her help with his pumpkin: “You need to ask one of the police to carve it.”
The original idea for the Rockford program can be traced to a 71-year-old retired police chief named Charles Gruber. In the 1990s, Gruber became the top cop in Elgin, a city near Rockford. As one of his first directives, he announced that he would refurbish a number of houses in Elgin's most troubled neighborhoods and assign cops to live in them rent-free. Gruber said his officers needed to demonstrate that they did not show up only to make arrests; they had to intervene and participate in the community. At first, no one signed up for the new officer residential unit. Police found their jobs hard enough and wanted to leave work at the end of the day; they did not like the idea of becoming downwardly mobile by relocating to an area of high crime. “People in Elgin thought I was nuts,” Gruber told me.
Early in his career, Gruber had studied with Herman Goldstein, a pioneer of community policing who preached that the “community must police itself, and the police, at best, only assist in that task.” Goldstein was at the forefront of what is called, anachronistically, the “community era” of American policing. The notion that the police function might be other than enforcement had its beginning after the racial unrest of the 1960s, when police departments in northern cities felt pressure to improve their strained relationships with the black neighborhoods they patrolled. Some departments added special walk-and-talk units, and many made attempts to diversify their ranks, often after African American officers demanded change.
The efforts were moderate and peripheral, but the results were generally positive—public trust in law enforcement increased, and officers reported greater job satisfaction—and the idea spread. By the start of the '90s, the Justice Department had formed its Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, and was funding cities nationwide to create special community policing units. But officers were still promoted for making busts, not for creative problem solving or neighborhood accountability, and the prevailing belief remained that crime be met with swift and severe punishment. Community policing units of this era were increasingly isolated and drained of resources.
Eventually, Gruber was able to persuade seven cadets just out of the training academy to move into the renovated homes. Many residents welcomed the permanent presence of these cops; some did not. A couple of officers had their cars vandalized. Bullets were fired into one of the homes. A bowling ball dropped from an apartment window barely missed another officer, and three teenagers tossed a homemade bomb through the window of a third. But serious crimes in the targeted areas declined, and community members said their problems with gangs and drugs diminished. They were able to seek out the cop on their block for nagging quality of life concerns, like broken street lights and speeding cars or help with tutoring. A neighbor at the time said he liked having the officer nearby: “He'll actually put some law and order back into this neighborhood.” By the end of the decade, Elgin had expanded the program to nine officers, and similar initiatives had been adopted by a handful of other cities in Illinois.
Rockford Chief of Police Dan O'Shea started the ROCK program. “We have to change the old-school, cuff-and-stuff mentality,” he said. “It doesn't work.”
In Rockford, however, police-community relations would have to get a lot worse before they could get better. In August 2009, two Rockford cops, both of them white, spotted a 23-year-old African American man named Mark Barmore outside the Kingdom Authority church on the city's west side. Barmore, who was wanted for questioning after threatening his girlfriend the night before, was talking amicably to the pastor's wife. When he saw the police, he ran. The officers chased him inside the church, drawing their guns as they followed him downstairs where a child daycare was in session. Barmore shut himself inside a boiler-room closet. The officers did not call for backup. They did not pause to clear out the dozen children in the daycare cowering beside their teachers. And they did not try to reason with the barricaded suspect. They pushed their way into the cramped closet. The cops said Barmore grabbed one of their pistols before they shot him four times at close range; three of the bullets entered his back. Barmore died at the scene.
Hostilities erupted in Rockford after the shooting. Marchers waving I AM HUMAN placards demanded that the two officers be brought to justice. Pro-police demonstrators took to the streets in response. Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan drove up from Chicago to call for accountability and peace. A grand jury ruled the officers' use of deadly force justified, and no criminal charges were filed. In a separate federal civil rights lawsuit, the city of Rockford settled the case without admitting fault, agreeing to pay Barmore's family $1.1 million. Melvin Brown, the pastor of Kingdom Authority, said Barmore's killing was not an isolated incident. “There were two dozen homicides by the police at that time, all ruled justified,” he told me. “The people here do not trust the Rockford Police Department.”
After the Barmore incident, the police in Rockford did begin to institute reforms. Two civil rights attorneys were invited to conduct an independent review of the department, and the force followed most of their 27 recommendations. The department changed its rules on engagement. It added training on nonlethal force and removed obstacles to citizens filing complaints against officers. And the department ended the practice of investigating deadly force incidents internally, creating an oversight body made up of police officers from municipalities in the surrounding counties. Then, in 2016, Dan O'Shea, who had been on the force in Elgin for 17 years, was hired to lead the Rockford department. Although he had not been a resident officer in Elgin, he decided to replicate the program. He had seen the difference when cops lived where they worked. “When one of these officers shows up at the scene of a fight, he's known the kid for five years,” O'Shea told me. “The personal level leads to de-escalation. There's no success with us and them.”
In Elgin, budgetary concerns led the city to cut the number of resident officer homes back to four. Gruber now investigates police departments for the civil rights division at the Justice Department. He said the resident officer initiative should be the basis for policing standards around the country. “Every community, and especially what are thought of as the ‘bad' ones, wants protection and help,” he said. “But community policing can't be just a program. It has to be a philosophy. It has to be embedded in everything a department does.”
Turner started most days at a police precinct just west of the river, across from a low-rise public housing complex that was in the process of being shuttered. She liked to keep in touch with patrol officers and check in with her district commander before grabbing a squad car. One morning last November, I waited for her on the benches beside the precinct's front desk. A man in his early twenties with a faded neck tattoo sat across from me, making faces at a baby in his arms. “I'm sorry I'm not the best dad,” he said to the rawboned blond woman next to him.
“You just have to care, or whatever the fuck you said,” the woman told him. At least one of them was required to report regularly at the police station for a felonious reason I didn't make out. She groaned loudly. “I'm tired of Rockford.”
Moments later, a homeless man, immense and treading gingerly, rolled a suitcase through the electric doors into the precinct. He took a seat alongside me. His name was Jeremy, he broadcast to the room, and he had been banned from most of the shelters in the city for making threats and also, he added sheepishly, for carrying them out. Now he had nowhere to sleep, and the temperature had dipped into the forties, with a chilling rain. “It's OK, I'm used to it,” he said. But he was trying to puzzle out how he might retrieve a pair of his boots from a halfway house, because he could not legally come within 300 feet of the building.
The next person to enter was a man in his fifties with thick glasses, one of the holdouts from the neighboring housing project. It was his second visit that morning, and the administrator behind a glass partition greeted him by name. He had come by earlier to report that his television had been stolen. He knew the thief. She wasn't in Rockford at the moment, but the man had returned after sleuthing her real name. The clerk checked it against a database and announced excitedly that there was an existing warrant for the woman's arrest.
“You can call it in to Crime Stoppers,” she told him. If the police ended up making an arrest, he'd get a reward. “It could at least pay for the television.” The half-listening waiting room snapped to attention.
“Lure her back to Rockford, bro,” the guy holding the baby shouted.
“What you need to do is tell her you got a new TV,” another man plotted.
“Nah, I'll tell her I got some drugs,” the TV-less man said, warming to the plan. “She's a heroin addict.”
There was general agreement that this was the right tack.
“Get her in jail, bro!”
Turner, one of only five black women on the force, believed that her department would be more effective if officers were better connected to their neighborhoods.
A few minutes passed, and Turner emerged to collect me. The baby-swaddling man said he recognized her. He'd been a student in a high school where she sometimes worked. “Were you good, or did you get on my nerves?” Turner asked. He'd been good for two years, he confessed, but then was kicked out.
Turner looked him over. “You working?” she asked. She had a knack for extending conversations, drawing people out to discover their needs. She told him about a bus that shuttled people from Rockford to a cluster of factories 45 minutes away. She learned about the opportunity not from her department or a team of social service providers or a list of vetted programs provided to the ROCK officers. She'd seen one of those suspect posters on the side of the road displaying only the word JOBS and a phone number. Turner had phoned—the transportation was free, the staffing company didn't ask about a criminal record or do a background check, and the pay was $12 an hour. All the young man would need was an ID and a social security number.
“No background check at all?” he asked eagerly. He turned to the mother of the baby. “I'd do 16 hours a day if they let me.”
Turner now walked over to Jeremy, who was missing his boots. He said he had no family in Rockford and wouldn't return to the Illinois town where he was from. Turner told him she would drive over to the halfway house and try to fetch his shoes.
Community policing is often dismissed by rank and file officers as “women's work.” Connie Rice, the civil rights attorney who helped the LAPD devise and implement its new community policing strategy, said that officers there disparaged the effort as “pussy policing.” But it may be that departments could learn from a less masculine approach. Women make up about 12 percent of the nation's police officers. While women have been found to use routine force at about the same rate as men, data collected by the National Center for Women & Policing showed that they accounted for only 5 percent of citizens' complaints of excessive force.
Recent studies by Phillip Goff, a social psychologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, have determined that a sense that his manhood is being challenged—more than racism—predicts whether an officer will use excessive force against an African American suspect. Departments encourage and reinforce macho behavior in countless ways, and Goff pointed to community policing as an antidote. “By devaluing hypermasculinity, community policing can reduce the masculinity threat that results in hegemonic racial violence,” he wrote in a 2015 paper with L. Song Richardson. “Although male police officers would still ‘do' gender, their performance of masculinity would not be tied to physical aggression but rather to their ability to solve problems through creativity and innovation.”
As I rode with Turner, she took me through an affluent neighborhood nestled against the banks of the Rock River, drawing my attention to the aging mansions with handmade wood shingles and copper gutters gleaming in the sun. She said she wasn't the type to tell her colleagues how to do their jobs. “I am not a teacher of officers by any means,” she insisted. “I'm definitely not the one to say, ‘Hey listen to me.' ” But she explained that she was one of only five black women on the force, and she did believe that her department would be more effective if officers were better connected to the neighborhoods they patrolled. “If you grew up in Byron, Illinois, and never saw a black person, you might be fearful of your life,” she explained. “Where I might say, ‘Derrick, sit your punk-ass down. Every time you get mad, you talk shit.' That's the difference. I call it bringing gasoline or water to a fire. You don't bring gasoline. If I can talk my way into or out of a situation without putting my hands on anyone, that's a beautiful thing.”
Both Thurmond and Turner work with young people. “I don't play games,” Turner said.” But if you want to talk, if you're hungry, if you need something, I'm there.”
Later in November, less than a week after I left Rockford, a young officer named Jaimie Cox pulled over a pickup truck on a commercial stretch of State Street, four miles east of downtown. It was 1 a.m. on a Sunday. No dashboard footage captured what happened next—Chief O'Shea would later say that the department couldn't afford the $5,500 cost to equip each car with a camera. But Cox apparently scuffled with the driver, a 49-year-old African American man named Eddie Patterson Jr., a supervisor at the Rockford sports arena who was driving with a revoked license. Patterson sped off, with Cox somehow tangled in the truck. Cox fired his service revolver and the truck crashed two blocks away. Patterson died from multiple gunshot wounds. Cox died of blunt force trauma.
I had met Cox while out on patrol with Thurmond. He was a baby-faced 30-year-old, who, like Thurmond, had served in the military and was relatively new to the force. He lived with his wife in South Beloit, an Illinois city of 8,000 along the Wisconsin border that is 83 percent white. Thurmond described Cox as a friend and a good officer. “He would tease me about the size of my big head,” he said. Cox was the seventh police officer to be killed in the line of duty in the city's history. After a funeral at the First Free Rockford church, his body was driven to the cemetery in a procession of police cruisers that extended for miles. It was a frigid day, but hundreds of people lined the streets, lofting blue flags. Chief O'Shea said the displays of support were proof that their community efforts were already bringing the police and the people there closer together.
But the incident also exposed some of the same fault lines that have long divided the city. There were those in the community who saw Eddie Patterson as another Mark Barmore—an unarmed black man in a deadly encounter with a cop. One of Patterson's daughters filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. Pastor Melvin Brown of Kingdom Authority led a small march from his church, where Barmore had been shot, to City Hall. “They already put Cox out there as a hero,” he told me. “What if Cox didn't use police policy correctly and caused Eddie Patterson's death and his own death?”
Police officers wield an awesome power to determine what we know and believe to be true. On Rockford's streets, in any search or interrogation, the police author the factual reports and corroborate a version of reality that's hard to dispute. “It's not what happened, it's what the police said happened,” was a common refrain among those who trusted the police the least. Brown, whose family has been locked in ongoing legal disputes with the city over the Barmore case, demanded a federal investigation into Patterson's death. He had no faith in the police review board, created amid the Barmore fallout, that ruled on officer-involved shootings. Of the eight shootings by Rockford police since 2010, the oversight body made up of police officers had found each one justified. “Blue and blue ain't going to tell on each other,” Brown said. “All of them are buddies. Who's going to trust that?”
After Cox's death, Thurmond took a few days off work, visiting family members and getting together with fellow officers, but then he picked up extra shifts, wanting to stay busy. “I'm just trying to learn from it,” he said. “Slow down and assess every situation.” Turner told me that she felt the double tragedy of the traffic stop: “Two human beings lost their lives that night; two families were left behind to mourn.” She wasn't any leerier of her city or her job, and she repeated that there was a need for more police to reside in the areas they patrol. At one point, she exclaimed, as if seeing a prophecy of a better future, “Can you imagine what crime would do if all our officers lived in this city?”
“We don't just need friendly officers,” Antar Baker, a youth program coordinator from Rockford's west side, said. “We need laws in place that protect against abuses.”
But many activists dismiss community policing as a distraction from the greater problem of a racist criminal legal system. “We don't just need friendly officers,” Antar Baker, a youth program coordinator from Rockford's west side, told me. “We need laws in place that protect against abuses. We need rogue behavior prosecuted.” That sentiment is echoed by communities elsewhere that are calling not only for the defunding and disarming of police departments but also for them to be disbanded entirely. They have determined that it is fruitless to seek solutions from the very entities whose misdeeds they're protesting, and they are looking for alternatives to policing in community action and restorative justice.
In Chicago, groups of organizers have opposed the building of a new training facility for police officers. The #NoCopAcademy movement said that the $95 million cost of the facility could be better used bolstering neighborhoods that were already heavily policed: “Real community safety comes from fully funded schools and mental health centers, robust after-school and job-training programs, and social and economic justice. We want investment in our communities, not expanded resources for police.” When I reached out to a group called Rockford Youth Activism to ask about police-community relations in the city, I received a short note that began: “Abolish the police.”
Community-minded police strategies have also come under attack from those on the other side of the political divide. Donald Trump has denounced criminal justice reforms as a “war on police,” and his administration has so far launched only one investigation of a police department anywhere in the country. During the Obama administration, a dozen police departments entered court-ordered reform agreements with the DOJ. Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has tried to roll back these consent decrees. Last December, the DOJ announced that its COPS division would no longer fund police forces nationwide looking to correct patterns or practices of misconduct that had tainted their reputations; instead, the office created to advance community-centered programs would focus on combating violent crime through hawkish policing strategies.
Critics of reform programs like ROCK say that the problems with the police run deeper than individual cops. “We don't just need friendly officers,” said Antar Baker, a youth program coordinator from Rockford's west side. “We need laws in place that protect against abuses. We need rogue behavior prosecuted.”
This retrenchment has resonated with officers in Rockford and around the country. The Fraternal Order of Police has requested that President Trump allow departments to ignore the recommendations of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which was established by the Obama administration to mend the public's rift with law enforcement. Blue Lives Matter groups, bristling at the idea that cops are racist or abusive, have gained large followings. Last fall, while riding along with Thurmond, I met Aurelio DeLaRosa, a Rockford police officer who had recently retired after 26 years on the force. He said the police chief who implemented reforms after the Barmore incident had stoked anti-police views and empowered the wrong people. “He kept us from going out and being pro-police,” DeLaRosa told me. “Wins gained previously went away and crime became rampant.”
In order for community policing experiments like Rockford's to become more than an idealistic sideshow—for them to become a model for a more democratic form of policing—they will have to survive these charges both of irrelevance and criminal abetment. The research shows that the war on drugs failed, that broken windows decimated neighborhoods, that community policing methods, even in the limited forms in which they've existed, increase trust in legal systems and make cities safer. Big-city police chiefs say they're on board, but neither the funding nor the social and political will necessary to change police culture has followed. Despite edicts from above and earnest efforts from within police forces, uniting cops and communities in a deep and lasting way remains a theory rather than a practice.
After decades of economic decline, there are signs of revival in Rockford. A hotel and a few new businesses and residential high-rises have sprouted downtown. The city's former industrial prominence means there's still a symphony orchestra, an impressive art museum, ample parkland, and blocks of stately Victorians that are good candidates for restoration. Several manufacturing holdovers endure as well. “You can't find an airplane that doesn't have a Rockford product on it,” Tom McNamara, the city's young mayor told me in his City Hall office. In 2013, local business leaders formed Transform Rockford, a nonprofit committed to turning the city into “a top 25 community by the year 2025.” The group was focusing on 14 different action areas, but crime reduction was key. “It all centers around safety,” said Jacob Wilson, the program director of Transform Rockford.
This emphasis on crime meant Chief O'Shea was testing a number of different policing strategies to contend with violent offenders and the prevalence of domestic abuse. He said he would also like to expand the ROCK program, placing a resident officer in nine of the city's ten patrol areas. But in the financially strapped city, a fuller investment in this form of preventive policing has yet to emerge. “Cops are very, very hesitant with change,” O'Shea said. Nevertheless, he believed he had found the right people in Turner and Thurmond: “She's super community-minded, and he's outgoing and wants to solve problems.” More importantly, O'Shea added, all of his officers were supposed to be doing the work of building up trust and legitimacy. “The day-shifters and old-timers who have pushed back, either you come around or find another job,” he said. “That's my number-one directive. It's a nonnegotiable. Every officer is to be out engaging with the community. Positive contacts, sitting around, chewing the fat, being a regular person. They need to see you for what you are.”
On one of the days I rode with Thurmond in his patrol car, he drove past the Stockholm Inn, a breakfast spot where he posted up one morning a week to talk with residents. He turned into a nearby Walgreens and went inside to view security footage of a retail theft. At Nelson Elementary, the school where he read to second graders, no kids were on the recess yard. He'd run out of ways to engage the community for the moment, and as he headed back to his east side bungalow he stopped to offer an older African American man a lift. The man, who was carrying several bags of groceries, declined Thurmond's offer, smiling but not breaking stride. “You sure?” Thurmond pressed. A ride, he insisted, was no problem. The man looked at the empty back seat of the squad car being presented to him. It represented far too much history. He repeated that he was good walking, and Thurmond left him reluctantly.
Thurmond pulled up outside his house moments later. He spotted a 14-year-old who lived on the block with his grandmother. The teen was wandering the streets with a friend. It was the middle of a school day. “I don't go to school,” the boy told Thurmond, without further explanation. He wore slippers, despite the cold, and he backed away incrementally as he gave clipped-sentence replies to Thurmond's inquiries. Whatever he and his buddy were up to, they were eager to get back to it.
“If you need anything, let me know,” Thurmond volunteered. “Just 'cause I'm police doesn't mean you can't talk to me
Columbia Heights Police Department earns international community policing award
Department wins award for second time
by Raymond Rivard
Trust and relationship-building go a long way, especially when it comes to community policing.
Without those two factors, the Columbia Heights Police Department couldn't have accomplished as much as it has over the past few years, nor would the department have been recognized locally and even internationally as a progressive, community-minded agency.
Last week, the department received notice that it had won an international award for outstanding community policing.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police honored the Columbia Heights Police Department with the 2018 Leadership in Community Policing Award.
This is the second time the department has won this specific honor. The first was in 2012. The department was also a runner-up for the award in 2015.
Capt. Erik Johnston told The Sun Focus that the department hasn't applied for the award every year, but in the years it has applied - 2012, 2015, and 2017 - it has been a winner.
“The police department submits an application to the IACP to be considered for the award,” Capt. Johnston said. “The application answers a series of questions regarding the partnership or project and outlines how community policing principles are involved.”
In response to the announcement, Police Chief Lenny Austin said, “It's not just our award. It's the community's award. Policing is challenging in and of itself, but quite frankly it would be impossible without the strong partnerships and strong ties we have with our citizens, with other city departments, and with our government and community leaders.”
The award is presented annually to a single agency, worldwide, awarded in one of five population categories.
Columbia Heights earned the award in the under 20,000 population category for its successful work in community policing strategies and crime reduction programs, and most importantly in its efforts to work with the community in planning and building the City of Peace Neighborhood Center.
The department helped to establish the center in an area of the community that just a few years ago was known for a significantly high number of incident calls.
Instead of continuing to react to the high number of calls to the area, the department, in utilizing its agency-wide philosophy of community policing, took a proactive approach and worked with the residents in the area. It also brought other city departments into the mix while developing a plan for the neighborhood located around the Circle Terrace Boulevard – the location where the City of Peace Neighborhood Center and the newly-minted Bruce Nawrocki Park were recently constructed and dedicated.
The building was conceived as a gathering place for under-served communities, where residents, city officials, and volunteer groups could meet and build relationships.
According to a statement by the city:
“The planning for the neighborhood center began over three years ago. Near the beginning of the process, officers went door-to-door, survey in hand, to listen to the needs of Circle Terrace residents. The survey results showed that almost 90 percent of residents were looking for more interaction and a more engaging relationship with law enforcement.”
That's when the department began to tap into state, county, and city departments and individuals, as well as school officials, the faith communities, and other leaders “to develop a plan that would provide the neighborhood with a better opportunity to grow and invest in itself. The City of Peace Neighborhood Center grew out of that collaborative effort,” the release stated.
“It's a whole team that made this happen,” Columbia Heights Mayor Donna Schmitt said. “I'm so proud of everyone involved.”
The work that has been recognized through this award didn't happen overnight, and, according to Johnston, it has been an evolution of practices by the department that has resulted in its successful community policing model.
The efforts began several years ago with one or two individuals in the department who were charged with the community policing initiative. However, it became apparent that it would take the efforts of more than a couple of individuals for the department to make a difference.
That's when an agency-wide effort was kicked into gear.
“A shift was made and community policing became the job of every employee of the department,” Johnston said. “It started with small steps, and has now grown to every employee contributing in our community outreach, whether it is through a program like Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee, Youth Open Gym, Coffee with a Cop, or speaking with new immigrants at the Adult Basic Education Center. When everyone is tasked with, and empowered to solve problems, a project like this just becomes a larger extension of this philosophy.”
With this model in place, the community responded.
“As a result, the residents and community stakeholders were enthusiastic partners for this project and there are many more great ideas for programming that we are looking forward to seeing,” Johnston said. “The residents have become more engaged and supportive of the police department and have seen the success that has come through these efforts.”
Johnston said that the department invests more time and effort into community programs and events - more so than “any other department our size that we are aware of.”
And when the department does respond to incidents, they use a “narrow focus” to help minimize the effects on surrounding residents.
“We are focused on preventing crime rather than responding to it after it occurs, and as a result we are building strong community relationships. This results in more residents willing to call us and become involved in the safety of their neighborhood.”
Johnston pointed to a recent example of the effectiveness of community policing that helps describe its place and application.
“We had a recent interaction during a busy Friday night at the Jamboree Carnival in Columbia Heights,” he said. “After a handful of teenagers started a couple of minor fights, our officers were able to step in and interact with the group to defuse the situation and prevent it from becoming worse.”
He went on to say that it was a member of the Columbia Heights Lions Club who took notice and told the officers on scene that he “was now a believer.”
“He stated he was aware of the program, but had been skeptical of its worth until he observed the officers interacting with these young residents by name,” Johnston said. “He observed a trusting relationship in place. He felt the situation would likely have been much worse if not for these prior relationships officers had built.”
Sgt. Justin Pletcher, the local officer who nominated the police department for the award and was one of the major players in coordinating efforts to get the City of Peace Neighborhood Center built, said, “Law enforcement is often asked to respond to crime and disorder as a reactionary force, but to truly affect the outcome of public safety you must rely on the partnerships of an entire community. To truly affect public safety we need to seek out the approval and understanding of the communities we serve.”
Johnston doubled down on Pletcher's comments, saying, “We are always looking for ways in which we can partner with the community, meet people in positive non-enforcement contacts, and continue to build relationships with everyone we interact with. We also hold ourselves to a high standard in which we operate off a strategic plan that staff update yearly, do regular check-ins to ensure we are meeting our goals, and also survey the community on a regular basis to ensure we are meeting expectations.”
The Leadership in Community Policing Award will be presented to the Columbia Heights Police Department on Oct. 9 at the IACP's annual conference in Orlando, Florida. Travel expenses will be paid by the association to ensure officers can be there in person.
“We still have work to do,” Chief Austin said. “But I think this award tells us we are on the right track.”
Let's redefine community policing: It should not be a paramilitary force.
by Andrea McChristian
Fifty-one years ago today, the Newark Rebellion was sparked by police abuse of a black cab driver . At that time, the police force was overwhelmingly white in a city with a substantial black population. Newark residents took to the streets to protest law enforcement abuse and the oppressive conditions under which they had been forced to live.
Fifty-one years later, and on the second anniversary of the Newark Police Division Consent Decree , this story of policing is part of a broader national conversation.
In today's America, on any given day, there is another police-involved shooting. Another unarmed black person. Another failure to indict the officer responsible. The tragic shooting of black people, from city to city, has become our status quo.
In the face of this endless wave of violence, numerous solutions have been advanced to stem the tide. More policies and practices! Better training! Increased oversight! Transparent accountability!
But underlying this discussion are two threshold questions: Who polices? And what does it mean to police?
A constant refrain that I have heard time and time again in response to this second question is that "the police are a paramilitary force."
Instead of seeing New Jersey police departments as agencies that treat communities as enemy combatants in war, how do we instead build a relationship of trust between law enforcement and the communities it serves?
To that point, much has been made of the concept of community policing. According to the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, community policing is "a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime."
Yet, to me, community policing is so much more. A true vision for community policing is one in which, far from being a paramilitary force, law enforcement joins together in partnership with the community; police officers are held accountable for their misconduct; and there is a recognition of the historic broken relationship between law enforcement and the community in building the way forward.
In short, effective community policing must bring together law enforcement and the community to problem solve and strengthen understanding. And it would stand to reason that ensuring law enforcement represents the community it serves would be of paramount interest in carrying out these goals.
New Jersey has significant work to do in this area. A 2015 Governing report found that New Jersey police departments are characterized by some of the greatest underrepresentation of people of color vis-a-vis communities served among the country's largest police departments. And a 2017 survey assessment of 1,050 Newark Police Division officers and 42 non-officers found that 37.9 precent identified as black in a city that is 50.2 percent black; even more stark, 40 percent of those surveyed identified as white, while just 24.4 percent of Newark is white.
Importantly, the work to create a community policing model cannot be done until law enforcement agencies first grapple with the harsh reality that generational discord, trauma, and conflict have undermined the relationship between law enforcement and the community. Police must take a step back and listen to what the community wants and needs. What they need to police. Who they want to police. And why they should police.
But what could such a community policing model look like in practice?
First, law enforcement agencies should look to the community to put forth recommendations on potential recruits from their own neighborhoods. Since community members are the ones policed, they are in the ideal position to recommend which of their own members would do the job well. In addition to the selection of potential recruits, community members can also be asked their top priorities for policing in the neighborhood -- a dialogue that should ultimately frame policing strategy.
In this way, community members have ownership over the policing of their communities, increasing police legitimacy and community-police relations. Law enforcement agencies should also commit themselves to funding and implementing these community recommendations.
And second, to supplement these community proposals, law enforcement agencies must do more to increase community recruitment, including by developing positive relationships with local schools to identify students who exhibit the necessary skills to become effective and respected officers, strengthening mentoring opportunities between current officers from the local community and potential recruits, and providing comprehensive support and resources to prepare local applicants for the civil service exam and any other requirements.
With this, we can eventually reach a point where the police are unequivocally and uniformly not a paramilitary force policing the community. Instead, they will be the community
Empathetic Policing Has Hidden Costs. Here is How to Fix That.
by Shefali V.
The public may be demanding softer policing policies, but are officers who embrace such policies actually conducting themselves in ways the public hopes and expects? No, they are not. And there is cost to us all.
When a police officer shoots an unarmed black man, a tragic, all-too-familiar cycle of events ensues: Communities seethe in anger, knee-jerk accusations are hurled from all sides, and boiler-plate defenses are frantically mounted.
In response, police chiefs and city leaders promise swift action and imminent change: a greater shift to community-oriented policing — a kinder, gentler philosophy that emphasizes community outreach, citizens' voice, and the much bandied “collaborative problem solving.”
As an organizational psychologist, what I found was startling when I studied six U.S. police agencies, collecting 794 body camera footage videos of 164 officers.
When cops believe they are misunderstood and underappreciated, gentler policing philosophies do not increase officer effectiveness. In fact, amid public strife, more empathetic police officers are less effective at ensuring the basic safety of citizens. They make more procedural errors, the kind of missteps that can be deadly.
By contrast, officers who endorse a more conservative, law-and-order approach are more effective at executing basic duties properly and safely.
And herein lies a slice of the problem. In response to police-public tension, policy leaders looking to make positive change reject “traditional” law enforcement strategies in favor of initiatives such as community policing, even when such strategies' effectiveness is questionable, resulting in the same officer blunders that infuriated the public in the first place.
Massive government funds are deployed to fulfill the promises of kinder policing. Since 1994, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has committed over $14 billion of federal funds. The result? Another officer shooting followed by anger, accusations, defenses and promises.
The Trump administration is proposing a 50 percent cut to the COPS program in the 2019 budget. But that is not be the approach. Rather than reducing funding, the underlying objectives and strategies of COPS need to change. Funds should be redirected to develop and test standard operating procedures that help officers make more effective decisions under pressure.
It all boils down to expectations. Community policing philosophies lead officers to expect the public to reciprocate with understanding and appreciation. But, in many minority communities — the same ones in which public leaders typically rush to implement community policing — such responses are not always the reality.
Officers are led to expect things that are never fulfilled. Unmet expectations can confuse and frustrate officers, hurting their ability to carry out basic duties. Under these circumstances, they end up hesitating more, being less cautious, and making more mistakes on the job than if they simply followed a straightforward, by-the-book approach to policing.
To prevent such outcomes, funding should be redirected to helping agencies fine-tune, develop and rigorously test standardized protocols to deal with the realities police officers face. We desperately need more insights into how the human mind works when faced with relentless criticism and a lack of appreciation.
Behavioral researchers have time and again shown that during stressful times, routines and habits can increase the reliability of decisions. People are less anxious and better able to “tune out” distractions.
By redirecting funding to developing protocols that are proven to work in real-life situations, COPS can truly live up to its mandate. It is not just a matter of taxpayer money better spent. It is, foremost, a matter of protecting human life
Community policing requires shared humanity
by Alexis Allison
Bill Davis remembers the first white teacher he ever had. His name was Tim Woodward, a 20-something fifth-grade history teacher at an all-black school in Montgomery, Alabama. He wore wine-colored penny loafers.
It was the 1960s, and the non-black exemplars in Davis' childhood were Jesus and President John F. Kennedy, whose portraits hung next to that of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in every home in his family's public housing community.
They, like Mr. Woodward, were the good ones. Davis learned to distrust other white people, especially police officers, from the black, college-educated Freedom Riders who were often guests in the Davis home.
Davis lost touch with Mr. Woodward, but he never forgot him or those loafers. He never forgot that Mr. Woodward didn't talk down to students, didn't punish them if they didn't understand — that he gave Davis a new, better impression of what it meant to be white.
When the internet era rolled around, Davis, now in his 60s, tried and failed to find Mr. Woodward. He wanted to tell him how much he meant to him.
“To put it simply, he made us feel included in his life,” Davis wrote in an email. “Not like he was trying to be black or accepted by us, but he welcomed us to learn of him.”
Years after that fifth-grade class, Davis, who is African-American, became a police officer in what he considers the most racist police department in the country: the Montgomery Police Department.
He worked alongside officers who helped arrest Rosa Parks. He learned to navigate environments where people with skin color like his and police officers defined justice differently.
Today, he serves as a member of Columbia's Citizens Police Review Board to bridge both worlds. He refuses to generalize.
Ten years ago, he bought his own pair of wine-colored penny loafers in honor of Mr. Woodward. It was only recently that Davis, a towering and regal presence, found his old teacher's obituary online. He sat down and wept.
If Mr. Woodward had taught Davis anything, it was that a small and consistent kindness — a recognition of a shared humanity — has the power to transcend years of distrust and misunderstanding.
The absence of trust and understanding has been evident at this summer's seven town halls on community policing. City budget shortages, racial disparities in traffic stop data, police conduct, low police officer morale, meeting fatigue, and many people feeling unheard have Columbia at an impasse that may only be overcome by a lesson from Mr. Woodward.
The ongoing conversation about policing in Columbia is, at its core, a conversation about what it means to be human and what it takes to recognize each other as such.
A long time coming
Community policing, which partners the police and community in pursuit of public safety, isn't new in Columbia or elsewhere.
Amid the civil rights fervor of the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a nationwide study that called, in part, for improved police engagement with minority communities.
By 1991, the Missouri Department of Public Safety began awarding contracts for community policing, according to a 1994 evaluation of several community policing programs in Missouri.
Soon after, the Columbia Foot Patrol Program was implemented downtown. Using state-level grant money, the Police Department assigned an officer to develop relationships with business owners and citizens, reduce fear of crime and provide crime-prevention training.
“The business community's interest dovetailed well with a commitment of the Columbia Police to implement community policing in the city,” the report said.
In 1997, Norm Botsford was hired as police chief to implement a department-wide community policing philosophy, said John Clark, a local attorney with a certificate in community policing from Missouri Western State University.
Around that time, the department began offering a Youth Academy to teach kids about police work, according to the city's website. Within two years, Botsford quit after failing twice to acquire more funding for the department, Clark said.
Under new leadership, the Police Department in 2003 developed a ”Columbia-Oriented Policing” strategic plan, which mentions the need for “citizen empowerment,” “community partnership and involvement,” and “hiring for community-oriented problem-solving.”
By then, school resource officers had been placed in local high schools, and a horse-mounted unit for special community events was about to hit the streets. It was disbanded in 2015 due to staffing shortages.
In 2009, newly appointed Police Chief Ken Burton, who had co-authored a study on community policing from his time with the Arlington Police Department in Texas, designated a downtown unit of bike-riding cops as a demonstration of “geographic policing,” a tenet of community policing.
From the get-go, Burton, who's been criticized for not attending this summer's community policing meetings, told officers that they should all — rather than a single unit — practice community policing, according to the recent State of the Community Outreach Unit report. Burton came to the seventh and final community policing meeting Thursday.
Shortly after the geographic policing model was introduced, the Police Department assigned two officers to patrol Douglass Park, known for its high number of calls for service.
By early 2015, not long after the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence released its final report, the department expanded the officers' boundaries and renamed the unit the Community Outreach Unit, according to the city's website. Within a year, the unit was working in three neighborhoods designated by the city's strategic plan. A fourth neighborhood was added in 2017.
Based on the early successes of the unit, the City Council passed a resolution in February directing City Manager Mike Matthes to design a department-wide community policing plan. To get public input on this next phase, the city organized seven town hall meetings that were led by Sgt. Robert Fox. Fox and Matthes said they plan to co-present a report on their findings to the council by Aug. 31.
The meetings took place in each of the city's six wards and drew 20 to 30 attendees each, with the exception of the first, which attracted about 50. City officials, journalists and police officers usually made up about half of the audience. Despite perennial concerns about racial disparities in the Police Department's traffic stop data, only a handful of black citizens participated, except for the last meeting.
What these conversations leave out, according to Clark and Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, president of local activist group Race Matters, Friends, is another history — one that uniquely, disproportionately burdens black Americans.
Lack of context, lack of trust
When Wilson-Kleekamp was 12 years old, her father was pulled over by an officer in California. She and her baby siblings were in the car, which didn't stop the officer from calling her dad “every foul name in the book.” Her dad stayed calm, but she was afraid he'd get shot.
“I remember being so terrified that I almost could not think. My whole body was shaking,” Wilson-Kleekamp said. “It was a very very scary experience. That moment has never left me.”
Now that she's an adult, Wilson-Kleekamp has had many more experiences, both good and bad, with police officers. More recently, her younger brother, who was terrified of police in high school, was pulled over by a cop.
“He treated me like a human being,” her brother told her. “He didn't ask me if I just got out of jail, he didn't ask me if I was related to such-and-such.”
Wilson-Kleekamp, who's pursuing a doctorate in education with an emphasis in social studies, said the problem lies not with those in uniform but with the historical underpinnings of policing.
“I don't think police are bad people,” Wilson-Kleekamp said. “I think policing as we see it and in practice is very antithetical to relationships.”
She points to Fox's emphasis on the Peelian Principles, a set of nine policing guidelines typically attributed to the British leader Sir Robert Peel in the 1800s.
The principles stress the idea of police as citizens in uniform: “The police are the public and the public are the police.” A department-wide return to these principles, Fox said during his presentations, would be a step toward a full embrace of community policing.
The problem with the Peelian Principles, Wilson-Kleekamp said, is that they ignore the unique history of enslaved African-Americans in the United States.
“We really leave out the role that police have played in slavery and social control,” she said. “They sort of leap-frog over this history and they're not able to connect (that history) to why people don't trust them.”
Clark, who studied the principles separately from Wilson-Kleekamp but arrived at a similar conclusion, believes the community and Police Department should create a strategic plan based on the Peelian Principles with what he calls a “proviso” that addresses America's specific history. He's written out a possible option and submitted it to the department:
“Implementation of these Peelian Principles in the United States must be informed at each stage by the conscious, intentional awareness of the effects on our communities of the 400+ year systematic, systemic, intentional oppression and brutal treatment of people of color in America — including Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, etc.”
For Wilson-Kleekamp, a sincere and vulnerable acknowledgement is in order. She said that Matthes' comment at the June 18 City Council meeting, in which he said that there is bias and everyone has bias, isn't enough. To say that everyone has bias is dismissive, she said.
“That's essentially what policing has done to people of color since the inception — which is, ‘We don't acknowledge how we've treated you, we don't acknowledge the outcomes of our policing, and we do not acknowledge your anger and resentment,” Wilson-Kleekamp said. “'We are entitled to treat you in the way that we want because we are law enforcement.'”
Wilson-Kleekamp submitted a records request last week to the city, asking for correspondence between Burton, Matthes, Fox and the outreach unit, so she can better understand Burton's role in the initiative.
At the core of her request is a desire to hold the leadership of the community policing initiative accountable, especially in light of the recent Missouri Quality Award feedback that gave city leaders what she calls a “D-”.
Her critique doesn't extend to the Community Outreach Unit, whose members demonstrate the kind of outreach that builds community, she said. They've been at the tables at this summer's public meetings, listening, asking questions and taking notes.
It takes a village — or at least a unit
When he was in elementary school, Sgt. Michael Hestir wrote an essay about how he wanted to be a “newspaper man” when he grew up. Specifically, he wanted to expose injustice.
Years later, Hestir was on the steps of the Columbia Public Library when a little black girl, maybe 8 or 9, approached him. “Stickers?” she asked, and held out her hand. He checked his pockets. Another child, and a woman holding a baby — the little girl's family, maybe — paused and watched, farther down the steps.
Hestir was out of stickers. He said he was sorry, there'd be more another time, and the family moved on.
The stickers in question, gold police badges with the words “junior officer” emblazoned on them, were purchased by the thousands, along with temporary tattoos, by the department for moments like that one. It's the sort of “non-law enforcement-related” activity that drew criticism from three officers who responded to Matthes' police morale survey in 2016.
But for the officers in the community outreach unit, it's not about stickers or barbecues or basketball — it's about the mental and relational shift that happens when a little black girl approaches a white, male police officer with trust, not fear.
It's not the type of wrong-righting Hestir expected when he imagined himself as a journalist. But it's pretty close.
For him, community policing is really about two things: protecting a neighbor who just wants to plant her garden, and addressing the drug dealer with a choice — go to jail, or get clean.
For the latter, Hestir will perform a mental calculus he developed long before supervising the outreach unit.
Hestir resists stereotyping and will consider context. If he recognizes the dealer from making rounds in his neighborhood, or playing baseball in Douglass Park, he'll also know him as a father with a sick kid whose work has been hard, and who's been meaning to fix that tail light.
Hestir's philosophy of relationship undergirds the unit he supervises; he knows community policing at its best is intensely personal, yet at the end of the day, still accountable to the law.
Amid these ruminations, his approach is courteous. He imagines that his mom and the dealer's mom are also at the scene. These are the qualities that got him “voluntold” to lead the Community Outreach Unit in 2015. He's obviously good with people, listens well and is quick to acknowledge if he's made a mistake.
He's become a kind of middle man between the police and the communities he serves. He answers to both, and that vulnerable position leaves him acutely, wearily aware that for community policing to work, it has to be grounded in resources.
Cost of relationship, luxury of time
When Officer Matt Rodriguez ends his work day in the North neighborhood, he has a short walk home. A member of the outreach unit since 2016, he's the first and only officer to live in the neighborhood he patrols. He moved there with his kids in October after the local homeowners' association agreed to pay his rent.
Rodriguez admits he couldn't do what he does if he didn't live in the neighborhood. Although he'd made progress in relationship-building before he moved in, the months since have yielded exceptional “dividends.”
Before he was on the outreach unit, Rodriguez was on patrol — going from “call to call to call.” It's easy to become robotic, he said, when there's no time to form relationships, follow up, or even take care of yourself.
Officer Maria Phelps said sometimes those officers can't even take a bathroom break.
Phelps is a member of the outreach unit, patrolling the newest neighborhood alongside Officer Tony Parker. They're the duo responsible for Xbox with a Cop, a community event in May that pitted officers against kids inside a mobile command center they'd turned into a gaming space.
Later, another police officer who attended the event pulled over a black man in front of his family's home. The traffic stop had several witnesses — the man's family was in the front yard. Soon, a little boy pushed through the crowd and hugged the officer, whom he'd competed against at the Xbox event.
Phelps and Parker said it took a lot of time and resources to plan that event. It took time for people in their neighborhood to even acknowledge them, much less smile or wave. But that's the thing about community policing, Phelps said. It requires slowing down, and that allows both officers and civilians to see each other as human.
And when it comes to the world of policing, time means money.
The Police Department gets more than 90 percent of its funding from the city's general fund, which largely relies on sales tax revenue, according to the city's most-recent Ten Year Financial Trend Manual.
In fiscal year 2017, the Police Department received more than $20.8 million. That's nearly a 20 percent increase in funding from 10 years ago, when the department received about $17.4 million.
The majority of those funds go toward officer pay and benefits, including pensions.
Although funding for the department has increased, it hasn't kept up with inflation or population growth. In 2008, Columbia's population was nearing 96,000 but jumped to almost 119,000 by 2017, according to the manual. The number of officers has only increased by 21 during that time, Deputy Chief Jill Schlude wrote in an email.
As the city has sprawled, officers have become stretched more thinly.
Fox, who was criticized at the June 18 council meeting for seeming “disinterested at best” in community policing, said he wakes up in the middle of the night thinking about these things.
He's tired, maybe, but not disinterested. He's happy to talk about the books he's reading — “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander and “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, or “13th,” the documentary about mass incarceration he watched recently on Netflix. At the same time, he's fiercely protective of his officers, of whom he speaks in glowing terms.
“We find these gems in the community and then we expose them to trauma, horror, injury, pain, drama, domestic violence,” Fox said. “You can see officers wearing out.”
And an exhausted, beat-down, underpaid officer is more likely to say or do something wrong.
Fox thinks community policing might be the way forward, not just for the public but for the police, who on daily calls, experience someone's “worst day, worst hour.”
He said he believes the only way for officers to do more than survive, for the daily 911 calls to be addressed and for neighborhoods to get community policing, is for the department to hire more officers. This, along with raising salaries for police officers who haven't received a meaningful raise in 10 years, would be the first priority should voters agree, Fox said.
It would require an additional 52 officers to decrease the departments's number of calls for service per officer to the average call volume in other comparable cities, according to Fox.
Fox and Matthes meet twice a week formally to discuss his findings. They work three doors down from each other, so they're always talking, always sharing ideas. There will be more conversations now that the public meetings have finished. In the meantime, he's got a report to write.
Next step: building trust
At the June 18 City Council meeting, Matthes responded to criticism after the public comment period by saying that addressing concerns about the Police Department is a work in progress. About 10 citizens took issue, saying little meaningful work has been done, but Matthes disagreed.
He referenced the department's adoption of the bias-free policing policy, updated earlier this year. He noted that the consent to search policy, developed in 2016, has reduced disparities between blacks and whites. He's not alone in seeing progress.
Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas said in a recent interview that even the imperfect public meetings represent a change from previous conversations between the city and its citizens. The city has taken the discussion into the wards, rather than staying siloed at City Hall. The city has also provided meals and child care, allowing police officers and community members to sit, eat, listen and talk — not the way things used to be done.
An even more positive voice is that of Chris Haynes, 52. When he was a student at Hickman High School, his break-dancing skills landed him on MTV, and he was a member of the school's drill team. But soon, the young black man from Mississippi got carried away with the night life — and the drugs that go with it. He became addicted and ended up in prison.
He's been clean for more than a decade and is now a substance abuse counselor at Burrell Behavioral Health. He showed up for three community policing meetings.
“I'm not against the cops. I knew I did my thing back in the day. I recognize that I have to be accountable for the part I played in my interaction with the cops,” he said. “I think we have to come together in order for this to work out.”
He learned about the power of relationship from former Columbia police officer Cathy Dodd.
He remembers her saying to him, “'What can we do to get you out of where you at?' She knew our names. She knew who we was,” Haynes said. “And she did her job. She will take you to jail. I have been taken to jail by her. However, she didn't treat me like I was less than.”
What made Dodd stand out was her professionalism. Haynes said he tries to adopt it in his counseling, and he thinks officers should do the same.
“There is a learning curve,” Haynes said. “That is not on the black person or the white person. That is on the professional.”
Fox pulled him over a few years ago. Haynes laughs when he tells the story — he was a counselor at that point, but he had his music blasting and Cadillac rims on his car. He was a driving stereotype, he said. Fox had cause to pull him over — the music was really loud — but later reached out to Haynes to attend the community policing meetings.
Haynes said he appreciates what Fox is trying to do, and he's ready to be a part of it.
“If I'm holding onto the past, I won't be able to develop a new future. If I can get past my bias, my stereotypical thoughts and just open up and say, ‘let's give this thing a chance,' that will make the difference on both sides,” Haynes said.
But one side isn't showing up, he said. Haynes wants to know why Columbia's black citizens haven't been coming to the meetings.
“We're doing all this complaining, where are we at? We're talking about this community and how we're treated — let's get together,” Haynes said. “It needs to be a conversation, and it needs to be all types.”
John Clark has made himself part of the conversation.
Clark is 75 now. He wears suspenders, carries an expanding file folder stuffed with research and keeps extra black pens in his pocket. He's run for mayor twice on a platform that advocated community policing even back in 2004. He's come to almost all this summer's meetings on community policing. He's a CPA, attorney, nature-lover and activist, and he often references films as examples of culture and society.
His confidence in the trust-building potential of community policing comes in part from a movie: the 2009 political thriller “Endgame,” based on the fall of apartheid in South Africa. In it, as racial intolerance boils over, secret talks between two warring parties build a trust that breaks the impasse.
“Trust is an outcome of people having a mutual relationship in which they feel connected in relatively equal way,” Clark said. He said that trust can grow in Columbia, if people take the time to sit and talk to one another.
One review he's read of the film puts it best: “Hollywood movies are about heroes and baddies, and this (movie) is about the real world, where nobody is a baddie or goodie,” Clark said, paraphrasing. “There are no heroes and villains. There are complex people in complex situations.”
The conversation about community policing will continue even after Matthes and Fox file their report at the end of August. In the meantime, Davis will wear his penny loafers, Fox will return to supervising a unit he hopes will have positive interactions with people, Rodriguez will walk home, and Haynes will teach his 11-year-old, biracial son that it's not about the color of your skin. It's about relationship. It's about trust. It's about the endgame.
Evolution Of Community Policing
Community policing has been evolving slowly since the civil rights movement in the 1960s exposed the weaknesses of the traditional policing model. Even though its origin can be traced to this crisis in police-community relations, its development has been influenced by a wide variety of factors over the course of the past forty years.
The Civil Rights Movement (1960s). Individual elements of community policing, such as improvements in police-community relations, emerged slowly from the political and social upheavals surrounding the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Widespread riots and protests against racial injustices brought government attention to sources of racial discrimination and tension, including the police. As visible symbols of political authority, the police were exposed to a great deal of public criticism. Not only were minorities underrepresented in police departments, but studies suggested that the police treated minorities more harshly than white citizens (Walker). In response to this civil unrest, the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice (1967) recommended that the police become more responsive to the challenges of a rapidly changing society.
One of the areas that needed the most improvement was the hostile relationship separating the police from minorities, and in particular the police from African Americans. Team policing, tried in the late 1960s and early 1970s, developed from this concern, and was the earliest manifestation of community policing (Rosenbaum). In an attempt to facilitate a closer police community relationship, police operations were restructured according to geographical boundaries (community beats). In addition, line officers were granted greater decision-making authority to help them be more responsive to neighborhood problems. Innovative though it was, staunch opposition from police managers to decentralization severely hampered successful team implementation, and team policing was soon abandoned.
Academic interest (1970s). All the attention surrounding the police and the increased availability of government funds for police research spawned a great deal of academic interest. Researchers began to examine the role of the police and the effectiveness of traditional police strategies much more closely. In 1974 the Kansas City Patrol Experiment demonstrated that increasing routine preventive patrol and police response time had a very limited impact on reducing crime levels, allaying citizens' fear of crime, and increasing community satisfaction with police service. Similarly, a study on the criminal investigation process revealed the limitations of routine investigative actions and suggested that the crime-solving ability of the police could be enhanced through programs that fostered greater cooperation between the police and the community (Chaiken, Greenwood, and Petersilia).
The idea that a closer partnership between the police and local residents could help reduce crime and disorder began to emerge throughout the 1970s. One of the reasons why this consideration was appealing to police departments was because the recognition that the police and the community were co-producers of police services spread the blame for increasing crime rates (Skogan and Hartnett). An innovative project in San Diego specifically recognized this developing theme by encouraging line officers to identify and solve community problems on their beats (Boydstun and Sherry).
The importance of foot patrol. It is clear that challenges to the traditional policing model and the assumption that the police could reduce crime on their own, helped generate interest in policing alternatives. However, it was not until the late 1970s that both researchers and police practitioners began to focus more intently on the specific elements associated with communityoriented policing. The major catalyst for this change was the reimplementation of foot patrol in U.S. cities. In 1978, Flint, Michigan, became the first city in a generation to create a city-wide program that took officers out of their patrol cars and assigned them to walking beats (Kelling and Moore). Meanwhile, a similar foot patrol program was launched in Newark, New Jersey.
The difference between these two lay primarily in their implementation. In Flint, foot patrol was part of a much broader program designed to involve officers in community problem-solving (Trojanowicz). In contrast, the Newark Foot Patrol Experiment, which was modeled on the study of preventive patrol in Kansas City, focused specifically on whether the increased visibility of officers patrolling on foot helped deter crime. Results from these innovative programs were encouraging. It appeared that foot patrol in Flint significantly reduced citizens' fear of crime, increased officer morale, and reduced crime. In Newark, citizens were actually able to recognize whether they were receiving higher or lower levels of foot patrol in their neighborhoods. In areas where foot patrol was increased, citizens believed that their crime problems had diminished in relation to other neighborhoods. In addition, they reported more positive attitudes toward the police. Similarly, those officers in Newark who were assigned to foot patrol experienced a more positive relationship with community members, but, in contrast to Flint, foot patrol did not appear to reduce crime. The finding that foot patrol reduced citizen fear of crime demonstrated the importance of a policing tactic that fostered a closer relationship between the police and the community.
As foot patrol was capturing national attention, Herman Goldstein proposed a new approach to policing that helped synthesize some of the key elements of community policing into a broader and more innovative framework. Foot patrol and police-community cooperation were integral parts of Goldstein's approach, but what distinguished problem-oriented policing (POP) was its focus on how these factors could contribute to a police officer's capacity to identify and solve neighborhood problems. By delineating a clear series of steps, from identifying community problems to choosing among a broad array of alternative solutions to law enforcement, Goldstein showed how increased cooperation between the police and community could do more than reduce fear of crime. An intimate familiarity with local residents could also provide the police with an invaluable resource for identifying and solving the underlying causes of seemingly unrelated and intractable community problems. With its common emphasis on police-community partnerships, parts of the philosophy of problem-oriented policing were readily incorporated into ideas about community policing.
The beginnings of a coherent community policing approach (1980s). Interest in the development of community policing accelerated with the 1982 publication of an article entitled "Broken Windows." Published in a national magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, the article received a great deal of public exposure. Drawing upon the findings of the Newark Foot Patrol Experiment, James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling constructed a compelling and highly readable argument challenging the traditional crime-fighting role of the police, and exploring the relationship between social disorder, neighborhood decline, and crime.
According to Wilson and Kelling, officers on foot patrol should focus on problems such as aggressive panhandling or teenagers loitering on street corners that reduce the quality of neighborhood life. Similar to a broken window, the aggressive panhandler, or the rowdy group of teenagers, represent the initial signs of social disorder. Left unchecked they can make citizens fearful for their personal safety and create the impression that nobody cares about the neighborhood. Over time, this untended behavior increases the level of fear experienced by lawabiding citizens, who begin to withdraw from neighborhood life. As residents retreat inside their homes, or even choose to leave the area altogether, local community controls enervate and disorderly elements take over the neighborhood. Eventually, this process of neighborhood deterioration can lead to an increase in predatory crime. Wilson and Kelling argue that by patrolling beats on foot and focusing on initial problems of social disorder, the police can reduce fear of crime and stop the process of neighborhood decay.
Goldstein's work and Wilson and Kelling's article sparked widespread interest in problem solving, foot patrol, and the relationship between the police and the community, all of which were becoming broadly associated with community policing. Police departments were quick to seize upon the ideas and publicity generated by these scholars, and in the 1980s they experimented with numerous problem-and communityoriented initiatives. In 1986 problem-oriented policing programs were implemented in Baltimore County, Maryland, and Newport News, Virginia (Taft; Eck and Spelman). In Baltimore County, small units composed of fifteen police officers were assigned to specific problems and responsible for their successful resolution. In Newport News, the police worked with the community to identify burglaries as a serious problem in the area. The solution involved the police acting as community organizers and brokering between citizens and other agencies to address the poor physical condition of the buildings. Ultimately the buildings were demolished and residents relocated, but more importantly problem-oriented policing demonstrated that the police were capable of adopting a new role, and it did appear to reduce crime (Eck and Spelman).
An initiative to reduce the fear of crime in Newark and Houston through different police strategies, such as storefront community police stations and a community-organizing police response team, was successful in reducing citizens' fear of crime (Pate et al.). Interestingly, the results in Houston suggested that generally the program was more successful in the areas that needed it least. Whites, middle-class residents, and homeowners in low-crime neighborhoods were more likely to visit or call community substations than minorities, those with low incomes, and renters (Brown and Wycoff).
These studies further catalyzed interest in community policing and problem solving, and from 1988 to 1990 the National Institute of Justice sponsored the Perspectives on Policing Seminars at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Not only did this help popularize these innovations in policing, but it helped scholars and practitioners refine and synthesize the mixture of ideas and approaches labeled community-and problem-oriented policing. One policing seminar paper in particular received a great deal of scholarly attention. The Evolving Strategy of Policing, by George Kelling and Mark Moore, summarized the history of policing and identified what was unique about recent developments in the field. In contrasting three different policing approaches and finishing with the advent of the "community problem-solving era," Kelling and Moore appeared to be sounding a clarion call, announcing the arrival of a complete paradigm shift in law enforcement.
In the face of such bold proclamations, it is unsurprising that scholars began to examine community policing more critically, and queried whether it could fulfill its advocates' many promises. Contributors to an edited volume on community policing entitled Community Policing: Rhetoric or Reality? noted that without a workable definition of community policing, its successful implementation was difficult. They also suggested that community policing might just be "old wine in new bottles," or even a communityrelations exercise employed by police departments to boost their legitimacy in the eyes of the public (Greene and Mastrofski). The outgrowth of these thoughtful criticisms was to encourage researchers to design more rigorous methodological studies that could evaluate the effects of community policing more clearly.
Community policing as a national reform movement (1990s and beyond). By the 1990s, community policing had become a powerful national movement and part of everyday policing parlance. Encouraged by the federal funds made available through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), police departments across the country shifted their attention toward implementing community policing reforms. Annual conferences on community policing became commonplace, and researchers began to study community-policing programs in cities all over America. Besides the availability of funds and promising research findings, the political appeal of community policing and its close affinity to long-term trends in societal organization contributed to the widespread acceptance of community policing (Skogan and Hartnett).
Given the large concentration of African Americans and Hispanics in American cities, groups who have historically been engaged in a hostile relationship with the police, an approach to law enforcement that promised to improve police-community relations by working with, rather than targeting, racial and ethnic minorities held great appeal for local politicians concerned with pleasing their constituents. In addition, community policing reflected a more general underlying trend in the structure, management, and marketing practices of large organizations. In contrast to rigid bureaucracies and their dependence on standard rules and policies, decentralization created smaller, more flexible units to facilitate a speedier and more specialized response to the unique conditions of different organizational environments. Rather than emphasizing control through a strict organizational hierarchy, management layers were reduced, organizational resources were made more accessible, and both supervisors and their subordinates were encouraged to exercise autonomy and independence in the decision-making process. Finally, the extent to which consumers were satisfied with the market produce, in this case police services, became an important criteria for measuring police performance (Skogan and Hartnett).
At the outset of the twenty-first century, the momentum behind community policing shows no signs of slowing down. Even though police departments may have been slow to adopt all the philosophical precepts, tactical elements, and organizational changes commensurate with the entire community-policing model, its slow and steady evolution suggests that it is a permanent fixture on the landscape of American policing (Zhao and Thurman).
Democracy Dies in Darkness
Trump: Law enforcement's worst nightmare
by Jennifer Rubin
No president has heaped more scorn on and dished out as many blatant untruths about law enforcement than President Trump has with regard to the FBI. No president has treated the premier federal law enforcement agency — or the rest of our intelligence community — with such contempt. Likewise, no president before Trump ever routinely attacked and litigated against local police officials regarding their decision to prioritize fighting violent crime and the cultivation of effective community relations over serving as minions to federal immigration authorities.
So when Trump told a gathering of the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Monday that Democrats were the ones bad-mouthing law enforcement, one could only marvel at another tour de force of hypocrisy.
“Politicians who spread this dangerous anti-police sentiment make life easier for criminals and more dangerous for law-abiding citizens, and they also make it more dangerous for police, and it must stop, and it must stop now,” Trump said.
That's exactly right — and Trump should apologize to the FBI for all his false, insulting allegations that make the bureau's job harder. He should never have allowed congressional allies to impugn the integrity of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts. He should have fired his TV lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, when he called FBI agents executing a lawfully obtain search warrant on Michael Cohen “stormtroopers.” He should never have denigrated prosecutors (during the trial no less) who successfully obtained convictions against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He should apologize to and cease public attacks on Bruce Ohr, a career Justice Department official.
Trump and the Republicans still fancy the GOP as the party of law and order. “Every single day of my administration, we will stand for law, order, and justice,” he proclaimed. The reality is different. Trump has threatened to fire the special counsel; he has harangued the attorney general (for following ethics laws to recuse himself in the Russia investigation); he has denigrated “so-called” judges; he has encouraged police to manhandle criminal suspects in violation of statutes and the Constitution; he has regularly demonstrated contempt for due process (“Lock her up!”) for his political enemies; and he has fawned over international leaders who abhor the rule of law, disregard civil rights and terrorize their own people. He has also gone so far as to endanger and out a confidential intelligence source.
A law-and-order president would not call an investigation into crimes and national security violations associated with the 2016 election a “witch hunt.” A law-and-order president would not falsely claim there has been illegal voting on a massive scale, nor falsely accuse illegal immigrants of causing a nonexistent crime wave.
For ideological reasons, Trump continues to pursue policies that many law enforcement agencies and officials oppose. They'd like to spend their time fighting violent crime, not pursuing nonviolent marijuana users. Not Trump. Many law enforcement officials would like to see reasonable gun safety laws. Not Trump.
Then there is his own conduct. We've never had a president who allegedly helped defraud the taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars as part of his family's tax evasion operation. With the exception of Richard M. Nixon, Trump is the only president who has orchestrated from the Oval Office a scheme to interfere with and disable an ongoing investigation. We've never caught one on tape urging his private attorney to evade campaign-finance laws to pay hush money to a former paramour.
Trump is unique in his ability to surround himself with criminals. His former national security adviser, former campaign chairman and deputy campaign chairman, personal lawyer and a batch of campaign advisers have either pleaded guilty or been convicted of crimes.
Rather than constantly playing defense, you would think Democrats would turn the tables on the GOP. If Republicans want to excuse tax cheating and claim the president cannot be held to account for obstruction of justice, if they want to falsely accuse the FBI of wrongdoing, and if they make the job of police harder, they can no longer call themselves the party of law and order.
No, a party that wants to be known for devotion to law, order and justice must defend law enforcement and an independent judiciary against scurrilous attacks, make crystal clear that the president must abide by the law and pursue policies that help rather than distract law enforcement from their core mission, and zealously defend civil liberties.
The GOP might be the ends-justify-the-means party, or the whataboutism party or the laws-are-for-thee-but-not-for-me party, but certainly not the law-and-order party. Democrats might want to try saying as much, and argue that if it is law and order voters want, they should throw out the least pro-law-enforcement president in history
What is Community Policing?
“Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.”
-- Community Policing Defined Report from Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) from the US Department of Justice
Community Policing Analysis
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Criminology, “Community-Oriented Policing to Reduce Crime, Disorder and Fear and Increase Satisfaction and Legitimacy among Citizens: A Systematic Review,” systematically reviewed and synthesized the existing research on community-oriented policing to identify its effects on crime, disorder, fear, citizen satisfaction, and police legitimacy.
The study found:
Community-policing strategies reduce individuals' perception of disorderly conduct and increase citizen satisfaction.
In studying 65 independent assessments that measured outcomes before and after community-oriented policing strategies were introduced, they found 27 instances where community-oriented policing was associated with 5% to 10% greater odds of reduced crime.
16 of the 65 comparisons showed community-oriented policing was associated with a 24% increase in the odds of citizens perceiving improvements in disorderly conduct.
23 comparisons measured citizen satisfaction with police, and found that community-oriented programs were effective almost 80% of the cases, and citizens were almost 40% more likely to be satisfied with the work of the police.
Although this study was not definitive, it provides important evidence for the benefits of community policing for improving perceptions of the police. The overall findings are ambiguous, and show there is a need to explicate and test a logic model that explains how short-term benefits of community policing, like improved citizen satisfaction, relate to longer-term crime prevention effects, and to identify the policing strategies that benefit most from community participation.
University of New Haven professor to testify at congressional briefing
by Anne Kringen
WEST HAVEN — A University of New Haven criminal justice professor is set to testify today at a congressional briefing that will examine improving justice for women and girls, the university said in a release.
Anne Kringen, a former police officer, is considered an expert on racial and gender disparity in policing, police hiring and recruiting, community policing and the organizational structures of police departments, the university said.
The congressional briefing in Washington D.C. is titled “Improving Justice for Women and Girls.”
Kringen is expected to discuss the challenges faced by women working in law enforcement and barriers that females face in the hiring process to become police officers, according to the release. She was the only scholar from New England invited to participate, the university said.
“Only by understanding these issues can we begin to move the discussion in a healthy direction that is oriented toward mutual understanding,” Kringen said in the release.
Experts from American University, UCLA, Michigan State and The Citadel are also expected to testify in front of an audience of more than 100 U.S. senators and representatives as well as their legislative staffs, officials said.
After the briefing, Kringen will develop a manuscript that will be published in a forthcoming special issue of Translational Criminology, the magazine of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University, according to the release.
Kringen recently spent a year working within a major metropolitan police department to study its hiring process.
“I can say that the organization, including many members of the command staff, was grateful for the research that I conducted and the recommendations that I made,” she said in the release. “As a result, several rules impacting women within the department were changed.”
This, she says, illustrates that it is not necessarily police departments do not want to diversify.
“Rather, two key problems may make it difficult for agencies to address these issues,” she said in the release. “First, many of the rules related to hiring are outside the control of individual departments. Second, police departments often lack any guidance as to how to best attempt to address limited diversity.”
Concord Police to get state's first comfort dog
4-month-old yellow Labrador now in training
by Siobhan Lopez
CONCORD, N.H. — An adorable 4-month-old puppy is in the midst of rigorous training to join the Concord Police Department.
But Liberty won't be your typical K-9. She's believed to be the state's first comfort dog for a police department.
Once the yellow Labrador's training is completed with the New Hampshire-based non-profit Hero Pups, Liberty will be available to comfort victims of crimes, and accompany officers at community events.
Liberty was introduced to the Concord City Council this week. Between help from Hero Pups and other donations, the chief said he doesn't expect to ask the city for any money to take care of the new 4-legged recruit.
“In my nearly 30 years as a police officer in the city of Concord, I can attest that the Concord Police officers get community policing and they get it right,” said department chief Bradley Osgood.
Hero Pups typically train service dogs for first responders and veterans.
“This is a little bit out of our wheelhouse, but how could we miss an opportunity to be able to help so many hundreds of people every year?” said Laura Barker, founder of Hero Pups.
The public can meet Liberty at the Halloween Howl in Concord on October 26th. She's expected to be with the department full-time by next spring
New York City
NYPD expanding community policing to city's transit system
by Jose Martinez
NEW YORK - The New York City Police Department is ramping up policing efforts, this time below city streets.
Fifteen percent more uniformed officers will start patrolling trains and subway platforms.
They're expanding policing to four transit districts and eventually to all 12 districts by 2019.
The NYPD says the goal is to make subways safer, while also building relationships between straphangers and transit officers.
"This is our way foward as a police department and as a city. It's about sharing the responsibility for our public safety and taking steps together," said Police Commissioner James O'Neill.
"It is crime and it is quality of life. When I have officers assigned to certain stations, they are responsible for everything that goes on there. They are responsible for the quality of life conditions," said NYPD Chief Edward Delatorre.
Through the first half of 2018, crime in the transit system was down 5.5 percent.
Robbery is the only major crime category that has gone up, now at six percent.
New community policing team having immediate impact
by Jessica Heffner
A specialized grassroots policing team is having success attacking crime one tip at a time.
The Dayton Police Department's east patrol division initialized the Community Problem Response Team, or CPRT, to tackle issues that impact the community's overall well-being, but “take more than 20 minutes to solve,” said Sgt. Matt Beavers, supervisor of the new team.
“They were trying to figure out ways to get a group of officers who could handle the neighborhood problems,” Beavers said. “And we don't just want to solve their problems, but to help them solve some of their problems on their own.”
Comprised of six full-time officers plus Beavers, CPRT responds to every call, from nuisance complaints to drug activity.
During an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the team in action Thursday, officers apprehended 32-year-old Jamie Grachek, wanted on complicity to murder charges out of Riverside from the 2013 robbery and killing of her husband, 45-year-old John T. Grachek. They also made arrests on two felony warrants.
The arrests can be attributed to good police work and citizens' tips, Beavers said.
But it's more than just crime fighting. The team participates in community events, sharing information on what's happening in individual neighborhoods and listening to concerns. The key to success, Beavers said, is getting citizens involved in the program, encouraging them to call in complaints and work with the neighbors to solve problems.
“We need their help in identifying people, calling stuff in, working with us to clean up their neighborhoods,” he said.
The team's already had success since getting their start in November. Most notably, CPRT made more than 30 drug-related arrests along North Smithville Road in the past month, which can be directly attributed to citizen tips and complaints. To date, the team has responded to 2,424 calls and made 649 arrests.
After a rash of vacant house arsons, officers went door-to-door talking to neighbors to share information and gather suspect descriptions. While no arrests were made, the fires have stopped, and resident and local businesswoman Jan Lepore-Jentleson said she believes that directly a result of police work.
“A lot of people felt a lot better when the arsons stopped,” she said. “I think there's a growing feeling of improved safety in our community because of the new team.”
Latest community policing report built on 'us vs. them' mentality, advocacy group says
by NICOLE MONDRAGON
A local group advocating for racial equality has again rejected the argument that the city must hire more police officers to more widely implement community-oriented policing.
Race Matters, Friends said a report released last week embraces an “us vs. them” mentality and focuses on a ballot initiative to fund more staff instead of laying out a plan for community-oriented policing, according to a release.
In February, the Columbia City Council directed City Manager Mike Matthes to create a plan for community-oriented policing in the city. He appointed Police Sgt. Robert Fox to lead a series of meetings through the summer to gather community input. Fox and Matthes released their report to council members Wednesday. The council is scheduled to discuss the report at Tuesday's meeting.
Traci Wilson-Kleekamp — president of Race Matters, Friends — said the department's report was a missed opportunity to transform policing and the city of Columbia.
“Our city manager is more in love with the status quo than authentic change,” she said in a release.
The advocacy group has long maintained that the department could embrace a philosophy of community-oriented policing without adding additional officers. Wilson-Kleekamp cited the department's 2015 report on the recommendations made by the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which reported minimal costs to implement the philosophy of open communication between the community and department.
The newer report states that the police department lacks the resources to expand community policing, though it is willing to do so if taxpayers approve the necessary increase.
The council resolution directing Matthes and Fox to create the report called for it to include a timeline, budget, new policies and a way to measure and evaluate progress. Race Matters, Friends said the report doesn't deliver on some of those specifics, including:
A timeline for implementing community-oriented policing. Instead, the report projects a timeline for a property tax ballot initiative.
A budget for funding departmental “culture change.” Instead, the report proposes a budget for increasing the number of officers and their pay.
Clear proposals for policies that support community-oriented policing.
In the release, Rachel Haverstick-Taylor, secretary of Race Matters, Friends, said the police department's report blames the black community for “its own disparate policing” and the community for not paying enough in taxes to fund the department. The group also calls out Fox for blaming black people for violence and the “illegal marijuana trade,” further pushing an “us vs. them” mentality.
Did Los Angeles Lose a Community Policing Grant Because of Its Sanctuary Policy?
by Preston Huennekens
Every year the Department of Justice awards millions of dollars to local law enforcement entities. Attorney General Jeff Sessions elected to withhold certain grant funding for sanctuary jurisdictions over their refusal to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Sessions cited 8 USC 1373, which says that no government can in any way restrict the exchange of information with federal immigration authorities. Many of these jurisdictions joined together in a lawsuit against Sessions for withholding the funds they had previously received under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. (My colleague Andrew Arthur wrote about a similar lawsuit earlier today.)
The city of Los Angeles is one of the prominent parties in the JAG program lawsuit. In its complaint, the city cited a second grant as well: the Community Policing Development (CPD) program administered by the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) branch.
The CPD grant fund is much smaller than the JAG program. In 2018, the program made available up to $10 million in funds, but only awarded about $6 million of that. The Justice Department awards these grants to public governmental agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations, universities, community groups, and faith-based organizations for the purpose of advancing community policing best practices. Unlike the JAG program, which provides funding directly for law enforcement purposes, the CPD grants are designed only for developing strategies to increase the effectiveness of community policing.
Although Los Angeles is accusing the Justice Department of withholding the CPD grant money over the city's sanctuary laws, they have not received a CPD grant since 2014. A total of 81 groups received award money between 2014 to 2018. Of those 81, only 29 were "public government agencies", including city administrations and police departments. In 2018, only one public government agency received funds of any kind: The Texas Department of Public safety received a grant for $99,784.
The following figures and table use data from the Community Policing Development and Microgrant Awards for the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
The total award amount of all grants in the CPD program has remained above $5 million every year with the exception of 2017. The most money granted in the past five years was in 2015, exceeding 2018's total available reward ($10 million) by over $1.4 million.
Organizations located in sanctuary states received less money in 2018 than they did in any of the previous years, although it is important to note that this money does not necessarily reflect actual government agencies, such as police departments, but rather various non-profit groups and advocacy outlets. Many of those groups are located in Washington, D.C. Groups located in the nation's capital received the greatest amount of award money in the past five years:
State Award Total (2014-2018)
Washington, D.C. $8,249,021
New York $1,007,172
North Carolina $497,645
West Virginia $300,000
Washington (state) $169,206
South Dakota $75,000
Organizations in Illinois and California, both sanctuary states, received awards every year except for 2018. But little of that money went to police departments or state agencies. Only one Illinois government agency, the City of Park Ridge in 2014, received money in the past five years. More than half of Illinois' total reward money came from a one-time grant of $4.85 million awarded in 2015 to Hillard Heintze LLC, a consulting firm. In California, only four public-sector entities received money in the same time frame. The greatest share of the money allocated to California groups came from a one-time grant of $1.09 million to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It's hard for the city to now argue that Sessions was "targeting" the city of Los Angeles by withholding this grant money from them, when they made no such complaint in 2015 when the city received no funds under the Obama administration.
The Community Police Development grants do not make or break state and local law enforcement agency budgets. The grants fund programs used to promote community policing strategies. Many of these funds do not even go to police departments, but to NGOs and universities.
The City of Los Angeles may believe they were targeted by Sessions and the DOJ over their sanctuary policies, as their lawsuit alleges. But it looks more like their application simply was not competitive for other reasons, as was the case in prior years.
Hank's View: What to make of the community policing report
by Hank Waters
For months and years now the community has been talking about community policing. It is generally agreed, I think, that the city and the police department have made an encouraging, if limited, start toward implementing the concept.
Not long ago, the Columbia City Council asked the city manager to make a report on progress and proposed next steps. City Manager Mike Matthes hired police Sgt. Robert Fox to make the report, which the council discussed at its meeting last Monday. Several members criticized an "us vs. them" tone. Mayor Brian Treece said the report made too much of an allegation that the news media creates a negative perception of police. Second Ward councilman Mike Trapp said the report was "strong" but the "missing piece" is the need for police to rebuild trust with the "African American community."
Councilman Ian Thomas of the Fourth Ward said "reciprocity and forgiveness" on the part of police officers is needed for relations to improve. He agreed with local activist Carol Brown who said the report emphasized hiring additional officers rather than first "changing the philosophy" in the department to embrace the concept of community policing. He apologized the next day for what seemed like criticism of the police.
From a community perspective, this exchange seems like more of the same overgeneralized conjecture and unrealistic expectations. It is overly simplistic to expect problems to disappear by hiring 60 additional officers, as the Fox report suggests. It is overly simplistic to expect intradepartmental changes in philosophy to erase problems. If the Fox report has an "us vs. them" tone, it accurately reports the flavor of contentions made by people purporting to speak for the various contenders in the debate. My hunch is less presumptive allegation and more trial and error would be in order.
By that I mean let's build on what the cops already are doing with community policing, recognizing it is not ultimately enough, but progress is more likely to be made incrementally with demonstration rather than happening suddenly with contentious arguments about how the other side is failing.
I mean, we are not about to hire 60 more police officers in the next budget cycle, nor is a sudden wave of transformational "reciprocity and forgiveness" likely to engulf the department.
If you talk with the small band of officers actually working the nascent community policing beats, they will report a much more positive picture. What the council and the community need to see is how well this can work as a basis for taking next steps, including adding more officers and changing attitudes.
If we see garden variety rapport sprouting in troublesome neighborhoods, we will be more willing to try for more than merely because a few activist scolds tell us we are failing. I reckon everybody is for "community policing" if getting there involves building on success rather than reacting to flagellation.
Can Community Policing Help Tackle Organized Crime in Mexico?
by Anna Grace
The police force in Morelia worked more closely with the local community to fight crime A community-focused policing program that has produced positive results in one of Mexico's most violent states suggests that alternative forms of policing could be a way forward to quell rising violence, but the question remains: can they help tackle organized crime?
Under the program — which was established in 2015 in Morelia, the capital city of southwestern Michoacán state, by local police chief Bernardo León Olea — lawyers, psychologists and social workers cooperate with police to provide victim support, and community meetings are held to improve public relations with the police, the New York Times reported.
The police force tripled in size and officers were given new uniforms, among other benefits. However, a proposed salary raise never came to fruition.
Since the program began, public perceptions of safety and trust in the local police have improved, contrasting with concerns surrounding police corruption elsewhere in Mexico.
Authorities in Morelia also reported a drop in intentional homicides between 2015 and 2017, whereas homicides across Michoacán as a whole spiked in the same period. The state has one of the highest rates of organized crime-related murders in Mexico, according to an independent study.
However, during the first six months of 2018, homicide rates in Morelia increased once more.
Still, León Olea, who left his post in September 2018, argues that the program is part of the reason for the temporary improvement in security, despite those who criticize his work and deny that Morelia was safer under his command.
InSight Crime Analysis
León Olea's model indicates that more effective and less destructive alternatives exist for tackling violence and organized crime instead of the militarized approach long-favored by the Mexican government.
The use of military forces to combat domestic security threats — principally organized crime groups — has generally led to an uptick in violence in Mexico and across the region.
Rather than aggressively pursuing criminals, the project in Morelia placed an emphasis on strengthening ties between the public and the police force.
“Community policing seems to help restore this public confidence in police,” Brian Phillips, a security expert and associate professor at the Centre for Research and Teaching in Economics in Mexico City, told Insight Crime. “This is crucial for reducing crime.”
However, it remains to be seen whether similar measures could prove effective on a national scale. Community-focused policing programs have traditionally had isolated and ephemeral effects, evidenced by the temporary decrease in homicides experienced in Morelia.
“It's great to see the progress in Morelia, but it's unclear how replicable this model is,” Phillips said. “Corruption is endemic in many places, and there aren't resources for social programs or police salaries.”
Furthermore, simple, localized measures are unlikely to deter Mexico's highly sophisticated and violent criminal groups.
“Local police enforcement has very little impact on organized crime,” Jaime López, a security policy consultant told Insight Crime. “It isn't meant for that and it's simply not built for that.”
If the Mexican government is to be more successful in tackling organized crime, the focus must lie elsewhere.
“We need better investigative teams and more money for the justice system. It's not so much about police but about prosecution — investigating cases and arresting culprits,” López said.
Task force wants community policing to be department-wide job
GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- About 6 percent of the Grand Rapids Police Department's sworn officers are designated community policing specialists, which separates them from the department's patrol officers.
The group tasked with reviewing the department's policies and procedures for susceptibilities to unequal policing is recommending that every officer in the ranks take ownership of the community officer title.
"Community policing is not just a program where you play with the kids," said Ron Davis, principal for the Grand Rapids-hired 21st Century Policing Solutions firm. "Community policing includes how you fight crime, the strategies you use, and the impact it has on the community."
The city's 14-member Police Policy and Procedures Task Force recommends that every officer being trained on, and tasked with, problem-oriented policing strategies designed to find more effective ways of dealing with the community's challenges.
Additionally, every officer would be evaluated on community policing principals like engagement, collaboration, problem-solving, and building trust and legitimacy under the recommendations.
"Community policing can't be a group of officers or a unit," said Davis, who presented the task force's 38 recommendations to the city commission this week at Grand Rapids City Hall.
"A lot of departments will create a community policing unit. If the beat officers and patrol officers aren't engaged then it allows a beat officer to say community policing is what they do, not what I do. I do real policing, they do community policing."
Task force calls for more cultural competency training for police
Police Chief David Rahinsky has regularly said he expects every officer in his department to consider themselves a community officer. The distinction of community-policing specialist is meant to have some officers not tied to responding to calls for service so they can carry out other responsibilities.
The police department has 16 community policing specialists, who work 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekday shifts and are tasked with visiting local schools and businesses, attending neighborhood meetings, addressing growing community concerns and building positive relationships throughout their assigned area.
Staffing constraints have pulled those community-policing specialists in to backup patrol officers, however, and Rahinsky has repeatedly asked the city commission to approve funding for additional officers to allow for more community policing.
The commission has been hesitant to approve spending for more officers.
Some commissioners have also echoed the desire to have community policing be a department-wide initiative, and they've made the point that those officers who specialize in building community relationships aren't the same officers regularly responding to calls for service.
Of the task force's eight suggestions related to community policing and crime reduction, five involved a department-wide focus on community policing.
The group wants the police department to free up its patrol officers so they can each complete quarterly problem-oriented policing projects. Their suggestion includes an incentive program for such projects, and adjusted annual performance metrics for officer evaluations.
Problem-oriented policing is an analytic method to develop strategies that prevent and reduce crime by tackling underlying conditions that lead to recurring crime problems.
"What you want to identify is that every officer and civilian dispatcher alike has a role to contribute to community policing," Davis said. "That doesn't mean you may not have a special unit that's a liaison and coordinating and doing a lot of activities a beat officer might not have time for, but it can't just be their responsibility."
Additionally, the group called for:
The city commission to adopt a resolution that mandates community policing as the operating philosophy of the police department, and requires all city departments to contribute to enhancing public safety through community collaboration.
The police department to develop a citywide community policing plan that incorporates crime-reduction strategies, community engagement and partnerships, and police department oversight.
The department to include community members in its process to collect, analyze and map crime data and other essential police performance measures.
Review of Grand Rapids Police playbook gets update with end in sight
Rahinsky didn't have an opportunity to respond to any of the recommendations at Tuesday's meeting. In the past, he has said his officers want to spend more time building relationships in the community and partaking in non-enforcement activities. To do so, he said, would require more officers.
Last month, the city commission voted 5-2 to approve a series of investments for improving community-police relations. Included in the list was an external staffing and deployment analysis of the department. The study is expected to take three to four months.
The city hasn't selected a consultant for the staffing study yet.
The police department has 295 officers -- or about 1.5 officers per 1,000 residents. That's less than the 2016 national average of 2.4, according to FBI data, and falls short of several comparable cities nationwide.
All 38 task force recommendations will be presented to the public during a community event next month. At that time, a 21st Century Policing spokesperson will present the firm's review of the police department.
The 14-member body is made up of equal parts police and community representatives, including Marques Beene, Janay Brower, Sonja Forte, Ed Kettle, Maria Moreno-Reyes, Huemartin Robinson, Raynard Ross, Police Chief David Rahinsky, Deputy Chief Eric Payne, Capt. Michael Maycroft, Lt. John Bylsma, Sgt. Jana Forner, Sgt. Dan Adams and Officer Andrew Bingel.
NPD to take part in new program
The Norman Police Department is beginning a new partnership with the Police Training Institute by taking part in its Fight Crime: Invest in Kids program. The objective of the partnership is to provide the agency with additional tools that can assist with daily interactions with the Norman's youth.
In existence since 2016, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids uses a two-phase approach to develop and implement training for police agencies.
The first involves research on the department's current youth engagement and community outreach efforts. In the second phase, program personnel customize model training plans for a comprehensive curriculum. The result is a program that educates the agency and engages youth to bridge the gaps between law enforcement and the community.
"Fundamental to community policing and crime reduction is the emphasis on police practices that promote the dignity of all community members -- especially youth. For years, our agency has pursued a variety of programs designed to minimize unnecessary stigma on young people who have had a negative encounter with the police," Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey said. "We have also reached out to at-risk youth through leadership training initiatives and positive youth/police collaboration and interaction efforts.
"We now have an opportunity to partner with the Police Training Institute in an effort to affirm and recognize the voices of youth in our community and to facilitate their participation in police/community research and problem-solving."
The Police Training Institute will begin the research phase of the project the third week of October. It includes site visits, listening sessions, ride-alongs and town hall meetings to provide researchers the opportunity to become familiar with the characteristics of the Norman Police Department, its patrol functions and the Norman community.
Following the research phase, the Police Training Institute will craft the 16-hour law enforcement curriculum focusing on topics such as adolescent brain development, de-escalation skills and techniques, implicit bias barriers and trauma-informed response protocols. All agency members will take part in the training.
"We look forward to the pre-training and training visits because we have a consistent desire for growth that will provide avenues for members of our community and members of our department to expand understanding and, ultimately, reduce crime," he said.
S. African Parliament calls for intensified policing in communities amid increased household crime
CAPE TOWN -- Police visibility in communities and effective community policing should be intensified to cope with rising household crime, Parliament said on Friday.
Community policing must be underpinned by better response from police units to crime reporting and crime incidents, Parliament's Portforlio Committee on Police said in a statement sent to Xinhua.
Detection rates for various crime categories were still too low and the Detective Services division should ramp up their efforts to deal with current deficiencies, Committee Chairperson Francois Beukman said.
This came after the release on Thursday of the Victims of Crime Survey by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) which shows that crime was on the increase, with an estimated 1.24 million households experiencing crime over the period from March 31, 2017 to April 1, 2018.
According to the survey, housebreaking and burglary was the most prevalent crime affecting South Africans, accounting for 54 percent of all household crimes surveyed, as police visibility declined in the period surveyed.
It is estimated that the proportion of South Africans who never saw a police officer in uniform during the past 12 months increased by six percent during the period, the survey says.
This necessitated the South African Police Service (SAPS) to intensify the visibility of police units throughout the country, Beukman said.
"Regular police patrols, more roadblocks in hotspot areas, efficient sector policing, increased cooperation with community patrollers and Community Police Forums, private security companies and neighborhood watches are key in finding long-term solutions," Beukman said.
The survey also shows that more South Africans were dissatisfied with police. The percentage of South Africans who were satisfied with police response in the recording period was 54 percent, a decrease of 5.5 percent from the previous year.
While expressing concern over the drop in public's satisfaction with police, Beukman said filling all vacant posts at police stations should be prioritized.
Furthermore, efforts to recruit more police reservists as a force multiplier is more important than ever before, said Beukman.
It is essential that high crime spots were prioritized in the allocation of members, relevant equipment and vehicles, he added.
21 Terrifying Cyber Crime Statistics
by JACK FOSTER
It may not be a nice topic to talk about, but it is essential that the world is aware of the terrifying cyber crime statistics in 2018.
Unfortunately, with technology on the rise, there's more room for cyber crime in 2018. According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018, 43% of businesses were a victim of a cyber security breach in the last 12 months. In the U.S., the state of California lost more than $214 million through cyber crime alone.
VPN's are being used more and more in order to protect people's privacy online. Though, despite being made aware of the risks of clicking a link, or opening an email, the figures show that attacks are ever increasing.
With evolving technology comes evolving hackers; the world are not keeping up with the fight against cyber crime – and that's scary!
#1 | 780,000 records were lost per day in 2017
According to McAfee's Economic Impact of Cyber Crime (February 2018) cyber criminals adapt at a fast pace. The scale of malicious activity across the internet is quite astounding. The figures are frightening on a monthly or yearly scale, let alone daily! Cyber criminals are constantly finding new technologies to target victims. With the introduction of Bitcoin, payment and transfers to/from cyber criminals is untraceable.
McAfee reports that one of the major internet service providers (ISP) sees 80 billion malicious scans a day.
#2 | Over 24,000 malicious mobile apps are blocked daily
Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report details that lifestyle apps are the main targets. The majority of these apps leak phone numbers. Further sensitive information like device location is also being made accessible. It would be completely impossible to monitor or check each of these apps for vulnerability issues. It's essentially an open ticket for cyber criminals to do their worst.
In the first quarter of 2018, Google Play had over 3.8 million apps on their store.
#3 | Microsoft Office file formats are the most used file extensions
In the top 10 most malicious file extensions, Microsoft Office took the number 1 spot. Emails are a common way for cyber criminals to attack their victims. Emails are used on a daily basis around the world. If you see an email containing a .doc or .xls file extension, most users would relate it to Microsoft. Microsoft being a reputable company means people are more likely to open an attachment.
According to Cisco's 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report, 38% were Office formats.
#4 | The U.S., U.K., & China are more vulnerable to Smart Home attacks
The majority of smart home devices are connected via an external network. If the router you're using doesn't have decent security protection, you could be opening up your home to a cyber attack. With smart home devices becoming more prevalent, criminals are finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities.
According to Trend Micro, The U.S., accounted for 28% of smart home device incidents. The U.K. and China followed with 7% each.
#5 | 21% of files aren't protected
Varonis's 2018 Global Data Risk Report is quite terrifying. 6.2 billion files were analysed. These files contained credit card information, health records, etc. 21% of these files were open for global access. Furthermore, 41% of companies have more than 1000 sensitive files open to everyone.
#6 | Healthcare industry ransomware attacks will quadruple
By 2020, CSO Online predicts ransomware attacks will be quadruple. The healthcare industry gets attacked more than most industries. Thankfully not all attacks will be successful. Healthcare industries should not give into demands and ensure their data is safe and backed up. Phishing emails are particularly common and often where cyber attacks originate from.
#7 | Cyber Crime to cost $6 trillion by 2021
In the 2017 Official Annual Cybercrime Report, it's estimated that cyber crime will cost $6 trillion annually by 2021. In 2015, that figure was $3 trillion.
Cyber crime is now becoming more profitable than the global trade of illegal drugs!
#8 | 30% of phishing emails in the U.S. are opened
That's almost one-third of all emails, according to Verizon's 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report. Phishing emails no longer take the same approach they used to. Do you remember seeing an email from your bank, Apple, PayPal etc. asking for sensitive information? With the figures that high, it's no wonder cyber criminals are preying on email victims.
So many of us receive these emails each day and 12% are clicking on the links/attachments contained within them.
#9 | 58% of U.K. businesses sought cyber security advice
The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017 shows U.K. businesses are more aware of cyber issues. However, it also shows that a large percentage of businesses aren't seeking any advice or potentially protecting themselves from threats.
79% of medium firms sought advice whereas only 50% of micro firms did.
#10 | 300 billion passwords worldwide by 2020
It may seem like passwords are dying, due to encryption etc. but according to Cyber Security Media, they're not. It's predicted that 300 billion passwords will be used by 2020. That takes into account humans and machines! That's an awful lot of passwords, all of which require cyber security protection. If not, that's 300 billion potential threats, worldwide.
#11 | French president Emmanuel Macron emails hacked
Yes, even a president can get hacked! In 2017 Emmanuel Macron's emails were hacked. His emails were posted online just days before he was due to go head to head against his opponent. 9GB worth of data was posted to Pastebin. Macron's campaign confirmed it had been hacked.
#12 | More than 60% of fraud originates from mobile devices
The world has gone mobile, and so have fraudsters. 60% of fraud comes from mobile devices; of that figure, 80% comes from mobile apps. Once a cyber criminal has access to your mobile, it can access your mobile banking app and initiate multiple levels of cyber crime. Fraudulent transactions are now over double the value of real transactions.
#13 | 2.53 million fall victim to cyber crime in UAE
In 2016, Norton by Symantec reported over 2.5 million people were victims of cyber crime in UAE. Despite reports stating that awareness of cyber crime was high, people are still engaging in online behaviour that is deemed as risky. People know they should be aware of links and protect their information. 70% of those people still click on information that they aren't 100% sure of. Millennial's seem to be the most affected group of people.
53% of millennial's experienced cyber crime in the last year.
#14 | Netherlands have the lowest cyber crime rate
In 2015, Symantec reported the Netherlands as having the lowest cyber crime rate. Only 14% of the population were affected. Although 14% is still high, compared to other countries, it wasn't! Indonesia, for example, was subject to the highest cyber crime rate in the world.
59% of the population fell victim to cyber crime.
#15 | Personal data sells for as little as $0.20
Have you ever thought how much your personal data is worth to you? Well, to some, it could sell for as little as $0.20, up to $15. Credit card information and account information can be accessed and purchased much more easily than you might think. The value of information is dependent on the type of details included. For example, credit card details are more valuable than other information. As well as this, it's also dependent on how easy it would be to resell the information. If it's too difficult, the value of personal data decreases.
#16 | Japanese exchange lost $530 million due to hacking
Coincheck is one of the biggest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges in Asia. In January 2018 it reported that it had lost $530 million due to hacking. Due to the incident, Coincheck seized and stopped all sales and withdrawals of it's cryptocurrency at the time. The cryptocurrency used for the exchange was called NEM. Coincheck deal with other cryptocurrencies too.
#17 | In 2016, Adware affected 75% of organisations
Cisco investigated 130 organisations in it's Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report. It found that 75% of companies were affected by adware. Adware in itself is a nuisance, but it can also facilitate further malware attacks. Adware presents itself in the form of advertisements. Whether you're using your device on or off the internet, adverts can be displayed. Often if you're trying to perform an internet search, the results direct you to other websites or marketing pop-ups to obtain your personal data.
#18 | Average ransomware demand is $1,077
Although not every ransomware demand is paid, the average demand value is $1,077. Since the last report, this shows an increase of around 266%! When victims are faced with a ransom amount, they often pay up. We rely on the internet for daily activities, for personal and work. We rely on the internet to connect our devices, and even our homes with the introduction of smart home products.
Demands are significantly increasing because we're so reliant on the internet. As ransomware attacks increase, we can expect the demand values to increase as well.
#19 | China have the most malware in the world
Over 55% of China's computers are infected with malware. Since 2014, that figure increased by nearly 30% more! Even with people being more and more aware about cyber crime, it's clear to see it doesn't stop attackers. Taiwan follow closely with 49% of their computers being infected. Of all the malware across the world, Trojans were the cause of the most infection. Trojan's are malicious programs that provide a back-door kind of entry to computers.
Once hacked, attackers can access personal information, passwords, and infect other devices connected to the same network.
#20 | 90% of hackers use encryption
Encryption is a process which involves encoding a message, information, or program. Encryption allows only authorised people to access it. For example, a document that may be readable in normal circumstances would appear completely illegible when encrypted. In order to access encrypted information, it must be decoded first. Hackers are of course aware of how best to hide their tracks. 90% of them use encrypted traffic to disguise what they're doing. If we, as users, used encryption to the same level, it would be much more difficult for cyber crime to take place.
#21 | Companies take over 6 months to notice a data breach
For me, this is one of the most terrifying statistics. Research suggests that most businesses take up to 197 days to notice breach of their data. ZDNet reports finance firms can take an average of 98 days! Due to the amount of time it takes for companies to realise a data breach, attackers are able to obtain even more information. Think about it, imagine what a cyber criminal can obtain over a 6 month period. Certain industries are of course more vulnerable to attacks, due to the data they hold.