World Class Policing Awards

November 20, 2019

Initial World Class Policing awards were recently announced as reported here. The awards “reflect that effective modern day policing requires partnership and collaboration, whether in teams of officers and staff; collaboration between forces; multi-agency operations; wider public sector involvement; and collaboration also with the supplier community and beyond.” The overall winner was UK’s Devon & Cornwall Police for their Operation Encompass initiative through which police and schools give careful and immediate attention to children who have experienced police-attended incidents of domestic abuse. Other winners came from the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.

Evolving police strategies

November 18, 2019

This 12-minute public radio segment reviews the re-invention of foot patrol, growing recognition that crime is concentrated in hot spots, and the current development of evidence-based policing, highlighting the significance of studies done in Kansas City, Newark, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. “The tension between prevention and response is the fundamental issue,” according to Larry Sherman, adding “I think on a scale of 1 to 10, evidence-based policing in the U.S., in terms of practice, is about a 2.”

Keeping Nightlife Safe

November 18, 2019

This COPS newsletter article describes an initiative in Arlington, Virginia aimed at improving safety in their nighttime entertainment district. The program “provides a wide range of resources and staff training to restaurants that participate” and accredits establishments “that are committed to responsible alcohol management.” Participating businesses are promoted by the city and “by reducing disorderly conduct and crime, local nightlife is more attractive to visitors, which makes businesses better and the community happier.” The police department has been able to reduce their nightly staffing in the entertainment zone from 20 officers to 8 officers.

Driving while high

November 16, 2019

Data from 2012 to 2016 indicate that “Colorado, Oregon, and Washington saw a combined 5.2% increase in the rate of police-reported crashes after legalizing recreational marijuana, compared with neighboring states where such sales are illegal,” as reported here. Figures on fatalities do not show the same trend, probably because “drivers who are high tend to drive at lower speeds.” Enforcement remains difficult due to limitations on detection as well as lack of clear-cut standards on the relationship between consumption and impairment.

Dispatcher recruiting tough too

November 14, 2019

This article reports current challenges in recruiting and retaining dispatchers and other emergency telecommunicators. Pay is often low, stress can be high, and the job is more complex than in the past. Some jurisdictions have begun to offer improved benefits on par with sworn law enforcement. One official notes “Dispatch hasn’t had a lot of attention in recent years. We’re starting to get some attention on the changing role and starting to recognize the pressure that these employees are under.”

Sleep deprivation high among police

November 14, 2019

According to a recent study summarized in this article, about 50% of protective service workers — including police — reported short sleep duration (less than 7 hours daily), higher than any other occupational category. The next highest group was health care support workers. The article notes that “Insufficient sleep is associated with conditions like obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”

Emergency medical training for police

November 11, 2019

This article describes an advanced 4-day training program for Seattle police officers already certified as EMTs. The training is “tailored for law enforcement officers who must first secure a violent scene before rendering aid, even amid the panic following an event like a mass shooting.” Nationally there is growing awareness that police need more than basic first aid and CPR training in order to save lives in the immediate aftermath of shootings — including the public and also their own life and those of other officers.

Secret Service report on school violence

November 9, 2019

A new Secret Service analysis of targeted school violence is available here. The report examines 41 incidents that occurred in K-12 schools from 2008 to 2017. A main conclusion is that “A multidisciplinary threat assessment team, in conjunction with the appropriate policies, tools, and training, is the best practice for preventing future tragedies.” Prevention is essential — “Because most of these attacks ended very quickly, law enforcement rarely had the opportunity to intervene before serious harm was caused to students or staff. Additionally, many of the schools that experienced these tragedies had implemented physical security measures.”

Mental health crisis or meth?

November 7, 2019

This article reports challenges faced by police when encountering someone behaving erratically — is it a mental health issue or a substance abuse issue? Officers working in areas currently experiencing a surge in meth abuse may find it difficult to tell which cause is behind a person’s behavior. A particular sticking point is that calm de-escalation techniques are recommended when handling a mental health crisis, but that approach may not work best with someone under the influence of drugs.

COPS Office best practices guide

October 31, 2019

The COPS Office has published “Law Enforcement Best Practices: Lessons Learned from the Field” available here. Topics include community policing, de-escalation, crisis intervention, recruitment, and retention. The guide “was developed by experts and practitioners from across the country to provide practical advice” to new and seasoned chiefs and sheriffs along with staff involved in planning and program development.