Today's LACP news:
February 20, 2017
6 ways beat officers can make a difference through community policing
A beat officer committed to protecting and serving the community is what community policing is about
by Lt. Dan Marcou
Since community policing programs began popping up all over the nation in the late 1980s and early 1990s it has been simultaneously loved by some and hated by others within the ranks of law enforcement.
There is now an effort to re-deploy it, to reduce rising tensions between police and their communities. As a career-long-practitioner of community policing, I would like to share with you eight aspects of a style of community policing, that I came to believe in and train.
1. It is not a line item program
When at its best, community policing is not a program. It is a philosophy, which when embraced, pays dividends to officers who apply it on the street. It needs no funding, because it doesn't cost a penny to implement it.
Community policing is what happens when an officer casts off the “us against them” mindset and comes to realize he or she is a part of, not apart from, the community they serve. Police work, after all, is more effectively done when the community is standing behind you, rather than standing against you.
In spite of what is depicted on the nightly news, recent polls show the majority, in the communities around the country, believe in their local police.
2. It is not “Officer Friendly”
Some people believe community policing is a glorified “Officer Friendly Program” and is soft on crime. This is the fault of agencies in the 1990s, assigning community policing officers to perform non-law enforcement duties. Some agencies stipulated that these community policing officers were not allowed to answer calls for service. Fortunately, that mindset has changed.
Community policing is most effective when embraced as a philosophy of active beat officers rather than as specialized duty assignment. It occurs naturally when a beat cop gets to empathetically know the people on the beat. This officer protects them as if they were an extended family. These officers watch over the people, their homes and businesses on the beat like they were their very own. A beat officer committed to protecting and serving the community is what community policing is about.
3. It is being available for a call
This career can make an officer quite negative and cynical if he or she lets it. Cynicism can make a caring officer appear uncaring during contacts. But, when practicing the community policing philosophy, officers are no longer just a call taker and report writer. A call for service will be answered with as much empathy as the officer can muster.
The simple act of outwardly caring about a victim affects how the victim perceives the officer. It takes no additional time, nor expense to care.
Now if that act of caring leads the beat officer to do a bit of follow-up and actually bring the case to a successful conclusion as often as possible, there is great satisfaction in this not only for the victim, but the officer as well.
4. It is about protecting and serving
It says “protect and serve” on every squad car in most jurisdictions around the country and every officer must be fully prepared to protect themselves and others.
The unfortunate truth is that after many officers complete their entry level fitness testing and training, they often stop physically training and only rarely sharpen their protective skills.
It is critical for officers to become experts at every level of force from communication skills to empty hand control, all the way up to deadly force. Possessing a tool box filled with effective, yet defensible, tactics will help officers win on the street and in the court of public opinion.
Officers need to be trained to prevail on the street, while demonstrating they are model citizens.
5. It is a two-way street
Police can't be truly effective unless the vast majority of the members of the community do their part. When a partnership exists between police and the community, criminals will find it necessary to retreat into the shadows.
Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern policing, identified this aspect of policing, when he said police must strive:
“To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties, which are incumbent on every citizen in the interest of community welfare an existence.”
6. It must be observable at street level
The community hearing about community policing from the chief or sheriff will not have the impact of seeing it in practice on a daily basis by beat officers.
Even if there is no departmental buy-in for the community policing philosophy it does not preclude one officer from employing it on their own beat. In doing so, that officer can have a tremendous impact on people one call at a time, one contact at a time.
Community policing is really American policing. It is the protecting and serving of the people, by the people and for the people. It behooves police officers to recognize the need to both protect and serve, while always having the community welfare in mind.
Always remember that ultimately your community will judge by how officers protect and they will appreciate them for how they serve.
About the author
Lt. Dan Marcou is an internationally-recognized, police trainer, who was a highly-decorated police officer with 33 years of full time law enforcement experience. Marcou's awards include Police Officer of the Year, SWAT Officer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, and Domestic Violence Officer of the Year. Upon retiring, Lt. Marcou began writing. His Novels, “The Calling, the Making of a Veteran Cop,” “SWAT, Blue Knights in Black Armor,” “Nobody's Heroes,” and Destiny of Heroes,” as well as his latest Non-Fiction Offering, “Law Dogs, Great Cops in American History,” are all highly acclaimed and available at Amazon
Work Continues On Tulsa's Community Policing Plan
Tulsa, Oklahoma- The City of Tulsa's community policing commission is working on a plan for better relationships between the public and police.
Early goals include recruiting more minority officers and stronger outreach at community events.
Some of the work is already is happening, but Police Chief Chuck Jordan says other ideas involve more time and money.
"True community policing will only happen when our officers have the unassigned time to make personal relationships with the people on their beat, that's what's really going to be a success," said Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan.
The commission will come up with a final report next month.
Bill would make killing first responders a death penalty crime
A bill in the Ohio House would add killing a first responder or military member to the list of slayings eligible for the death penalty
by The Associated Press
CLEVELAND — A bill in the Ohio House would add killing a first responder or military member to the list of slayings eligible for the death penalty.
The proposal from Rep. Dave Greenspan, a Republican from Westlake in suburban Cleveland, would address fatal attacks on firefighters and emergency medical service providers.
The legislation in the House Criminal Justice Committee would also include killings of current and former military members including reservists and national guard members.
Killing a police officer is already a crime eligible for the death penalty.
Greenspan tells Cleveland.com the goal is providing a strong deterrent. He says he was inspired to act by cases in recent years nationally and in Ohio of attacks on police, fire and military personnel.
Man who allegedly killed Denver transit security officer says he supports Islamic State
Police have uncovered no evidence to suggest Joshua Cummings was either directed by ISIS to carry out Officer Scott Von Lanken's killing or may have been inspired by the group
by James Anderson and Colleen Slevin
DENVER — A former U.S. soldier accused of shooting and killing a transit guard in downtown Denver last month says he is a supporter of the Islamic State group, but investigators say they have not found evidence the terror group had anything to do with the killing.
In a telephone interview Thursday from Denver's jail, Joshua Cummings told The Associated Press he pledged his allegiance to ISIS after spending three days behind bars fasting.
He said he did so to purge himself of an oath he took to uphold the U.S. Constitution when he joined the Army in 1996.
Speaking calmly and addressing a reporter as "ma'am", the Islamic convert from Pampa, Texas, declined to discuss the crime or whether his support for ISIS led him, as police allege, to walk behind Scott Von Lanken while he was speaking to two women around 11 p.m. on Jan. 31 and put a gun to his neck.
One of the women told investigators Cummings said something like, "Do what you are told," just before he opened fire and ran away, police have said.
Cummings was found a short time later hiding on the terrace of an apartment building with a handgun, authorities said.
Police have uncovered no evidence to suggest Cummings was either directed by ISIS to carry out the killing or may have been inspired by the group, Denver Police Commander Barb Archer said Friday.
She said Cummings, 37, has declined to talk with detectives and that investigators have not determined a motive for the killing of Von Lanken, a former police officer who was working as a contract security guard for the Denver area's Regional Transportation District.
Archer said federal authorities who also have investigated Cummings have not told her about a possible Islamic State connection, as she would expect them to if there was one.
"I think he's looking for attention," she said of Cummings' comments about pledging loyalty to the Islamic State.
Cummings served in the Army more than a decade ago but never saw combat.
Investigators interviewed him in December after members of a Denver-area mosque reported concerns about him to federal authorities. The FBI has declined comment on what if any action agents took after Cummings was interviewed or about any involvement they may have in the shooting investigation.
Cummings was living in a suburban Denver motel in the weeks before the shooting. He previously stayed there about a month before briefly returning to Texas.
His public defender, Sarah Welton, declined to discuss her client's comments about the Islamic State.
"I can't speculate on his reasons for calling," she said.
Denver-area Muslim leaders have repudiated Cummings' self-professed practice of Islam. They stressed in a December email to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security their perception that Cummings' statements and rants about Islam at one area mosque led them to fear he had become radicalized.
On Dec. 24, a mosque leader emailed the Department of Homeland Security to say a man identifying himself as a Muslim convert named Joshua, from Pampa, Texas, made worrisome statements that day about fighting to establish "the rule of Islam." The email also said Joshua had rebuked a speaker "as being soft" on Shariah law earlier in December.
Ismael Akbulut, a leader in the Denver-area Muslim community, said he knew nothing about Cummings professing allegiance to the Islamic State.
"It's his own interpretation" of the purpose of fasting, Akbulut said. "If he had been affiliated with ISIS they would post that on social media. They haven't. I think it's his desire to be affiliated with that now."
Islamic State supporters often proclaim their allegiance in social media before attacks. It is less common for them to declare it after the fact.
Cummings had been vocal on Twitter about his views about Islam as well as both critical and supportive of law enforcement.
He told the AP said he had wanted to declare his allegiance ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, earlier but an infection had prevented him from fasting.
The mug shot of Cummings' arrest shows him with the left side of his face swollen and his left eye almost swollen shut.
Since his arrest, he said he received medical care in jail that gave him the ability to fast and "expiate" his prior oath.
He used the Arabic word for allegiance in making his declaration and then explained in English what he meant.
Akbulut said Islam does call for atonement through three days of fasting, but he said that would not apply in the context Cummings described.
"In this case it's totally nonsense," Akbulut said. "It's his own interpretation."
Miami-Dade commission upholds mayor's order to end county's 'sanctuary' status
Mayor Carlos Gimenez defended the decision saying county police are only agreeing to hold people flagged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement
by Adriana Gomez Licon
MIAMI — County commissioners in immigrant-rich Miami-Dade voted Friday to uphold their Cuban-born mayor's order to cooperate with federal immigration officials, drawing shouts of "shame on you" from those hoping to make their community a sanctuary city.
Though it's the only U.S. county where more than half the population is foreign-born, Miami-Dade has bucked a trend among some cities that have sought to defy federal immigration crackdowns out of sympathy with their large migrant populations.
The commissioners, voting 9-3, backed the order of Mayor Carlos Gimenez that was delivered after the administration of President Donald Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from the so-called sanctuary cities.
"This is a country that opened arms to everyone, allowed opportunities to everyone. But this is also a country of law," county commissioner Rebeca Sosa, also of Cuban descent, said before the vote taken in a special public session. "I am so sad to see that people are afraid of something that has nothing to do with immigration. This was just a financial decision."
In emotional public testimony, dozens spoke against the order, including school-age children of deportees, young people brought to the U.S. without legal permission as children, construction workers, lawyers and rights activists.
At one point, four school-age girls and a boy stepped up to the podium holding hands with Nora Sandigo, who has a foundation that helps and houses children whose parents have been deported.
"These kids are orphans because they took their parents away from them. I can't stand this much pain," Sandigo said.
Many of the people gathered at the meeting stood and shouted obscenities at the commissioners when they voted to uphold the mayor.
Hatian-born Jean Monestime was among the three commissioners to vote against the motion.
"Today cannot be about money. It must be about justice," Monestime said. "It must be about dignity it must be about the spirit of our community."
The debate has highlighted a divide between Cuban-Americans and immigrants from other countries, stemming largely from a former immigration policy that gave preferential treatment to Cubans fleeing the island's communist government. For more than 50 years, Cubans arrived to open arms in the U.S. and were able to become citizens much more easily than people from other countries.
"Cuban families, in a general way, haven't been as aware of what it means to be undocumented in this country," said Michael Bustamante, a Florida International University expert on contemporary Cuban history. "They have had a different process to achieve legal status. Not to say that they haven't faced other difficulties."
Miami-Dade counts 51.7 percent of its people as born abroad. But the share of immigrants living here without permission is lower than places like Houston or Atlanta, precisely because Cuban immigrants could quickly get employment authorization cards, a Social Security number and become legal residents.
But that's changed. In January, then President Barack Obama announced that Cubans without residency or visas would be treated as any other immigrant with similar status.
In 2013, Miami-Dade commissioners passed a resolution that local law enforcement officers would comply with federal immigration officials only in cases of serious charges or convictions and only when the federal government agreed to reimburse the county for holding an offender in jail for more than two days. Longer detention while awaiting deportation was costing local taxpayers, Miami-Dade officials said.
The move put the county on a list of sanctuaries in a 2016 Justice Department report. Gimenez contested the designation, and then on Jan. 26, a day after Trump announced he would strip federal funding from sanctuary cities, Gimenez sent a memo instructing the corrections director to honor all immigration detainer requests.
Gimenez defended his decision Friday and said the county's police were not actively chasing people or asking for their immigration status — they were only agreeing to hold people flagged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He said that most of the 34 people who have been requested by immigration authorities had previously committed crimes.
"Look. I am an immigrant myself," Gimenez said. "I can assure our residents that I will not comply with any executive order that will unfairly put our law-abiding immigrants at risk."
But Maria Bilbao, a 51-year-old Argentine who has lived in the U.S. for 16 years and is now obtaining residency, said the commissioners' support of Gimenez's decision is an anti-immigrant stance.
"They are broadening ways in which immigration officials can deport families," she said. "How can they keep a clear conscience."
Peelian principles of policing: How to get the public on your side
An informed public is more likely support us
by Tim Barfield
The Peelian principles have been quoted, lectured on and written about since they were first put into a list in 1829. The principles, followed by many, seem to be as important now as they were when they were conceptualized.
Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern policing, was responsible for the centralization of police services in London. Prior to Peel, policing was done by multiple groups of sometimes unpaid men who lacked organization and the skills necessary to carry out all their duties. Without the centralization of these small groups, investigations and quelling of uprisings were often handled by military troops. There was distrust among the citizens of having a government organized and run force. Peel suggested a citizen-based force that would be able to relate to the citizens cops served. Although the nine principles would come to bear his name, they were originally concepts maintained in the general orders given to people hired to provide full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen.
In Peel's model of policing, officers are regarded as citizens in uniform. They were to exercise their powers to police their fellow citizens by the consent of the people. It is this equality of position that carries over to the concepts that should be in the heart of every American police officer, that as public servants, we derive our power and authority from the U.S. Constitution.
Prevention of crime and disorder
Peel's first principle is about prevention of crime and disorder. The visibility of the police force is on the forefront of this principle. It is every police officer's first duty to be present for the public to see and consult. The argument in many inner city locations is the lack of police to prevent crime by high visibility.
As budgets are cut, the number of officers available to patrol and deter crime falls. In many locations officers have stopped patrolling and now respond to crimes that have occurred like firefighters putting out fires. There is nothing that citizens want more than to be able to leave their houses and come home to all of their property untouched.
The same holds true of people who want to be able to walk their neighborhoods or allow their children to be in public without fear of robbery or worse. It is the opinion of some that the police should not be in their neighborhoods, but my experience is that talk like this comes from individuals who have an ill-intentions or don't care about their neighbors. The true victims are those who live in areas that are being successfully de-policed by this type of agenda. But visibility is difficult to do without the second leg of this principle. Police officer visibility must come with relationship building.
Building community relationships
Visibility in a neighborhood without building relationships with the citizens in those neighborhoods looks a lot more like an occupying force than consent of the people. I know this concept may anger some of my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, but stop and think of how this looks from the other side for a minute. I have had the good fortune of working in small and large communities, and I know that it is possible to build those relationships in every neighborhood. There are larger communities that struggle with their police relationships. There are many reasons for this and most are not the fault of the police, but it is incumbent on officers to build those relationships. Some officers may have difficulty achieving this because of the cultures we develop within our police departments.
Officers don't have to wait on the administration or the community relations officers to develop a program of outreach. Every day the line officer is in contact with the public. They are public servants and without taking that to a ridiculous conclusion, they are present by consent of the people. Many officers do a wonderful job at this, but many treat the public as if they don't owe them an explanation about what they do. Take the time on your call to build a relationship with everyone you meet. It is your duty to do so and it will improve the quality of your police work.
Policing with the public
In attempts to prevent crime and disorder, officers must realize that the public is in this battle with us. Part of the disconnection with the public may be that officers do not include them in their endeavors. Seeking out the public's input, help and assistance will go a long way in reconnecting with them. I often hear officers complaining about the disconnection between the administration of the department and the line officers. It is this same principle that causes the public to feel as if they are not part of the effort.
This is another area where the public has come to feel disconnected in our role with them. Officers often don't think the public can understand what goes on with us. Except for keeping investigations quiet, for obvious reasons, there is no reason that the public is not entitled to know how we operate. We work for them and have an obligation to explain to them who we are and what we do. We often say they don't understand us, but what have we done to get the public to understand our job, obligations and the difficulties we encounter? An informed public will more likely support us if they see what we see.
Let's begin to apply these principles in a meaningful way and build on our public relationship.
About the author
Tim Barfield is entering his 34th year as a police officer. He was recently appointed as police chief in a village outside of the Cleveland, Ohio area. He spent almost 32 years on a police department in an inner ring suburb of Cleveland where he worked many different aspects of the job. He has taught police combat mindset, defensive tactics and firearms to numerous officers in the Cleveland and Chicago areas.