As we prepare for change, it’s important to recognize as well as acknowledge the history, sacrifice, and good work of law enforcement. It’s also important to emphasize that the men and women who serve and protect our communities have repeatedly proven their dedication, commitment, and willingness to adapt to any situation in order to provide better services. We view this current challenge as another opportunity to elevate, enhance, and enrich our services.
Whether confronted with massive changes in technology, new strategies like Community Policing, increases in violent crimes, domestic abuse, sexual assault, home invasions, opium epidemics, health pandemics, or many other dangerous and demanding challenges, law enforcement has successfully altered, changed, and improved our services repeatedly throughout our long history and we promise to continue this tradition as many times as necessary. We have and always will strive and sacrifice to meet the current challenge.
With this in mind, we provide the following proposal for moving forward together.
Phrase 1: Elevate:
As a department, we will shift our strategy away from response-based towards a strategy of People Are The Prize.
For the last fifty years, law enforcement has slowly switched strategies from community based to response based. This was done out of necessity due to the emergence of mass murders, terrorist attacks, school shootings, and other extreme violence that has required our officers to rapidly decrease response times. When it comes to these types of extreme violence, speed is paramount and every second saved is also a life saved. It must be acknowledged that many lives have been saved because of this strategy and we want to assure our communities and families that the great gains made in speeding up response times cannot and will not be diminished or eliminated.
The strategy of People Are The Prize is not a negation of services but a deliberate decision to elevate people to a higher level or to their rightful spot of preeminence—people are the prize.
People Are The Prize is a shift of perspectives, practices, and policies away from a response-based strategy towards a community-based strategy. A response-based strategy focuses on enforcement, making arrests, and gauges success on the visible evidence of police action. People Are The Prize focuses on the protection of people, empowering communities, and gauges success in the absence of crime, disorder, and the lack of the need for police involvement.
This new strategy resembles community policing but is a significant improvement in strategy, services, training, and goals. Community policing is limited because it only focuses outward at improving the community while People are the Prize focuses both outward and also inward at improving the police department. Not only will this enhance the lives of our community members and their families, but also the lives of our police officers and their families.
Law enforcement is an extremely demanding profession. By treating people as the prize, including our police officers and their families, we hope to reduce the extremely high rates of suicide, broken marriages, alcoholism, and frustration experienced by our police officers as well as improve officer retention and recruitment of the best people.
It is important to note that the same strategy used to help our communities succeed will also be the same strategy used to help our police officers succeed. By sharing this same strategy we will be able to move forward as well as flourish together as a community and a police department.
Phrase 2: Enhance:
Every member of the police department will enhance their understanding and ability to deliver better services through ongoing and specialized training in implementing People Are The Prize..
Supervisors, unit leaders, Field Training Officers, and other critical leaders will receive advanced training in strategic planning and implementation, personal leadership, community policing, building relationships, problem-solving, and how to successfully implement People Are The Prize in a community and inside a police department.
Individual Police Officers:
Every patrol officer as well as support staff will receive specialized training in community policing, building relationships, and how to successfully implement People Are The Prize.
Community Resource Officers:
A new unit will be created. This group of energetic, dedicated, and highly trained officers will become Community Resource Officers (CRO’s). These men and women will embody the strategy of People are the Prize and through their specialized knowledge, abilities, and personal example will become a tremendous resource for our communities as well as guide, lead, and mentor their fellow officers through this period of change.
CRO’s will receive in-depth training in leadership, community policing, crime prevention, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), conducting comprehensive vulnerability and threat assessments, creating and implementing community assistance plans, problem-solving, de-escalating and diverting, public speaking, guiding community efforts, as well as managing time, setting goals, and reaching positive outcomes.
Phrase 3: Enrich:
This phrase will begin the coordinated delivery of new services to enrich our communities.
Immediately upon the completion of training, Community Resource Officers will begin the process, in partnership with community leaders, of crafting Community Project Plans (CPP’s). CPP’s are flexible but focused action plans that encourage forward progress through clearly defined steps. CPP’s will identify individual community concerns, strengths, areas of improvement, goals, objectives, available resources, and outcomes necessary for improving the safety and enriching the quality of life in our communities.
Because police officers are a part of our communities, CPP’s will also include concerns, strengths, and areas of improvement for the police officers providing services for the community. CPP’s will be distributed to every officer so that he or she will be able to better understand, support, and help the families living in that community to reach desired outcomes.
The creation of new CPP’s will take place when new areas of improvement are identified or established CPP’s are accomplished.
Every person wants to be safe, valued, and respected. This is true in our families, communities, and our police departments. We are committed to positive change that will elevate, enhance, and enrich the lives of our communities and their families as well as the lives of our police officers and their families.
If we really hope to be successful then this effort must be more than simply a community or a police initiative but a community and a police initiative. We as a police department must value, respect, and help every member of our community to be safe but our communities must also value, respect, and help each officer to be safe. We must be partners who earnestly care for the good and well-being of each other or our success will be limited and our gains small.
While we can begin this process immediately, there are laws, policies, and procedures that will also have to change. We must be patient as some of these changes must come from higher authorities. We must also be flexible and understanding. It is also difficult to prepare and train large numbers of people in new policies and procedures. It takes time, understanding, and flexibility until procedures can be perfected.
It must be clearly stated that police officers are required by law to enforce the law. Certain offenses mandate that the officer must make an arrest. Our new strategy is to not treat an arrest as the prize, but people. People are the prize and any arrest that is made will be under and not over our commitment to elevate, enhance, and enrich the lives of all of community members.
For more information or to schedule a conference call...
Share This Article