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Islanders for Collaborative Policing Policy Report

Islanders for Collaborative Policing Policy Report

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PolicingPolicyReportCitizensSubcommittee

IslandersforCollaborativePolicing August28,2012
1
IslandersforCollaborativePolicing
(ICP)isaBainbridgeIslandcitizens’groupcommittedtoasimpleconcept:BainbridgeresidentsarebestservedbyapoliceDepartmentthatembracesacollaborativeapproachtopolicing.OurgoalisaDepartmentthatvaluescitizeninputandparticipation,bothinthe“bigpicture”contextofpolicyandintheday-to-daycontextofpolicing.Wesupport:
 
Apolicedepartmentthatworkswiththecitizensitservestodefinewhatservicesareneededandhowtheyarebestprovided,
 
Apolicedepartmentthatdrawsupontheknowledgeandprofessionalexpertiseofcitizensandcommunitygroups,
 
Apolicedepartmentthathasclearprioritiesandgoalsarticulatedinapublicly-accessiblestrategicplan,
 
Apolicedepartmentthatprovidesmeaningfulinformationtothecommunityconcerningcrimeandpublicsafety,
 
Apolicedepartmentthatencouragescitizenfeedback,includingcitizencomplaints,
 
Apolicedepartmentthatproactivelyprovidestrainingandeducationtoitsofficersdirectlyrelatedtothetypesofcrimesandissuesaffectingthecommunity,
 
Policeofficerswhoseethemselvesasprofessionalsandasavaluedpartofthecommunitywhoaretrusted,appreciatedandrespectedbyBainbridgeIslandresidents.Wealsofavorandseektopromotecommunitymemberswhoareinformedandengagedinpolicingissues.Collaborativepolicingwillonlysucceedwhenbothresidentsandpolicerespectandunderstandeachother,andrecognizethebenefitsofpartnershipandcommunication.
SURVEY
InMarch2012,ICPadministeredasurveytogaugecommunityopiniononlocalpolicingontheIsland.TheresultssuggestatroublingdisconnectbetweentheBIPDandIslandresidents.LessthanaquarterofrespondentshaveapositiveimpressionofthePoliceDepartmentandlessthanafifththinkofficersareusingtheirtimeappropriately.Wellover400respondents(outof625)eitherdonottrustthe
1
TheICPCitizensCommitteethanksNormStamper,RichDaniels,TedRynearson,andBruceWeilandfortheirassistancewiththisreport.Wearealsogratefulfortheinputwe’vereceivedfromInterimPublicSafetyDirectorLarryDickerson,CommanderSueShultz,andBIPDofficers.
 
2Departmentatall(300respondents)ortrustofficersbutnotDepartmentleadership(111respondents).Whileweshouldnotreadtoomuchintotheseresults,asthiswasanon-scientificsurveyofaself-selectedsampleofparticipants,
2
thenumberofresponsesreceiveddemonstratesthattherearehundredsofIslandresidentswhocareaboutlocalpolicingandhundredswhohaveformednegativeimpressionsoftheirPoliceDepartment.TheICPCitizen’sCommitteeunderstandstheshortcomingsofaninformalsurvey,butnonethelessregardstheseresultsasbothmeaningfulandilluminating.Wethinkthebestwaytoclosethe“trustgap”betweenIslandresidentsandtheBIPDistomovetheDepartmentclosertoa
collaborativestyleofpolicing
.
THECONCEPTOF“COLLABORATIVEPOLICING”
Collaborativepolicingisavariantofcommunitypolicing.Likecommunitypolicing,itemphasizestheimportanceofresidentinputandparticipationinthecontextofpolicing.Itenvisionspolicingasapartnershipbetweencommunityresidentsandofficers,asopposedtoa“topdown”relationshipwhereresidentspassivelyreceivepolicingservices.WeareguidedherebythephilosophyofAdvisoryCommitteeMember(andformerSeattlePoliceChief)NormStamper,whostressestheimportanceof“authenticpartnerships”betweencommunitiesandtheirpolice.AccordingtoChiefStamper,thecommunityhasa“deepandabidingstake”inpolicingpoliciesonsuchissuesaslawenforcementpriorities,trainingandtheuseofforce.“Policebelongtothepeople,nottheotherwayaround.”
3
ICPRECOMMENDATIONS
Basedonthesurveyresults,alongwithourindependentresearch,discussions,andstudyofothercities,werespectfullysubmitthefollowingrecommendations:
1.
 
TheCityanditsPoliceDepartmentshouldpubliclycommitto“CollaborativePolicing.”
WerecommendthattheIsland’sCityCouncilandPoliceDepartmentadoptaformalresolutionthattheyarecommittedto“CollaborativePolicing,”andthatthiscommitmentbereiteratedintheDepartment’smissionstatementsandStrategicPlan.ThiscommitmentshouldguidetheCityCouncil,Cityadministration,andthePoliceDepartment,includingbothadministrationandofficers,inaddressingandundertakingpolicingresponsibilities.
2
ThesurveywasopentothepublicfromMarch15to29,2012.InvitationstotakethesurveyappearedintheBainbridgeReview,InsideBainbridge,alocallistserv,andonaKitsapSunreporter’stwitterpage.646peopleparticipatedinthesurvey,and97%self-identifiedasBainbridgeIslandresidents.AcopyofthesurveyquestionsandresponsesisavailableontheICPblog:http://collpol.blogspot.com.
3
PresentationtotheICPCitizen’sCommittee,BainbridgeIsland,April24,2012.
 
32.
TheBIPDshouldcreateandpublishcleargoalsandobjectives.
BIPDleadership,atpresent,doesnotshareinformationwiththepublicaboutits“bigpicture”goalsorobjectives.Forinstance,residentsdonotknowhowtheDepartmentmeasuressuccess(solvingcrimes?maintainingorder?numberoftraffictickets?collectingrevenue?assistingresidents?).Asaconsequence,citizenshavenomeaningfulwaytoevaluateDepartmentneedsortoassessitsperformance.
4
Ofadditionalconcernareallegationsthatinformationaboutobjectivesisnotevenshared
within
theDepartment,tothefrustrationofBIPDofficersandemployees.
5
ICPrecommendsthatashort,clearlistofDepartmentobjectivesbeimmediatelycomposedandpubliclydisseminated,alongwith—inthelongerterm—thecreationofaBIPDstrategicplan.TheseinitiativesshouldbedirectedbyBIPDleadership,takingintoaccountthoughtsandcommentssolicitedfromitsofficers,CityadministrationandIslandresidents.Thestrategicplanningprocess,inparticular,wouldgivetheBIPDausefulandpositiveopportunitytointeractwithlocalcitizensandbenefitfromtheirideas.Wefurtherrecommend(asindicatedearlier)thatboththeDepartment’slistofobjectivesanditsstrategicplanincludeanexpresscommitmenttocollaborativecommunitypolicing.3.
ThePoliceDepartmentshouldprovideinformationaboutIslandcrimeandDepartmentactivitytothepubliconanongoingbasis,andthePoliceChiefshouldreporttotheCityCouncilatleastquarterly.
Meaningfulcommunity/policecollaborationcannotexistwithoutanopenandtruthfulsharingofinformation.Our2012communityperceptionssurveyindicatesstrikinglackofknowledgeaboutlocalcrimeandlawenforcement.Thisisnotsurprising:thereisnocrimeinformationprovidedontheBIPDwebsite,andtherearenowrittencrimestatisticsprovidedtotheCityManagerorCityCouncil.InformationaboutlocalcrimeissubmittedtotheFBIonamonthlybasis,butthisinformationisnotmadeavailabletothepublicandnoannualreportisproduced.
6
WerecommendthatthePoliceChiefpresentinformationaboutlocalcrime,totheCityCouncilandCityManager,onatleastaquarterlybasis.WealsorecommendthattheChiefprovideinformation,duringthispresentation,aboutofficeractivityandofficertraining(particularlyasthesethingsrelatetoDepartmentgoals),aswellasstaffingandrecruitment.ThisreportingwouldprovidethepublicwithanopportunitytohearfromtheirChiefonaregularbasis.Itwouldalsoprovidethe
4
Weknow,fromoursurvey,thatmanyresidentsthinktherearetoomanyofficersonBainbridge,orthatofficershavelittletodobutharasspeacefulcitizens.Thesenegative(and,wethink,incorrect)perceptionswillnotbechangeduntiltheDepartmentcanspeakclearlyaboutitsgoalsandhowitworkstoachievethem.
5
BainbridgeIslandPoliceGuildNoConfidenceVoteletter,June11,2012
6
Neitherthe“policeblotter”northeKitsapSun’sinteractivecrimemappresentsinformationinasystemizedorcomprehensiveway.

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