Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
Why agencies should keep mounted, bike and foot patrols
Walking the beat is a fundamental element to community policing
with Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie
Walking the beat is a fundamental element to community policing. Other forms of patrol aimed principally at community engagement have officers mounted atop equine partners, and rolling around town on tricked-out mountain bikes. In all these cases, officers on foot create opportunities for the public to connect with their police (and vice versa). Conversely, when officers are wrapped in two tons of metal and plastic, that opportunity for real connection is essentially lost. In this podcast segment, Jim and Doug discuss the need for agencies to keep these types of patrol efforts well-staffed and supported.
4 ways officers can improve neighborhood relationships
If you know more criminals on your beat than citizens you protect, that's a problem – here are four ways to remedy that
Jan 16, 2019
As our profession begins to transition from one generation to the next, I have noticed newer officers struggling with how they can individually improve neighborhood relations.
Below are some tips I have practiced over the years to maintain great connections with my neighborhood. I believe if each and every one of us did the majority of these things, we would begin to turn the corner on what seems to be an all-out assault on the credibility of the law enforcement profession.
1. LIVE WHERE YOU WORK.
It's easy to say, “Screw the police,” but it's a lot more difficult to say, “Screw Deputy Hodges.” Living where you work allows you to know more people in your community than criminals. It also allows members of your community to know you outside of your law enforcement capacity.
I don't have to ask someone what the community thinks because I am a member of the community. Living where you work also shows those you police that you value them enough to live side by side with them. I realize that living in some police communities is cost prohibitive based on an officer's salary, but if at all possible living where you police is one thing you can do to improve neighborhood relations.
2. INTERACT WITH PEOPLE IN NON-ENFORCEMENT SITUATIONS.
A police officer's wife recently said to me, “My husband is a cop, but our kids don't have any interaction with cops other than him. They drive down the street with the windows rolled up and sunglasses on. I wish they would stop to say hi when they see us playing in the front yard.”
I believe that we have become disconnected from those whom we police. Policing using statistics and data-driven initiatives removes the human element from policing. If you know more criminals on your beat than citizens you protect, that's a problem.
Administrators helped create this problem with productivity logs. If you are rewarded for the number of citations you write rather than for the number of non-enforcement citizen interactions, what are you more likely to focus on?
Remember what I said, it's easy to say, “Screw the police,” not so easy to say, “Screw Deputy Hodges." Public perception is changed one person at a time.
3. VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
I cannot say enough about the importance of volunteering in the community you police. People who volunteer are active in their communities and are the type of people we need spreading the truth about our profession. Being a public servant should not stop when you take the uniform off – volunteering keeps you connected to the community you are policing.
4. DON'T READ, WATCH, OR SURF THE INTERNET FOR NEWS.
A wise police chief told me, “The media is not interested in the story; they are interested in a story.” If you believe what is written in the media is reflective of public sentiment you are gravely mistaken. The majority of the public supports law enforcement officers and what we do. The majority of the public wants to interact with us and get to know us as people. Unfortunately, many of us avoid these interactions, especially in certain communities, because of how we perceive they perceive us. The perception in the media is not the reality we live and we should conduct ourselves accordingly.
As a profession we must connect on a personal level with those we are charged with policing. The next generation of police officers will be successful if they become fully immersed in their communities. It is much harder to hate up close.
How to police from the heart in your community
Every day cops see people who need a helping hand beyond traditional policing services
by Nick Borges
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Seaside, California, is located on the central coast of the Monterey Peninsula. The peninsula is known for its beautiful beach fronts, world-renowned golf courses and being home to legendary actor, producer and director Clint Eastwood. However, the Monterey Peninsula is not all glamour and swank. At the center of the peninsula is a small town with a population of about 34,000 called Seaside.
The City of Seaside was incorporated in 1954. Through the years, this diverse community has had a history of gang violence and drug activity. There is no other area in Seaside more infamous for contributing to the city's reputation during the late 1960s and well into the 1990s than the Del Monte Manor, the largest low-income housing development on the peninsula.
In the early 2000s, veteran Seaside police officers would share stories about the violence and tension between residents of the Del Monte Manor and police. One police sergeant would say, “We could not go into that complex without at least three cops. Residents would throw bottles at us and sometimes even shoot at us.”
The Del Monte Manor has been featured in numerous local gangster rap videos as a legendary landmark showcasing Seaside's dangerous history and reputation.
FAST FORWARD TO 2016
A police officer who patrols the area of the Del Monte Manor each day stops alongside the roadway and observes young children playing on a rundown playground surrounded by sand. The officer has his window down and hears a mother shout out to her young son, “Don't play in there too long, I don't want to get fleas in the house again.”
This could have been the end of the cop's observation. Fortunately, it was the beginning of something remarkable.
The officer got out of his patrol car and began asking questions. “How long has this park been here? Why isn't there a nicer playground for the kids to play in?” The answers were shocking. The City of Seaside had donated second-hand equipment over 35 years ago. While the City's gesture was commendable, the equipment was inadequate from the start. Generations of kids grew up playing on the same subpar playground equipment. The big metal slide haf seen its share of crying kids falling off the uneven slide.
Perhaps the most important thing the officer discovered was that a playground committee had just been formed by Del Monte Manor residents.
POLICING BEYOND THE BADGE
The police officer wanted the entire Seaside Police Department to get behind the residents and help them acquire a new playground. The residents were hesitant. There was still a sense of distrust toward the police. It was not common to have the police at the Del Monte Manor for anything short of a service call pertaining to a tense or negative situation.
However, the residents knew a new playground would be a budgetary challenge so they were looking for a helping hand in order to proceed with their plans. From that moment, the group of residents and police officers would be known as the Del Monte Manor Coalition.
In 2017, the Seaside Police Department partnered with the Seaside Fire Department to organize a fundraising event at the Del Monte Manor. Although the event only raised about $1000, the barriers broken proved priceless.
Since the event Seaside officers attended weekly meetings, assisted in grant writing, collected donations and helped make the right connections to keep the project alive. Earlier this year, the Del Monte Manor Coalition raised more than $60,000 to fund the entire playground renovation. The City of Seaside Public Works Department lent a hand and contracted services to have all the old equipment removed at no cost.
Today, the playground is fully installed and landscaped. At its grand opening in January, officers played basketball with the kids, barbecued hotdogs and honored the community for coming together for the project. The playground signifies much more than just an area where kids will play and make memories; it is a symbol for the community that anything is possible when we unite. The relationship developed between the residents and the Seaside Police Department is perhaps one of the most significant side effects that no one could have anticipated two years earlier.
Police officers spend hours patrolling neighborhoods all across the United States. They see people every day who need a helping hand beyond the traditional policing services. When a community unites, great things can happen.
Community policing on an international scale
Torrington police officer visits Iraq, Romania
Crystal R. Albers
TORRINGTON -- There's no denying Torrington resident Larry Curtis has a sense of adventure. It's what drew him to Wyoming in the first place, and eventually led the Torrington Police Department patrol officer to Canada, Iraq, and most recently, Romania, to share knowledge and experience about community policing with people from around the world.
Curtis grew up about 20 miles west of Chicago in Lombard, Ill.
“I wanted to come out west,” he said. “I knew some folks out here, and they said, ‘Come on out.' I thought it would be interesting.”
In 1980, Curtis made the trek to Wyoming, and soon after met his wife, Mary. A few years later, he was embarking on a career he'd never considered.
“In 1983, I joined the police department,” he said. “It was kind of funny to join the police department – I grew up across the street from the police station … I knew all the police officers, I had no fascination with it … then I moved out to Torrington and met a fellow who had a background in law enforcement and would go on to teach criminal justice at Eastern Wyoming College – Glenn Schleve – and he encouraged me to join.”
The encounter would result in a successful livelihood spanning several decades – and still continuing to this day. Curtis obtained a bachelor's degree in justice studies from Chadron State College, along with completing some graduate hours in counseling. He also graduated from the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in 1984 and the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in 1999.
After retiring from the police department in 2004 as a detective lieutenant, Curtis went to Iraq for two years as a police advisor. He returned and began teaching criminal justice at EWC, in addition to rejoining the police force part-time.
“During that time, I met Dr. David Banville (at EWC),” Curtis said. “Part of his education was spent teaching in Romania, and he and I swapped stories about teaching in other cultures … he wondered if I would be interested in going to Romania to visit schools and police departments and said he had contacts in Romania that would help me do that … I just thought it was an outstanding idea.”
Some of Curtis' enthusiasm for travel stemmed from a class he took at Chadron State.
“There was a class (called) Comparative Criminal Justice Systems,” he said. “This particular instructor, Dr. George Watson, taught that and just made it a really interesting class. It made me want to visit other countries and cultures to see how their policing systems operate.”
Way up north
Before Iraq and Romania, Curtis headed north to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1991 to tour the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Academy, visit the Provincial Prison, meet with judges and attorneys in the court system and ride with city police officers.
“The experience opened my eyes to a different perspective on policing,” he said. “In particular, police officers in Canada are known as working for the Police Service. Which I thought was an important distinction from American police who work in departments or agencies. These experiences motivated me to want to, at some point in my career, immerse myself in another country and culture for an extended period of time – a year or more.”
A war zone
The opportunity to travel came following 9/11 during the war in Iraq.
“The State Department was looking for American police officers to mentor and train Iraqi police officers,” Curtis said. “I thought, now is my chance to not only spend an extensive amount of time in another country and culture, but it involved my skills as a police officer along with the added element that I would be operating in a war zone. What's not to like? So I resigned my position with the TPD and arrived in Baghdad in March of 2004. I spent two years there. I asked to be assigned in the Basra region because it was in the Southeast Multinational Military District.”
In the book, “Roadside Bombs and Democracy: An American Police Officer in Iraq” author Ron Little details the time he spent with Curtis in the war zone.
“We were told to train and mentor but were given no specific goals or guidelines. Realistically, we were to ‘wing it.' We were promised we would get everything needed to function: our own office trailer, living quarters, internet, toilet, and shower facilities. We were promised more officers, but nothing ever materialized … Larry and I ended up depending on the Brits out of necessity; we had one vehicle and only two of us, so we couldn't go anywhere on our own and could only travel with military.”
Ten years later, Curtis headed to Romania to discuss community policing at a conference, returning again in October of last year to offer his thoughts on community interventions for school safety. Each visit, he spent a week interacting with residents, answering questions about American policing, and discovering how the Romanian criminal justice system is organized.
“I thought the ideas were well received,” Curtis said of his first trip to Romania. “These ideas included:
1. Identifying problems that impact the quality of life in a community;
2. Understanding that not all community problems can be solved through enforcement;
3. Developing partnerships within the community to mitigate or solve the problems;
4. Focusing police efforts on crime prevention and enforcement strategies will improve and maintain a healthy and positive relationship between the police and the public they serve.
Along with speaking at the conference I visited area schools and met with groups of students and teachers. This included grade school through high school. It was a great experience. The children had many questions about American life, which were fun to answer and talk about. They also had the chance to practice their English language skills.”
Curtis added he also found the experience helpful because he was starting a position with the TPD and the Goshen County School District as a fulltime school resource officer in the fall of 2016.
“My second visit to Pitesti, Romania in October 2018 also lasted a week and again included a conference presentation, visits to schools and meeting with police officers/ gendarmerie (military officers with civil jurisdiction) at the Arges County Inspectorate Office,” he said. “Participants at the conference included educators, administrators, gendarmerie and a commander from the local National Police office. As I listened to questions and comments during the meeting, I realized that the problems of school safety, violence and social problems brought into schools from the community were not issues limited just to the USA.
It was very interesting to see how another culture proactively was trying to manage these problems in their schools. My meeting with local gendarmerie was just as eye opening. The topics they wanted to discuss included ‘hate-speech' and radicalization and polarization as it relates to terrorism problems. One bit of common ground we laughed about was media treatment of police – that is one day the story is how officers are great heroes rescuing someone, while the next day police are viewed as the villains for arresting the wrong person.”
The core of these trips is engaging with the public to understand what issues are important to them, what problems there are, and to help solve those problems with community members, Curtis explained.
“I believe the visits were well received,” he said. “The folks that invited me were very gracious, and the conference participants were quite engaged. The school children were very enthusiastic during our meetings. The police officers I met with were very professional and as curious about American policing as I was about Romanian criminal justice and its development since their independence after the break up of the Soviet Union.
“One difference between my first visit there and my second was, on some of the school visits, two officers of the gendarmerie joined me … and their participation made all the difference,” he continued. “They brought with them some of their police equipment and the children loved it. It was fun having two local police and an American police officer working together to engage with the school children.”
While no longer teaching at EWC, Curtis is back to full-time at the TPD. He has also served as a DARE instructor for approximately 25 years. He said his experience in other countries enriches his career and interactions here.
“It's quite interesting, and I enjoy it. When I go into classrooms … I can give students and folks a new perspective they might not otherwise get,” he said. “For me personally, I was interested in immersion in another culture, but it also allowed me to talk to others about policing and engage in education in the schools. Engaging with children at our local schools and college is a first-rate experience, and it helps me as much as it helps them.”
Ever the adventurer, Curtis said discussions are already underway regarding another trip to Romania.
“I use my vacation time to do this, I pay for it myself – I really enjoy (this) sort of thing,” he said. “I can't thank Loredana Sima (Trainor/Educational Projects Organizer for ‘Save the Children' NGO, Arges County, Romania) enough for inviting me and organizing these trips, conferences and school visits. Seeing how other people and cultures and communities solve problems and work together with the police and each other, it just – it helps me. I think being a police officer is about more than just writing tickets, if you want a career you need to be able to (engage with the public) … experiencing other policing and other cultures has made me a better police officer and a better person, as well.”
What it means to be a community police officer in Columbia
Tony Parker does the same thing now that he did five years ago: He gets out of his police car and walks around neighborhoods. But people's reactions to his greeting have drastically changed over time.
Initially, when he started to say 'hi,' some people walked away. Others gave him a confused look, as if saying, "Police don't do this. What's your problem?"
Columbia Police Officer Tony Parker checks his work computer in his patrol car before going out on foot patrol. He starts each community policing shift by checking the call history. If a certain neighborhood in his assigned area had a crime history, he checks the time of the incident, parks his car in the neighborhood and talks with people. "That gets the shoplifters down because people know the police are there," Parker said.
In 2009, the city created a geographically organized unit called the Community Outreach Unit, designed to focus largely on community-oriented policing and to encourage the officers in the unit to develop relationships with the residents in their assigned area, according to the city of Columbia website.
Parker is a member of this unit, working as one of two officers in the region north of I-70 between Paris Road and Highway 63.
The debate over community policing has dominated city politics for several years, contributing to the ouster of Columbia's city manager and police chief. But for Parker, the political uproar has had little effect on his day-to-day work.
Parker has devoted his time to the usual police tasks — responding to calls and following daily orders. However, his role as a community policing officer significantly differs from other police officers'.
He works closely with children at Blue Ridge Elementary and with community organizations like Rainbow House, to build relationships with people who may not interact with police on a day-to-day basis.
Tony Parker rubs his eyes out of tiredness on Nov. 29, 2018. Parker has had difficulty falling asleep at night. It's harder to fall asleep when violent crimes, such as shootings, happen during his shift, he said. “You can never become complacent. It's easy to do in the position like this because you're trying to be nice all the time,” Parker said. “Just because the people in our neighborhood are nice doesn't mean someone in this black car driving down the street is going to be nice. You always have to be not on a high guard, but you do have to be alert still."
People who used to ignore Parker's wave began to wave back, and those who used to go inside when they saw him started standing outside. Eventually, they started to talk to him on a personal level, about the NBA and the NFL.
Real conversations with Officer Parker often started that way.
"It was challenging," Parker said. “But then they saw that I was there the next day, the day after that and a day after that, and I still said 'hi'.”
Tony Parker helps Columbia resident Sophia Smith carry ingredients for a Halloween community event. Parker says it took a while to open up people's minds and see them comfortably talk to police officers in his first year. "The fact that people started trusting us enough to speak with us, walk up to us and talk to us - that was one of the most memorable moments in this unit," Parker said. Now he gets invited by residents to community events like barbecues. “If you thought policemen were all bad, people that are robots and have no personalities, now you've met a police officer on a personal level. Now your whole outlook could be different just from this interaction,” Parker said.
Tony Parker calls the Rainbow House Emergency Shelter before visiting on Nov. 29, 2018. It's part of his community oriented policing job to visit nonprofit organizations in Columbia and to provide help if needed. For instance, when a robbery took place in the shelter, Parker visited the organization more frequently to help prevent future crimes. When he meets families who need food but are reluctant to ask for help, he goes to a food bank and brings a box of food to the people. Parker thinks he can provide the most help by knowing people and what they need, and helping them connect with others.
Walking around the hallways of Blue Ridge Elementary School, students hail and holler to Parker. Parker visits the school and listens to students and teachers while also helping lead community events, such as barbecues and holiday parties.
"It's very interesting when you get out there and you get to know people," Parker said. "If you really want to solve some crime, get out of your car and walk. You will find a lot of things."
Parker hands candy out to In'vi Gregory, 3, who dressed up as a policeman for halloween. "That's what she wanted to be. She likes police," her mother, who asked to be identified as Ms. Washington, said. Parker says he often comes across kids saying that they want to be like Officer Tony. "I tell them if you want to be a cop, you have to always be nice to people. You can't be mean,” Parker said. “I think they realize that because I'm never mean to them and they will never hear me yell." Parker socialized with residents in his assigned neighborhoods by joining several Halloween events. He gave out snacks to children and he grilled sausages with Columbia residents.
Students at Blue Ridge Elementary School ask Tony Parker about his badges. Many students greeted him with excitement, shouting “Tony!” or hugging him. “The best time, I think, to make an impact in a person's life is when they are young,” Parker said when asked why he focuses on communicating with students.
Beyond his work as a policeman, Parker also participates in a local life group and has a passion for writing horror that occupies his time outside of the uniform.
A blueprint for 21st century policing
by DAVID WEISBURD AND GREG BERMAN
Fueled by numerous high-profile incidents of violence by police officers, American policing has become a topic of both concern and controversy in recent years.
Much of the public debate has encouraged better policing. Thanks to the work of outside activists and internal reformers, many police departments are taking a hard look at policing in this country and the ways that it has disadvantaged black Americans in particular. This is a healthy development. It should continue.
After all, American policing does not begin with a clean slate. There is a long history of racially-biased policing, and there are good reasons why many black and Latino communities view police with skepticism.
In our polarized climate, many Americans have gone beyond skepticism and have begun to see the police as actually contributing to crime and violence in cities. This is a recipe for danger. No one wins when communities view police as an occupying army, or worse, as agents of destruction.
A recent report from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reviewed what the evidence actually says about current American policing practices, and in particular the move away from simply responding to calls for help after crime has occurred. The central takeaway from the report is that proactive policing can be part of the solution to crime in America. At the same time, the report suggests that police have to work more effectively and more creatively to achieve both crime control and community legitimacy.
Proactive policing encompasses a wide array of policing strategies. In the public debate, it is often associated with aggressive interventions such as stop, question and frisk, or "zero tolerance" policing. While some departments have embraced these ideas, many more have sought to focus policing on high-crime streets (hot spots policing), or high-rate violent offenders (focused deterrence policing), or on improving ties between the police and the community (community policing).
Do these strategies reduce crime? According to the National Academies report, many of them do. Focusing police on crime hot spots, or targeting very high-rate violent crime offenders, shows particularly strong evidence of effectiveness. Solid evidence also is found for police using data to identify the underlying causes of crime problems. These findings amount to a powerful endorsement of the idea that the police can actually prevent crime.
The news is not all good, however. The report finds that aggressive programs that rely on police stops, especially of minority and young individuals, do lead to negative evaluations of the police among those stopped, and even negative health outcomes. The report acknowledges that an unintended consequence of targeted policing programs that focus on specific crime hot spots or high-rate offenders may be to contribute to racial disparities within the criminal justice system.
In general, policing must be viewed, by the public and by the police, as an effort to help communities that are disproportionately affected by crime, not as an excuse for stigmatizing or labeling. This is one of the goals that many community policing programs seek to achieve. Happily, the National Academies report documents that community policing does in fact improve relationships between the police and the community.
Where do we go from here? There are three clear policy implications from the National Academies report:
It would be wrong to abandon proactive policing programs. Many American communities are plagued by crime and violence. It would be a mistake not to take advantage of proactive approaches that have been documented to make a difference on the ground.
Police must recognize that community support is crucial to good policing. Given this reality, police departments should seek to limit their intrusion into the daily life of residents as much as possible. Police departments should be surgical in their approach, narrowly targeting proactive strategies to small groups of chronic offenders and specific street corners that are magnets for crime, rather than blanketing whole precincts or neighborhoods with a one-size-fits-all approach.
Crime-fighting strategies must be paired with community engagement and fairness. Local residents and nonprofit organizations must be included in the process of identifying local problems and formulating responses. Police should treat the public, including suspects and arrestees, with dignity and respect and an absence of bias.
The transformation of American policing won't happen overnight. The United States has more than 17,000 independent police agencies. There undoubtedly is a need for more research, more discussion and more innovation. But thanks to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine we have identified the first three steps towards effective, democratic policing in the 21st century: a commitment to proactive strategies, the surgical use of tactics, and active community collaboration rooted in treating people fairly.
Coffee with a Cop brews up conversation about community policing
Officer Phillips shows off Onyx the dog to a group of students during Coffee With a Cop. University of Oregon Police Department officers and Onyx the bomb sniffing dog greeted students with free coffee and pastries to promote trusting relationships between students and UOPD in the EMU next to Starbucks on Wednesday morning.
The event, a national initiative called Coffee with a Cop, is a chance for students to share any safety concerns or questions they have with the UO Police Department over coffee and pastries.
“Coffee with a cop is a really low key opportunity for students to get to know their police officers,” UOPD Chief of Police Matthew Carmichael said. “It's my responsibility and our department's responsibility to find opportunities for the police and community to engage in a non-confrontational environment.”
Carmichael said establishing trust between the officers and students creates an environment where students feel safe approaching UOPD if they need help.
“Trust is huge. It's the number one commodity for law enforcement,” Carmichael said. “Part of that safety is students feeling safe and comfortable in reporting should something happen to them.”
Coffee with a Cop seeks to create trust between police officers and their communities, Carmichael said. Wednesday's event wasn't the first — UOPD hosted two other Coffee with a Cop events in October and November 2018.
Officer Geri Brooks, who organized the event, said she plans to hold a Coffee with a Cop event each month.
If students are unable to attend the event, Brooks said she encourages students to call UOPD or approach an officer when they are on campus.
Brooks said students talked with her about everything from careers in law enforcement to how to stay safe on campus.
Sophomore Megan Grey, a biology major who uses they/them pronouns, attended Wednesday's event and said they were surprised by the conversations they had with the officers.
Grey said they spoke with the officers about the police presence at the upcoming womxn's march this Saturday, last Friday's shooting at Cascade Middle School and police interactions with the homeless population.
“Even though those are high stress topics, I'm glad that I talked to them because it's good to remember that they're also human beings.” Grey said. “Even when tragedies occur it's not like they are this other entity separate from the population. They have a responsibility and that responsibility is actually trust.”
Grey said they felt the event was effective in engaging students in conversations with the officers, especially with the use of Onyx the dog.
Onyx's handler, Officer Troy Phillips, demonstrated Onyx's skills throughout the morning and several students gathered to watch.
However, Grey also said they were worried that some students who've had negative experiences with police officers might feel uncomfortable by the police presence in the EMU.
“I know that there are a lot of students, at least in my friend group, who have an aversion or fear or even trauma related to cops,” Grey said, “so walking in here expecting to get coffee and having a large, somewhat imposing group of cops could be really scary.”
UOPD hosted a similar event, Pizza with the Chief, in January 2017. The event was similar to Coffee with a Cop, as it allowed students to interact with the police officers. Carmichael said UOPD implemented Coffee with a Cop to reach more students in the EMU.
After Pizza with the Chief, Carmichael said UOPD received feedback to increase safety training for students and later implemented a 90-minute self defense class.
UOPD also has 12 student assistants to the UOPD Chief of Police available for students to approach with any concerns they have if they feel uncomfortable going directly to Carmichael to voice their concerns.
“There are historic and systemic challenges and issues with the culture of policing, that goes without saying. But overcoming that means us doing something together,” Carmichael said. “That's what we're always looking for: opportunities and ways we can work together.
Milwaukee police help occupants of homeless encampments
by CARLY WOLF
On a grey cloudy morning in Milwaukee, a bright pink Barbie tent stuck out among the sea of tents below the north end of the 6th Street Bridge. It was a newer addition to the tent encampment on North 6th and West Clybourn streets that has been occupied by a group of Milwaukee's homeless.
The man inside was wearing a bright yellow rain jacket, but his disposition was anything but sunny.
Thomas Kline, community liaison officer for District 1 of the Milwaukee Police Department, has been visiting the city's various encampments and checking up on the individuals living there, but he didn't recognize the man.
Kline introduced himself and began to explain the resources the city offers. He asked the man if he's heard of the Housing First Initiative.
"I've heard this a million times," the man yelled.
Kline said that people are usually not angry when he offers information, but he understands his reaction.
"He's probably someone who's been in the system for so long that he's just so frustrated," Kline said.
Kline works to connect MPD District 1 Capt. Diana Rowe to residents through community meetings and events. Now, with homeless encampments growing more visible in the downtown district within the last year, he spends 70 to 80 percent of his time working on issues related to homelessness.
On a frigid winter day, a person in a dog costume stood outside Milwaukee Police Department District 6, on the far South Side. The mascot danced enthusiastically in the cold, holding a sign that read "Milwaukee Police Department District 6 is accepting clothing items for the homeless."
Beside him was Officer Eric Ratzmann, who wore a jovial smile despite the ice crystals beginning to form on his beard. Ratzmann is part of MPD's Homeless Outreach Team in District 6 and helped to organize the drive.
"There's homeless (people) sleeping out under the bridges out here and sometimes people don't want to go to shelters because they don't like being around a lot of people," Ratzmann said. "We don't want people to suffer, especially in the winter."
The Homeless Outreach Team started in 2010 with six officers. It expanded citywide, with several officers from each of MPD's seven district on the team. HOT officers work to connect people with resources and aim to be perceived as "bridges" to assistance.
One critical resource is Milwaukee County's Housing First Initiative, a program conducted in collaboration with the city and community partners that aims to provide housing before addressing the underlying cause of homelessness.
The Homeless Outreach Team's work with homeless people is part of MPD's community policing strategy, which focuses on building relationships with residents.
Meghan Stroshine, associate professor of criminology and law studies at Marquette University and co-author of "Policing: Continuity and Change," explained that community policing "emerged in response to the difficult relationship between the police and the public" in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.
She said research shows that community policing is having a positive effect on citizens' view of police and improves officers' ability to do their jobs because of greater cooperation from community members.
"In years past, the homeless population was treated or viewed as a problem to be dealt with, and police typically only got involved if there was a complaint from a resident or a business owner," Stroshine said. "Since community policing has emerged, that response has changed significantly."
Catrina Crane, director of workforce and business solutions at Menomonee Valley Partners, has worked directly with police to solve issues related to homelessness for businesses in the valley.
"We had a bigger homeless population years ago, but now the tents are making it more visible," Crane said. "They're not hidden the way that they used to be."
According to the Housing First Initiative, about 900 homeless individuals live in Milwaukee, down from the nearly 1,500 when the program began in September 2015.
"Some of the homeless who have been in our area have been here for years and see the valley as their home," Crane said. "Although they may get into housing, they sometimes return because it's what they know."
Every Saturday, volunteers from Street Life Communities set up folding tables and tents across the city to hand out whatever resources they have to people such as Timothy Flanigan, who is low-income and homeless.
Flanigan, 68, is a retired car salesman.
Shivering, the self-proclaimed "music lover, avid reader" and "mean guitar player," stood in line for a cup of hot coffee and a Styrofoam container of food.
Flanigan discovered the Street Life gatherings about three years ago when he found himself without housing. Throughout his adult life, he has struggled with mental illness, and episodes of stress have caused him to fluctuate between home stability and homelessness, he said.
"I'm not always homeless, but I have these spells. I have bipolar disorder and it gets the best of me and things kind of fall apart," Flanigan said.
He noted that police have helped him several times when he was in a mental health crisis, but says he doesn't need information about resources from the Homeless Outreach Team. He said he knows Milwaukee's streets and resources well, and finding a solution is not as easy as it may seem.
"I've been trying to contact Housing First Milwaukee via email; they don't answer," Flanigan said. "The wheels turn very slowly."
While out on the streets, Flanigan does what he can to reduce his stress levels. He will spend a few dollars at a 24-hour diner, nursing a cup of coffee to avoid the cold. What he needs most is a stable roof above his head.
"I can get food, I can get clothes, I can get medical and legal help, I can even get a guy to sit with me over coffee and commiserate a little bit. But I can't get housing," Flanigan said. "We have what we need except the one thing we need more than anything."
The nonprofit news outlet Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service provided this article to The Associated Press through a collaboration with Institute for Nonprofit News.
Community policing or goofing around?
by POSTMEDIA NEWS
One of the two Toronto police officers caught on videotape doing what looks to us like goofing around with women in a bar in the Entertainment District, told CTV News it was actually an example of positive community policing.
If so, we clearly need to brush up on the definition of community policing.
Because it strikes us that what the videos show has little to do with improving police-community relations in a police service that prides itself as “a world leader … when it comes to consultation with its communities.”
Instead, it looks like the uniformed officers involved, Const. Jian Liang and Const. Aaron Isaac of 52 division — the latter of whom described what the videos depict as community policing — are partying with female patrons at the Queen Street Warehouse bar.
We doubt the activities the videos appear to show — the officers playfully handcuffing two women, women riding around in the back of a marked police cruiser jokingly referring to it as their “Uber,” and the officers playing music via YouTube on their in-car computer workstation — are recommended in any community policing manual.
It's certainly legitimate for officers to patrol the Entertainment District and to stop in at bars and chat with the patrons, both to make their presence known and interact with the customers in a non-confrontational way.
Policing in this city is a difficult, challenging and thankless job and our city's finest are constantly under fire for doing their job.
To be fair, neither officer is drinking in the video but regardless of any good intentions they had, these videos appear to show the officers interacting with the public in way that hardly seems helpful.
Police spokesman Meaghan Gray said the police service learned of the videos on Monday and forwarded them to its professional standards unit for review.
We'll leave it to the police to decide what, if any, disciplinary action should be taken here, but the real value of this incident may be as a warning to other officers.
First, always assume anything they do may be caught on videotape.
And second, whatever police manuals say or don't say about community policing and about how officers should behave in public, there is never a substitute for good judgment and common sense.
Community-Police Partnerships Fight the Opioid Epidemic Where It Lives
by MONA MANGAT AND MATTHEW PERKINS
It's rare to hear good news from the trenches of the country's opioid crisis, but a spate of recent reporting has documented the surprising decline of overdose deaths in Dayton, Ohio, a city that for years has been at the epicenter of this national tragedy.
While the decline is precipitous — in 2017 there were 566 overdose deaths in Montgomery County vs. 294 in 2018 — the efforts that contributed to the drop didn't coalesce overnight. It has taken a deep, concerted drive by seasoned community organizations, law enforcement, public health and addiction experts and researchers, all working in tandem, to begin stanching the overdose trend. Overarching changes like Medicaid expansion, as well as mysterious ones, like the ebb of Carfentanil (an ultra-deadly fentanyl analog), have certainly had an effect. But it's highly localized community safety and criminal justice reform efforts that chip away at the roots of crime and disorder in a neighborhood, and that other places ravaged by the epidemic can learn from.
Take Dayton's East End, widely considered to be the epicenter of the epicenter. Our organization began working in this struggling neighborhood in 2012, providing technical assistance to the recipients of a Department of Justice grant known as the Community Based Crime Reduction initiative (formerly known as the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grant or BCJI). The grant program fosters police-community partnerships to tackle hyper-local crime hotspots.
The grant brought together the East End Community Services, a local development organization with the Dayton Police Department and the University of Dayton to research and try to upend rampant burglary and prostitution in the area.
In the early planning stage, it quickly became clear that the crimes residents wanted to combat were driven by opioid abuse: police data showed that more than 90 percent of people arrested over a six-month period for robberies and soliciting had a history of drug use or drug-related arrests; they engaged in soliciting and theft to support their addictions. Adding to the challenge of opioid abuse and skyrocketing overdose deaths, the partners also discovered that intervention and treatment systems had largely been dismantled in Dayton and surrounding Montgomery County — to the point that local jails and lockup facilities were the city's de facto detox centers.
The Dayton Community Based Crime Reduction (CBCR) partners developed an approach that involved pushing for better city and county resources (at the outset, there were 13 treatment beds in the entire city; after two years of work, East Dayton got its own treatment facility), as well as community participation in responding to the crisis: that included training police officers, residents and family members to administer Narcan following overdoses.
Just as important, East End Community Services created prevention programming like Conversations for Change, a non-punitive dialog modeled on focused deterrence methods of violence reduction. Rather than criminalize heroin use, the program brings people together (often with friends and family who want to help but don't know how) for a meal, and offers support and referral to treatment services. Trained mediators are on hand to meet one-on-one to connect participants with services, recovering addicts offer personal testimonials, and nurses help attendees understand heroin addiction as a disease.
The Dayton police department, for its part, draws on its own overdose intervention data to follow up with individuals who've previously overdosed and invite them to attend Conversations for Change and other preventive and harm reduction programs. Officers volunteer at the gatherings, too.
Since the CBCR partnership came together, burglary and prostitution arrests in East Dayton have waned — as they have in the rest of Dayton, where property crimes like theft and burglary were down 18 percent from 2016 to 2017.
That East End Community Services has a long history in the neighborhoods of East Dayton and has earned the trust of residents — an absolutely crucial element in helping bring down the numbers of heroin overdose deaths. Moreover, Dayton's police department has embraced what is known as Problem Oriented Policing (a research-based approach to identifying crime drivers) and was open to finding tactics to address addiction and addiction-related crimes that did not involve arrest and jail.
The CBCR partnership was able to respond to the neighborhood's most pressing issues, develop a wide-ranging plan, and support the kind of neighborhood redevelopment that ultimately can help connect people to opportunity in a way that has been so desperately lacking in cities like Dayton. As a nation, we can only hope to turn back the tide of opioid abuse with these kinds of dedicated community-law enforcement collaborations — and they demand vastly more policy and financial support than they currently receive. There's no time to waste getting behind local criminal justice reform and crime reduction solutions that save communities and lives.
A way for officers, residents to connect
Also: New DUI program allows second chance for people with suspended driver's licenses
by Rachel Rosebaum
This weekly column is a catch-all for public safety topics. If there is something you think we should include, or if you have questions you would like us to pose to law enforcement officials, contact me by email at email@example.com or call 749-4771.
The Marysville Police Department is taking another step toward its goal of better connecting its officers to residents.
At a community meeting at the Silver Dollar Saloon last week, officers met with business owners and residents to discuss problems in the area and how best to improve communication. Officer Kathryn Danisan, who works closely with downtown Marysville business owners, said attendees shared problems they're experiencing with vandalism, vehicle burglaries and trespassing on private property. Most of the time, the crimes are occurring in the early-morning hours when businesses are closed and residents are asleep. By the time police are notified, the suspects have usually left.
Danisan said officers can't necessarily be dedicated to one exact area and have to prioritize calls, but she doesn't want residents to be deterred from reporting crimes.
“Report it even if you don't want an officer response,” Danisan said Friday. “It gives us an idea of what type of crime is occurring and the location so we can get stats together to focus on where we need to improve and areas to patrol more.”
Meetings like this, including the department's Coffee with a Cop events, are a part of the department's Community Partnership Initiative – a community policing strategy that implements evidence-based, inclusive and collaborative practices. By the end of the meeting last week, attendees and officers agreed to download a group messaging app to better notify each other on crimes and happenings in the area.
“This is part of it, having these meetings and discussing how to improve on everybody's end,” Danisan said. “It's great and it builds a bigger bond between us and the community.”
New DUI program
As of Jan. 1, all California residents convicted of driving under the influence will be given the option to install an ignition interlock device (or car breathalyzer) to regain full driving privileges, according to an ignition interlock company press release.
Through Jan. 1, 2026, the bill (Senate Bill 1046) would make an individual whose license has been suspended for driving a vehicle with a certain blood-alcohol concentration and who is eligible for a restricted driver's license, eligible for a restricted driver's license without serving any period of the suspension if they meet all other eligibility requirements and they install an ignition interlock device.
If the person installs this device and fulfills all other requirements, they will be able to apply for a restricted driver's license without completing a period of license suspension or revocation.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will conduct a Statewide Ignition Interlock Device pilot program requiring repeat-DUI offenders and all injury-involved DUI drivers to install the IID for a period of 1 to 4 years. The length of the installation is determined by the number of prior DUI offenses and whether or not the current offense resulted in injury, a DMV spokesman said in an email Friday. Those who install an IID can drive anytime and anywhere, so long as the vehicle is equipped with an IID.
The pilot program applies to DUI offenders convicted of a DUI involving alcohol or a combination of alcohol and drugs, and whose offenses occur between Jan. 1, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2026, except for the following offenders: first-time offenders whose violation did not involve drugs only, and did not result in injury; repeat offenders whose violation involved drugs only; offenders who were administratively suspended after their DUI arrest; offenders approved for an IID exemption.
The ignition interlock company, Intoxalock, dispelled some myths about these devices:
• IIDs are virtually impossible to bypass with the help of a sober friend as most new IIDs include a windshield-mounted camera that photographs the driver as the breath sample is provided. Every state also retests at random intervals while the car is running. Also, non-human samples won't pass, as the devices can detect the difference in the composition of air coming from a human's lungs versus an air compressor.
• No food or beverage eliminates the presence of alcohol molecules in a breath sample, so it won't trick a breathalyzer.
• Statistics show that these devices are effective at reducing drunk driving recidivism: in 2017 alone, ignition interlocks prevented 354,372 drunk driving attempts nationwide.
Police commander accused of having officers baby-sit his son offers no apology: 'My men and women are happy that work for me'
by Jeremy Gorner
Chicago police commander on Thursday expressed no remorse following a city watchdog report that found he had his officers pick up his child and baby-sit the boy at the station during working hours.
“Apology?” Grand Central District Cmdr. Anthony Escamilla said when asked by a Tribune reporter if he wanted to apologize to the officers taken away from their official duties. “I don't know if we're saying those allegations are true or not. I mean … That would be where there would be an apology.
“I can tell you that my men and women are happy that work for me. I don't have any of those issues,” Escamilla said during a community event at a West Side Dunkin' Donuts. “If there was some issue then I would address it with them. But I … can't really answer that question because there's not a basis for me to answer.”
In a report issued Wednesday, Chicago's Inspector General Joseph Ferguson's office recommended the commander face possible firing for having officers pick up his son from school in a squad car and bring him back to the district station, at 5555 W. Grand Ave., and watch him for as long as two or three hours at a time. This arrangement went on most Wednesdays from September 2017 to at least July 2018, according to the report, which did not identify the commander by name.
Ultimately, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson decided to penalize Escamilla with a seven-day suspension, which he's already served.
Military Police builds trust in communities while deployed
by Capt. Katherine Troxell, 551st MP Co. CDR/UPAR
Soldiers assigned to 716th Military Police Battalion, 551st Military Police Company, 'Hooligans', enjoyed a cup of coffee at the Tower Barracks local coffee shop in Grafenwoehr, Germany, with the members of the Bavaria community on January 4, 2019.
This opportunity provided the soldiers the opportunity to meet and interact with the Bavaria Community by answering questions and holding civil conversations.
The 551st MP Co. is currently on a deployment rotation providing law enforcement support to installations throughout the country under the United States European Command.
"One of our main objectives coming here was to build a positive relationship in the communities" says 2nd Lt. Ronnieka Fleming, a platoon leader with 551st MP Co. "As a rotational unit, we know our biggest challenge is gaining the trust of the members within the community. We want the service members and their families to know that we are here to protect and serve them regardless if we're stationed here or not."
Spc. Robert Frenes, a military police and the lead planner for the event, stressed that he wanted the public to know that they're not just there for when they get in trouble.
Frenes said, "It's great to get out and be seen in a positive light, it lets the community know we are here to keep them safe and we are approachable if they need help.
The 551st MP have been deployed to Germany since June 2018. While deployed, the Hooligans are providing law enforcement at five different bases. In the short time the unit has been on ground the, unit leaders have taken the initiative to building rapport and trust within the communities they serve.
Establishing trust and having a visible presence in the community is critical to preventing and detecting crimes. Coffee with an MP is but one of many ways the unit is making strides to interact with the public on a daily basis.
Stacy Johnson, a civilian member of the community attending the event stated, "I see the MPs driving around all the time, I'm happy I got to meet some of them this morning, they are so polite and respectful. I hope they continue to do events like this in the future."
The company's focus while deployed for nine months has been building community relationships, providing law enforcement on and off post, and working closely with the German Police Department.
According to Sgt. Alfred Parker, a patrolman in the 551st Military Police Co., the unit are not only responding to cases on base, but also to cases involving Americans off-post.
Parker goes on to say, "It was definitely a culture shock when we first got here and I wasn't expecting to be working so closely with the German Police, but it's been a fun experience. We have to understand the German laws as well as the American laws."
The community policing initiative has allowed 551st MP Co. to better understand their operating environment, discovering what law enforcement issues need to be addressed from fresh local perspectives.
Julie Smith, a resident of the Grafenwoehr says, "The MPs from Fort Campbell have done an outstanding job getting out into the communities. We've gotten to know them so well, sometimes I forget they aren't stationed here."
Perceptions about police use of deadly force and race: A psychologist's view
Police-citizen deadly force and other use-of-force encounters can be reduced through training, education and community
with Dr. Laurence Miller
I recently returned from testifying at the trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, which resulted in an acquittal on first-degree murder, but a conviction on second-degree murder and other charges in the officer-involved shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
I'm not going to discuss the specifics of that case here, but I do want to make some points about policing, race and the use of deadly force gleaned from empirical research, my clinical work with officers who have been in deadly force encounters, and my experiences as an expert witness in contested officer-involved shooting cases, almost all of which involve some combination of tactical, psychological, racial and social issues.
PEOPLE'S REALITY IS WHAT THEY EXPERIENCE
First, respect people's perceptions, even if you question their interpretations of those perceptions. Black citizens experience themselves as unequally targeted by police use of force. Police officers experience interactions with black citizens as potentially more dangerous than with other citizens. The bad news is that both groups may be right. U.S. Department of Justice research shows that if you are a young black male, you are proportionately more likely than any other demographic group member to be killed by a police officer. If you are a police officer, you are proportionately more likely to be killed by a young black male than by any other demographic group member.  If this is true, let's try to find out why, and what we can do about it.
DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS, BUT FOLLOW THE SCIENCE
Research shows that a major part of the equation in a given police-citizen deadly force encounter is accounted for by the subject's age and gender. The second most likely group to kill police or be killed by them is comprised of young white males. Young females and older males and females of any race are far behind as either slayers or the slain. This reduces, but does not eliminate, a significant racial component.
WHILE YOU CAN'T CONTROL AGE AND SEX, YOU CAN CONTROL BEHAVIOR
While some deadly force encounters spontaneously erupt, most evolve more slowly in a dangerous dance of vicious cycles and tipping points. Officers confront a suspicious citizen. The citizen feels unfairly singled out and reacts. Officers react to the reaction. A heated encounter ensues. In the majority of cases, verbal de-escalation or calm show of force is effective in neutralizing further aggression. But in a few instances, neither party backs down, cools down, or tries to calm down the encounter, or such mitigatory attempts fail with a citizen who is intoxicated, mentally ill, confused, or enraged, or with officers who are irritated, exhausted, caught by surprise, or inadequately trained.
The citizen continues to resist the officer's commands, a knee or elbow jerks here or there, the citizen is perceived to make a threatening move with a weapon, dangerous object, or even bare hands, and the flashover into a deadly force encounter may cost someone his or her life. In retrospect, some of these tragic occurrences might have been averted, while, in other cases, the outcome seems to have been inevitable. But none of these event pathways is predetermined; they only highlight the need for better scenario-based training in safe, strategic de-escalation, culturally competent communication skills, and, possibly, systemic policy adjustments within the particular police agency.
IN ANY LIFE AND DEATH EMERGENCY, THE BRAIN MAGNIFIES THE PERCEPTION OF THREAT
Officers involved in deadly force encounters that have been administratively cleared and unequivocably ruled justified (which are, of course, the overwhelming majority of such incidents) commonly report a range of perceptual and cognitive distortions at the scene that made the suspect appear closer, bigger, faster and more menacing than is later judged to be the case based on witness accounts and/or video recordings.  When a use-of-force encounter is contested, this kind of post-hoc analysis may be used as “evidence” that the officer acted negligently or maliciously, when he or she was actually responding to the threat as it was perceived at the time. In fact, U.S. Supreme Court decisions have ruled that a police officer's actions must be judged on the basis of what a reasonable officer would do in that situation, based on that officer's perception and understanding of the situation as it exists at the time. 
OFFICERS FREQUENTLY RESTRAIN THEIR USE OF FORCE
In empirical studies and individual post-shooting clinical interviews, many officers report having restrained their use of deadly force, even when it would have be legally justified.  Sometimes this is done for purely tactical reasons, other times precisely out of concern for later accusations of excessive force or racial bias. In fact, studies that measure electrophysiological brain responses to threatening stimuli in simulated shooting scenarios have found that neural systems involved in response inhibition are more strongly activated by experimentally presented images of black citizens holding a weapon than white citizens.  This implies that the study subjects are actually hesitating longer before firing at the black images, as if their brains are struggling with the conflict of whether or not to take the simulated shot. However, other research suggests that this hesitation response may not occur in those officers who openly express racial prejudices. 
Even one unnecessary death is too many, so it is time for all of us to speak frankly. There is racism in law enforcement just as there is racism in American society. But, while not naïve to social reality, most citizens do expect the police to act professionally in preserving their safety, and most cops do take this responsibility seriously.
Yes, there are some bad cops, and although they comprise a minority of police officers, every law enforcement agency owes it to the public they serve, not to mention their own credibility and safety, to identify and assertively deal with those officers that willfully abuse their authority.  Police and community members should be collaborators, not adversaries, in this endeavor. Displaced anger should not be used as a pretext for persecuting officers for doing their jobs, and collegial blue-wall loyalty should not be an excuse for shielding bad cops who persistently fail to do those jobs in a lawful, professional manner.
Research and practical experience show that police-citizen deadly force and other use-of-force encounters can be reduced through proper training, education and community engagement. Human nature can be changed by human intelligence; we do it in technology and medicine, and we can do it in psychology and social relations. 
This will take time, effort and commitment. Start with acknowledging people's reality and having the respect to listen before you argue. Increase non-enforcement contact and other constructive communication between officers and citizens. Do the hard work of reasoning through and articulating your point. You think I couldn't understand? Help me understand. Make me understand. That goes for both sides, and if we can do that, maybe we'll all feel a little safer.
The problem with parachute policing
In 2013, Wisconsin's then-governor Scott Walker passed legislation striking down residential municipal requirements for public employees in Milwaukee. Up to that point, police officers – as well as teachers, firefighters, and other public sector workers – were required to live within 15 miles of their place of employment.
It was another of the many furors inspired in the state's largest city by the onetime presidential hopeful. And while some of the backlash concerned the potential for a mid-sized U.S. city to lose a significant portion of its tax base, Milwaukee's demographic geography also played a role: 40 per cent of Milwaukee residents are black, and live in a tight cluster close to the city's core. Its white residents, on the other hand, make up 44 per cent of the population, and primarily live in the suburbs. Milwaukee's police service, on the other hand, didn't come close to matching these demographics. Only 18 per cent of officers identify as black; more than 60 per cent are white. After the law was passed, many officers fled the city, which only added to an emerging American narrative that police are disconnected from the communities they purportedly serve.
That's had meaningful implications for the nature of policing there. The change only continued to strain relationships between residents and police during an already fraught time in the United States, exemplified by the riots sparked by the police killing of Sylville Smith in 2016, and the high-profile tasing and arrest of Milwaukee Bucks' guard Sterling Brown over a parking violation. As of February 2018, the number of officers who live outside the city core comprises 37 per cent of the service.
And it was all foreseen by the black service members of the Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters, who were among those in favour of keeping the requirement intact because of its impact on community relations. “I've been able to help defuse situations because of having some insight,” said then-president DeWayne Smoots. “When I see somebody who's getting upset, I understand where it's coming from.”
So it comes as rather alarming development when the Globe reported last week that, within the Toronto Police service, less than a quarter of its officers live within the city. In fairness, housing prices in the city have soared; at current trends, even officers pulling six-figure salaries could find themselves hard-pressed to purchase a family home in the inner suburbs. But that systemic problem shouldn't supersede the reality that when officers are parachuted in from beyond the city limits, experts say, there are a multitude of knock-on effects.
In his recently published Independent Street Checks Review, Ontario Appeals Court justice Michael Tulloch said the problems officers face around living where they work “should not overwhelm the benefit of having locally-based policing.” His report says much more about the downsides of parachute policing, including resident concerns that when officers drive into the neighbourhood and spend the majority of their shift in their cruisers – rather than actually speaking to residents and ingratiating themselves within the community – “those police officers were perceived as being less knowledgeable about the dynamics of the community they served, and not representative of the community itself.”
When neighbourhood residents know their officers as invested stakeholders in the community's fortunes, the relationship generally changes for the better. Especially when those officers are of the similar ethnic backgrounds, speak the same language or dialect, have attended the same grade schools, know the same local touchstones, and are so familiar with neighbourhood residents that street checks become redundant. A retired officer once explained to me that this was the central conceit behind both the community liaison process and the Youth in Policing Initiative in Toronto, which not only increased local recruitment and improved community relations but, for a time, coincided with a lengthy tapering-off in per-capita violent crimes across the city.
The idea of instituting incentives (or mandates) for police officers with a Toronto postal code is certainly a tough sell. But as it stands now, the perception that officers have no stake in the community once they've stowed their badges and guns can only further erode resident trust of police, given the history of random street checks, brutal force applied to civilians who have committed no crime, and failure to report incidents to the civilian oversight agency. And it certainly makes for a bad look when carding frequency maps help create a perception that out-of-town officers have been collecting a paycheque in Toronto to enforce an unofficial form of neighbourhood segregation.
With a massive budget already allocated to policing in Toronto, the status quo has resulted in continuously worsening community relations. So the question isn't whether residency requirements or incentives can be accomplished. The question, really, is this: What do we have left to lose?
Public safety, regulations among main topics at Lompoc 'Cannabis Conversation'
The impacts that commercial cannabis in Lompoc will have on public safety, the local business community and the local economy were among a range of topics explored Thursday during a forum hosted by the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“The Cannabis Conversation,” held in a ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn, drew about 85 attendees. During the event, audience members were able to submit questions to a seven-person panel that included representatives from the city's planning, police and fire departments, as well as a local attorney well versed in cannabis regulations, and the president of the Lompoc Valley Cannabis Association.
Among the popular topics during the discussion was the effect that the emerging industry could have on public safety.
Lompoc Police Capt. Joe Mariani said he was hopeful that there wouldn't be a significant increase in crime related to marijuana businesses, but he cautioned that other cities have experienced such issues. In particular, he said, the “cash only” nature of the industry is concerning because it could lead would-be criminals to target cannabis businesses.
“We would like to think that those who are involved in the business are going to be legitimate and run good operations, but we always have to be concerned about the criminal element,” Mariani said. “I don't want to be a fearmonger, but if you have a business where that kind of cash is going to be there, you have to have good security measures in place. We hope to work hand in hand with the cannabis community to make sure that we can do the most to promote public safety, because at the end of the day that's our primary concern.”
Dena Pashke, the city's fire marshal and a battalion chief with the Lompoc Fire Department, also stressed that need for a partnership between industry stakeholders and public safety officials. Pashke noted that some restrictions, like the six-plant limit for residences, are rooted in keeping residents safe, since too many plants indoors can lead to mold spores that can cause illnesses.
Pashke said she was particularly looking forward to working with professionals performing things like cannabis extraction techniques in safe, professional settings.
“If you're [having] legitimate businesses that have laboratories and are protected by fire sprinklers with Ph.D.s and chemists doing the experiments and basically cooking what they need to cook professionally, we are going to take out some of the element that are doing it illegally in homes,” she said. “So from a fire response, I would like to go to less butane explosions in residences that are causing great bodily harm and exposing our first responders. This business, legitimizing it, can remove some of that risk.”
Lompoc Fire Chief Gerald Kuras, who was also on the panel, agreed.
“We gotta get rid of the do-it-yourselfers; that's one of our biggest problems,” Kuras said. “Just recently, in the last month, we've had two honey oil explosions here in the Lompoc Valley. Those are the things that we've got to stop.”
The panelists also touched on some of the aspects of the state and city cannabis regulations, such as the fact that people are allowed to be in possession of legally acquired cannabis, though it is only allowed to be smoked publicly in areas where cigarettes are allowed.
People who are found to be causing trouble while under the influence of marijuana in public will be treated much the same as people who are causing problems publicly while under the influence of alcohol, Mariani said.
It was also asked during the forum whether the city had considered a cannabis business zone, similar to the so-called Wine Ghetto in east Lompoc.
Lompoc Planning Manager Brian Halvorson said that hadn't been formally addressed, but he noted that the applications were suggesting that a high concentration of the industry could be developing on the northwest portion of the city, off Central Avenue.
Kuras said that he talked with public safety leaders in other cities last year and many of them recommended limiting cannabis businesses and having a specified cannabis zone, so as to keep a better handle on cannabis-related activity.
Lompoc did neither of those things.
Several questions at the forum were also related to the commercial cannabis licensing process and how land-use issues are settled.
Halvorson addressed several of those concerns. He noted that the city has a map showing all of the areas where commercial cannabis businesses are and aren't allowed, due to things like schools and youth centers requiring, at a minimum, 600-foot buffer exclusion zones.
One audience member asked how an issue would be settled if, for example, a youth center relocated to an area where a cannabis business was being planned but was still in the application process and not yet licensed.
Halvorson noted that those types of disputes, in general, would be settled on a first-come, first-served basis — meaning the business with a license would take precedence — but he said that specific issues might have to be vetted by the city's legal team.
That “jockeying for position,” as he phrased it, has been a challenge over the past year, he said.
Al Johnson, the city's building services manager, reinforced early in the discussion that the city aims to treat commercial cannabis the same as it would any other industry. He said that the influx of cannabis applications indicates a rising economic tide in the city.
“Fortunately ... we are extremely busy and things are looking way up in the city of Lompoc,” he said.
John de Friel, president of the Lompoc Valley Cannabis Association, outlined some of the ways that the 8-month-old trade organization has helped shape the local industry. That included its work with the city this past November that led to the City Council agreeing to issue letters in support of temporary state licenses, which were needed for any business to open its doors in Lompoc in 2019.
Lompoc's first retail cannabis storefront, a dispensary, is scheduled to open Friday at 423 W. Ocean Ave.
Local attorney Rob Traylor, who said he has advised clients within the industry, also provided insight into the state and local regulations.
He pointed out that business owners, and would-be business owners, have faced many challenges, considering the ever-changing landscape of the industry, the fluid nature of the local zoning maps, and the difficulties of dealing with banks, among others.
De Friel added to that late in the meeting when he pointed out, from his own experience as a business owner, that the cannabis industry is not recognized as legal on the federal level, but that the federal government taxes it more than any other.
The forum was held, according to Lompoc Chamber President/CEO Amber Wilson, to educate the community and clear up any misconceptions that may be perpetuating within the community and/or on social media regarding the cannabis industry.
The impact of a government shutdown on public safety
Here's a breakdown of who is considered "essential" and "nonessential"
As the Trump administration and Congress continue to spar over $5 billion in funding for a new border wall, the resulting government shutdown has reached day 26. On Jan. 12, it officially became the longest shutdown in American history, with no indication of an end in sight.
FIRST RESPONDER AND PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL AFFECTED
In 2013, a government shutdown occurred from Oct. 1-16 during the Obama administration over the inability to agree on Obamacare.
During that time, the shutdown closed the National Emergency Training Center, forcing the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to move events scheduled for its annual Memorial Weekend.
Mark Bray, a firefighter-paramedic at Montrose (Colo.) Fire Department, posted a question on Facebook during the 2013 shutdown about the National Fire Academy.
"Anybody know if the National Fire Academy was affected by the government shutdown?" Bray asked his Facebook followers.
Facebook follower Stephen Hrustich responded, saying the "gate is locked. You will not be picked up. Off campus classes are still being offered although with no support from the NFA."
In dismay, Bray replied, "They close up shop at the NFA and don't call or email students and tell them not to come or buy air fare. They force park rangers to clear the pond at Lake Powell and don't pay them."
Similarly, the FBI National Academy cancelled classes for the first time in its history during the 2013 shutdown. During the shutdown, Capt. Matt Canfield was into his first week of specialized training in Quantico, Virginia. According to the Laconia Daily Sun, Capt. Canfield was told that "his instructors were not considered 'essential personnel' and the training would be stopped."
During the shutdown, all federal employees who are believed to be "nonessential" are furloughed without pay.
ESSENTIAL, NONESSENTIAL FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
Essential personnel, according to NBC News, include:
Active duty military and civilian personnel
Doctors and nurses working in federal hospitals
Air traffic controllers
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents
Coast Guard personnel
Meat and poultry inspectors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention members
National park rangers
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms field offices
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, all VA operations will continue unimpeded.
Most federal agencies, however, do close during a shutdown, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the IRS. Nearly 90 percent of Department of Homeland Security personnel, who are considered "essential," continue working, according to the DHS. Most Department of Justice employees also continue working during a shutdown.
The National Park Service closed many national parks and the national monuments in Washington, D.C., but kept others open with limited staffing. Joshua Tree National Park, which remained open during some of the shutdown, was recently closed because of litter and destruction. U.S. Forest Service employees were also deemed "nonessential."
The shutdown is also having an impact on firefighter training season, as federal firefighters are prevented from prepping for the upcoming wildfire season, including removing "dry 'fuel' that feeds catastrophic blazes."
Congress, on the other hand, continues to operate during a shutdown and members of Congress also continue to be paid. Federal prisons also still operate during a shutdown, and many COs are feeling the squeeze.
And even though some workers are deemed "essential," it doesn't mean that they all still get paid during a shutdown; they can have their pay withheld and still have to continue working.
THE EFFECTS OF A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
The longer a shutdown occurs, the more serious it becomes. For example, the TSA, facing excessive absences as the shutdown nears its fourth week, issued a warning about the mounting security issues caused by the prolonged shutdown.
A government shutdown affects many different departments, agencies, personnel and everyday American citizens.
It causes havoc for departments and agencies that some may argue should always be considered "essential." It also creates low morale for those who are still required to work, despite being unpaid, due to the lack of backing and support of a full staff.
Over the coming days, Congress and the Trump administration will continue negotiating in order to reach a deal.
Until then, it's all a waiting game.
Seven charts that show the world is actually becoming a better place
Key data shows that the world is much better off today than ever before in history
by Julius Probst
Swedish academic Hans Rosling has identified a worrying trend: not only do many people across advanced economies have no idea that the world is becoming a much better place, but they actually even think the opposite. This is no wonder, when the news focuses on reporting catastrophes, terrorist attacks, wars and famines.
Who wants to hear about the fact that every day some 200,000 people around the world are lifted above the US$2-a-day poverty line? Or that more than 300,000 people a day get access to electricity and clean water for the first time every day?
These stories of people in low-income countries simply doesn't make for exciting news coverage. But, as Rosling pointed out in his book Factfulness, it's important to put all the bad news in perspective, reports The Conversation.
While it is true that globalisation has put some downward pressure on middle-class wages in advanced economies in recent decades, it has also helped lift hundreds of millions of people above the global poverty line – a development that has mostly occurred in South-East Asia.
The recent rise of populism that has swept across Western countries, with Trump, Brexit, and the election of populists in Hungary and Italy, among various other factors, is thus of great concern if we care about global welfare. Globalisation is the only way forward to ensure that economic prosperity is shared among all countries and not only a select few advanced economies.
While some people glorify the past, one of the big facts of economic history is that until quite recently a significant part of the world population has lived under quite miserable conditions – and this has been true throughout most of human history. The following seven charts show how the world has become a much better place compared to just a few decades ago.
1. LIFE EXPECTANCY CONTINUES TO RISE
Even during the Industrial Revolution, average life expectancy across European countries did not exceed around 35 years. This does not imply that most people died in their late 30s or even 40s, since it was mostly very high levels of child mortality rates that pulled down the average. Women dying in childbirth was obviously a big problem too. So were some common diseases such as smallpox and the plague, for example, which now have been completely eradicated in high-income countries.
2. CHILD MORTALITY CONTINUES TO FALL
More than a century ago, child mortality rates were still exceeding 10% – even in high-income countries such as the US and the UK. But thanks to modern medicine, and better public safety in general, this number has been reduced to almost zero in rich countries.
Plus, developing economies like India and Brazil now have much lower child mortality rates today than advanced economies had at similar income levels about one century ago.
3. FERTILITY RATES ARE FALLING
Even though many are concerned about the global population explosion, the fact is that fertility rates have fallen significantly across the globe. UN population estimates largely expect the global population to stabilise at about 11 billion by the end of this century.
4. GDP GROWTH HAS ACCELERATED IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
Technological leaders, the US and Western Europe, have been growing at about 2% per year, on average, for the past 150 years. This means that real income levels roughly double every 36 years.
While there were many long-lasting ups and downs, like the Great Depression or the recent Great Recession, the constancy of the long-run growth rate is actually quite miraculous. Low-income countries, including China and India, have been growing at a significantly faster pace in recent decades and are quickly catching up to the West. A 10% growth rate over a prolonged period means that income levels double roughly every seven years. It is obviously good news if prosperity is more shared across the globe.
5. GLOBAL INCOME INEQUALITY HAS GONE DOWN
While inequality within countries has gone up as a result of globalisation, global inequality has been on a steady downward trend for several decades. This is mostly a result of developing countries such as China and India where hundreds of millions of people have seen their living standards improve. In fact, for the first time ever since the Industrial Revolution, about half of the global population can be considered global middle class.
6. MORE PEOPLE ARE LIVING IN DEMOCRACIES
Throughout most of human history people lived under oppressive non-democratic regimes. As of today, about half of the human population is living in a democracy. Out of those still living in autocracies, 90% are in China. While the country has recently moved in the other direction, there is reason to believe that continued economic development might eventually lead to democratisation (according to modernisation theory).
7. CONFLICTS ARE ON THE DECLINE
Throughout history, the world has been riven by conflict. In fact, at least two of the world's largest powers have been at war with each other more than 50% of the time since about 1500.
While the early 20th century was especially brutal with two world wars in rapid succession, the postwar period has been very peaceful. For the first time ever, there has been no war or conflict in Western Europe in about three generations, And international organisations including the EU and the UN have led to a more stable world.