to the Editor
input from LACP.org forum participants
Wisconsin - Problem solving is the future of
FYI, this is a message I recently sent to some members of the Wisconsin
Association of Community Oriented Policing (WACOP). I consider professional
problem solving the future of policing:
Dear Fellow WACOPpers:
With all due respect to officials of District 2, I was a tiny bit
disappointed with the regional meeting on April 26th in Beloit.
I think that we -- all of WACOP -- must be alert to what WACOP, in
my opinion, is and should be. What is it that makes WACOP unique?
It is the emphasis on community problem solving a la SARA or some
other problem solving methodology, in my opinion.
Presentations at the meetings and conferences are fine, but I would
put the roundtables and demonstrations of police-community problem
solving as the first priority and the topical presentations as lower
priorities. The roundtables seem to be taking second place and in
some cases not happening at all, or they take place at the end of
the afternoon when most participants are meeting-ed out, anxious to
get home, and not at their innovative and creative best. Attendance
is sparse except for those who are there only to catch the presentation.
Some of you old-timers might remember the meeting at the UW-Madison
campus some years ago, when some departmental high muckety-mucks (the
"superfluous supervisory personnel") sort of dominated the meeting?
Some of the regular participants (poor, lowly street working stiffs)
were actually angry that "their" meeting had been co-opted. I hope
we never lose the WACOP emphasis on the front line, modern, professional
police, street-level problem solver.
I think that at the annual conferences, every presentation ought to
be required to have as its theme how to identify problems, analyze,
respond to, and assess results. I think the process is what is unique
to WACOP, even more than the substance.
As I've said before, "If your community oriented policing isn't heavily
invested in problem solving, all you have is a glorified public relations
program." What is the WACOP mission? What makes WACOP different? What
makes WACOP special?
Maybe roundtables should be first thing in the morning at the regional
meetings, followed by a short presentation in the afternoon. Or, maybe
a short presentation should be "bracketed" by some roundtable first,
followed by a presentation, then finish the day off with more roundtable?
Maybe participants should be assigned homework to bring with them
a problem to share when called upon at the meeting. Maybe we should
re-institute the roundtables at the annual conference?
I expect some of you to disagree, and that's OK ... These comments
come to you as constructive criticism.
John Scepanski, Training Officer
Wis. Dept. of Justice, Trg. & Standards Bur.(P.O.S.T.)
PO Box 7070, Madison, WI, USA 53707-7070
608 / 267-2781