Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Police adopt national and state consensus best practices

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The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 and other high-profile incidents elsewhere in the months after prompted President Obama late that year to create the Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The Task Force’s brief: to identify practices which promote effective crime reduction while at the same time building public trust.

In May 2015 the Task Force released its recommendations in the form of six main “pillars”: Building Public Trust and Legitimacy, Policy and Oversight, Technology and Social Media, Community Policing and Crime Reduction, Officer Training and Education, and Officer Safety and Wellness.

Meanwhile, the Indiana State Police, the DNR Division of Law Enforcement, the Indiana Associations of Chiefs of Police, and the Indiana Sheriffs Association were responding to the same events in the same way: with a two-day summit, held in Indianapolis in April 2015, aimed at developing an action plan to improve policing practices in the state.

That summit yielded its own body of recommendations, on everything from recruitment to equipment to accountability.

Now the Chesterton Police Department has begun the work of putting those principles into practice.

At its meeting last week, the Police Commission voted unanimously to formally adopt both the Task Force’s and the Summit’s findings and guidances, and Police Chief Dave Cincoski has vowed to take action on the respective recommendations within 12 months.

“I fully endorse the reports and the recommendations,” Cincoski said. “Already the Chesterton Police Department has implemented or is in the process of implementing many of them.”

Cincoski did hasten to add that his interest in pursuing this initiative should not be taken to mean that he’s concerned about the professionalism or morale of his officers. On the contrary, Cincoski said, his goal is simply to make the CPD as excellent a department as it can be. “This is by no means an indication that the Chesterton Police Department is doing anything wrong, in any shape, way, or form. The officers of this department have my full confidence and support.”

A sampling from the Task Force’s executive summary:

* “Law enforcement culture should embrace a guardian--rather than a warrior--mindset.”

* “Law enforcement agencies should also establish a culture of transparency and accountability.”

* “Law enforcement agencies should have clear and comprehensive policies on the use of force . . , mass demonstrations . . , consent before searches, gender identification, racial profiling, and performance measures.”

* Law enforcement agencies should adopt “community policing as a guiding policy for all stakeholders,” under which police officers work with neighborhood residents “to co-produce public safety.”

* Law enforcement agencies should “promote wellness and safety at every level of the organization,” by providing every officer with tactical first-aid kits and by requiring officers to use seatbelts and body armor.

A sampling from the Summit’s recommendations:

* “Indiana law enforcement agencies noting deficiencies greater than 10 percent of agency population and service population will develop recruitment plans to target needed population groups for law enforcement service.”

* “‘Understanding enforcement through education’ will become a routine part of Indiana law enforcement activity, recognizing that the better our citizens understand our work, the likelihood of their ongoing support improves.”

* Agencies “must identify and attend community events as a routine method of re-engaging the public,” including, for instance, “National Night Out, Coffee with a Cop, routine police-neighborhood meetings, routine interaction with faith-based organizations, the routine use of (school resource officers), and other school-based activities, attendance at business group meetings and other civic groups.”

* Agencies’ chief executives “will begin actively educating all police personnel in their respective agencies to help them understand the entire budget process.”

* Agencies “shall start the process of establishing a partnership with health insurance carriers to implement free wellness screenings for law enforcement officers.”





Posted 5/18/2016




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