NESPAC 2016 Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Conference

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The New England State Police Administrators Conference (NESPAC), which is responsible for hosting and planning various conferences and trainings for New England State Police agencies, hosted its first Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Conference in October. Massachusetts State Police Detective Lieutenant Carla Pivero and New Hampshire State Police Lieutenant Nicole Armaganian both sit on the NESPAC Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Conference Committee, and spoke with IACP regarding how the conference came to be, and the benefits to hosting a regional leadership conference dedicated to women.

The NESPAC Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Conference works to promote professionalism among women who serve in the field of law enforcement through education, training, mentoring, and encouragement by:

  • Providing a forum for information exchange between women in law enforcement,
  • Acting as a network and support system for women in law enforcement,
  • Serve as a resource for issues that affect women in the profession of law enforcement,
  • Foster formal and informal working relationships amongst attendees,
  • Enhance the overall image and recognition of women in law enforcement within the communities they serve.

Former New Hampshire State Police Colonel Robert Quinn originally suggested hosting a leadership conference for women after attending an IACP Women in Leadership training in 2012. Colonel Quinn realized how much of an asset the training was and wanted to create a similar in-house training that would be more accessible for all of his women troopers and those throughout New England.

After a couple years of individual agencies hosting small, in-house trainings dedicated to women, NESPAC formed a committee specific to the Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Conference. At least one representative from each state (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) sits on the committee so that each state agency participates and contributes to the location, planning, and content of the conference. The NESPAC 2016 Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Conference was hosted by Massachusetts State Police (MSP) in New Braintree, Massachusetts at the Massachusetts State Police Academy.

 Conference Logistics

The conference took place October 20-October 21, 2016, and consisted of two full training days that included topics such as leadership/folnespac-2lowership, leadership during crisis, suicide prevention and awareness, and balancing home-work life. There was also a panel of women who have held executive command leadership roles, both retired and currently serving. The two-day conference was free to all attendees (excluding travel costs), and women were welcome to stay overnig
ht in the MSP Academy dorms if they were not from the area. MSP covered the cost of food during the conference, with contributions being donated from local restaurants as well. Over 160 female troopers from across New England attended the conference.

Key Takeaways

 Lieutenant Pivero and Lieutenant Armaganian cited informal and formal networking as one of the most important benefits to having a leadership conference for women in law enforcement. “We need to do a better job of recruiting women, but we really need to do a better job of keeping the quality troopers we have,” says Lieutenant Armaganian. The conference allows women to connect with other women in law enforcement and realize that they have colleagues and friends facing the same challenges. The conference received praise from women who are new to law enforcement as well as women who have been in law enforcement for 20-40 years.

The conference also received great feedback from men in executive leadership positions. Similar to how Colonel Quinn felt after attending WLI for the first time, colonels present at the 2016 Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Conference admitted that they cannot see the law enforcement field or the challenges it faces from a woman’s perspective—but that fostering such diversity in thinking is critical to retaining women troopers in their agencies and leading stronger agencies altogether.

The conference was a tremendous success, and has now become an important staple for NESPAC. With so much positive feedback, Lieutenant Armaganian and Detective Lieutenant Pivero agree that more states and regions should host law enforcement leadership conferences for women. Women account for only 12% of law enforcement officers nationally, so one of the most important features of a policing leadership conference specific to women is merely reminding women troopers that they are not alone in the field, and that women can and should excel in law enforcement executive positions. In January 2016, Detective Lieutenant Pivero and Lieutenant Armaganian attended IACP’s week-long Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI). This international training program develops current and future leaders and focuses on the unique challenges facing women leaders in law enforcement. As a result of their attendance, the New Hampshire State Police is hosting a WLI in Concord, New Hampshire, August 20-25, 2017. Lieutenant Pivero says: “It empowers women to take a look at where they want to be five years from now. You can do it! But you have to have goals; you have to have a strategy in place.” It is clear that the NESPAC Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Conference is an incredible resource for New England women looking to develop those strategies.

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This conference also boasted the first-ever all-women NESPAC Color Guard.

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IACP Releases Four-Part Training Video: The Crime of Domestic Violence

The crime of domestic violence is complex and law enforcement officers often feel frustrated and discouraged when responding. Officers provide as much support to victims as possible, but when equipped with a better understanding of the nuances and dynamics of this intimate partner crime, they can more effectively address victims’ needs and hold offenders accountable. In order to present law enforcement with information to strengthen the response to victims of domestic violence, the IACP has created a four-part training video: The Crime of Domestic Violence, with support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. This video highlights the realities and complexities of domestic violence and provides strategies for effective investigations.

Segment 1: Critical Context

“Leaving is a process, not an event”

As first responders, law enforcement officers play a significant role supporting victims of violence and providing needed support. It is critical that officers build an understanding of the dynamics of power and control as well as the course of conduct nature of domestic violence. Until misconceptions and frustrations about victims and victim behaviors are addressed, the response to this crime will be unsuccessful and potentially harmful. This segment will begin to unpack many of these misperceptions and present information to strengthen the overall understanding of this complex crime.

 

Segment 2: On Scene Response

“You’ve got to look at the history”

Domestic violence is a course of conduct crime. There are often multiple incidents and abusive behaviors over an extended period of time. Responding officers need to be equipped with this understanding in order to capture pertinent details to support the victim, hold the offender accountable, and a conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation. It is critical that officers build rapport and trust with victims when on-scene. The second segment provides information about documenting threats, intimidation, trauma, and fear, as well as effective report writing, and conducting supportive interviews to empower victims.

Segment 3: Offender Realities & Threats to Officers

“You can’t separate officer safety from victim safety”

Isolation. Coercion. Manipulation. Threats. The tactics that perpetrators of abuse use to control victims are often the same tactics they will use on responding officers. When the abuser’s power is threatened, domestic violence calls can put officers in risk of harm and, all too often, become lethal situations. Segment three highlights the danger/lethality of domestic violence calls, information about offender behaviors that may indicate increased risk for victims and officers, and details that officers should gather before approaching a scene.

 

Segment 4: Working Together   

You need everyone if you’re going to make a difference

Law enforcement alone cannot provide all the needed support and resources to victims; it takes partnerships. By establishing multiagency, multidisciplinary collaborations, the needs of victims and communities overall can be better provided for. The fourth segment presents compelling details about how partnerships and collaborations can impact the safety and healing of victims, as well as strengthen law enforcement investigations. Segment four highlights promising practices for responding to domestic violence and effective collaborative models, and the benefits of such alliances.

You can view the four-part training video, The Crime of Domestic Violence, online. To receive a DVD copy of the video, or if you have questions, please contact stopviolence@theiacp.org.

 

 

 

 

 

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Technology Education: From Concept to Real-World Application

Today’s law enforcement professionals face unprecedented challenges as technology rapidly emerges and changes. Offenders are using the latest technology to operate efficiently and cover their tracks, from cybercrimes that compromise personal information and muddy the jurisdictional waters to complex drug operations running within the shadows of their communities. The number of internet-enabled devices such as personal fitness bands or smart appliances—even children’s toys—that collect and record many forms of digital information are providing law enforcement with more and more sources of digital evidence.  While law enforcement rises to challenge every day, they need the tools and strategies to keep up in an evolving landscape.

PrintThe 2017 IACP Technology Conference, sponsored by the IACP Law Enforcement Information Management (LEIM) Section (May 22-24, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri) is designed to do just that. Featuring 3 plenary sessions, 30 workshops, and an exhibit floor, attendees will be able to hear practitioners and industry experts share best practices and lessons learned in the innovative application of technology to improve officer safety and public safety, enhance efficiency and effectiveness of operations, and build enterprise-wide information sharing capabilities.

Workshops at the conference cover a broad array of law enforcement technology topics, and to aid attendees in selecting which workshops to attend, the Technology Conference educational program is organized into three tracks: Executive, Operational, and Technical. Sessions in the Executive Track include high-level discussions about the policy, operational, and legal considerations an agency should evaluate when implementing or managing a technology program. The Operational Track focuses on the planning, implementation, and management of technology projects. Sessions in the Technical Track discuss the technical side of projects, including data sharing, encryption, hardware, software, and much more.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Smart Communities = Safe Communities.” Technology is no longer in its own unique silo; it now plays an integral role in day-to-day policing with operational tools like body-worn cameras and CCTVs to digital evidence collection and using community informatics to identify traffic flow trends. The conference theme builds upon the smart cities concept of integrating multiple information and communication solutions to enhance the quality, performance, and interactivity of law enforcement services; reduce costs and resource requirements; and improve contacts between community members and government, regardless of agency or community type.

“Smart Communities = Safe Communities” also reflects the reality that federal, state, county, and municipal governments and law enforcement agencies across the country must work together to connect and share relevant public safety information. As with law enforcement agencies, information technology professionals, whether employed by a law enforcement or government agency, face various challenges depending on location, budgets, and existing infrastructure. In addition to workshops addressing these issues, the conference provides plenty of networking opportunities for attendees to meet with their peers and industry solution providers to learn new techniques, advance their knowledge and careers, and equip their agencies for ongoing success.

Registration for the conference is now open. We look forward to seeing you at the 2017 IACP Technology Conference!

 

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New Year’s Resolutions with the IACP

The IACP would like to wish its members and all those in law enforcement a safe and happy New Year. With the new year comes resolutions, and this year, we’d like you to consider making IACP a part of your professional resolutions. Here are just a few ideas to help you make the most of 2017.

Connect: January is membership month! If you are already a member, this is a great time to renew your membership for 2017. If you have already renewed, consider sponsoring a new chief or encourage non-command level staff to become a member to begin developing the leaders of tomorrow. Not yet a member of IACP? Learn more about the benefits of being a member and join today.

Participate: Start the year off right and register for the IACP 2017 Annual Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Take advantage of the unmatched educational programs and opportunity to network with thousands of other dedicated professionals. Also consider attending the annual Technology or Drug, Alcohol, and Impaired Driving conferences. Both provide forums in which to share best practices and lessons learned as well as opportunities to network with leading experts in the field.

Learn: The IACP holds countless trainings throughout the year. Consider registering for a training opportunity to learn more about the latest techniques and trends in the field. The IACP already has trainings events on a number of topics scheduled for 2017. Secure your spot today.

Advocate: Reach out to elected officials for their support on important issues affecting law enforcement. Take a look at the IACP’s policy priorities or critical issue messaging materials to best prepare yourself to advocate for the profession.

Succeed: IACP has a plethora of resources to help your agency be the best it can be. The IACP’s services include: management studies, executive searches, technical assistance, and police promotional testing. Or check out the many programs and resources IACP has available including the IACP Model Policies, which can assist departments in developing law enforcement policy. Download a new resource or request more information about the services IACP provides.

We wish you a safe and happy 2017.

Posted in Education & Training, Membership

Reducing Crime and Disorder through Collaborative Community Engagement

The Task Force on 21st Century Policing offers recommendations for building trust and creating opportunities for working with the community to increase public safety. Highlights include: developing and adopting policies and strategies that reinforce the importance of community engagement in managing public safety, adopting preferences for seeking “least harm” resolutions, and establishing formal community/citizen advisory committees to assist in developing crime prevention strategies.

indio-patchThe Indio, California, Police Department knows the community can be a vital resource in reducing crime and increasing safety. The department’s Office of Community Safety engages, educates, and supports the community through such programs as Business Watch, Neighborhood Watch, the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, and the Community Outreach Resource Program (CORP).  Partnering research institutions, the University of California, Riverside and Arizona State University, evaluate the programs on an ongoing basis to monitor effectiveness.  One of the standout programs is the Community Outreach Resource Program (CORP), which utilizes the collaborative resources of community stakeholders, businesses, state and local organizations and agencies to identify and implement solutions to assist community members in need with getting the right help.  corp-flyer-new

Community Outreach Court

The main component within CORP is the Community Outreach Court, a program that prevents using court resources to prosecute homeless offenders in a revolving door of minor offenses, such as loitering, panhandling, and trespassing. The Indio Police Department recognized that a large amount of the calls for service were disorder crimes committed by the homeless population. Knowing that reducing homelessness would reduce crime and disorder in Indio, Richard Twiss, the chief of police at that time, created a committee comprised of law enforcement officers, courts, prosecutors, probation officers, public defenders, social service workers, behavioral health workers, workforce development service workers, and several non-profit executives to develop and run the Community Outreach Court.

This multidisciplinary strategy grants qualifying individuals with low-level pending criminal charges an alternative to traditional court that alleviates financial burdens, eliminates obstacles to future job prospects, and provides treatment services and education. Individuals are referred to the Community Outreach Court by community-based and faith-based non-profit organizations serving low-income families, transients, and homeless individuals, as well as by substance abuse and mental health service providers that work with the homeless and other vulnerable populations.

indio-court-graduationAfter the District Attorney’s Office completes a background check on the candidate, the court’s review committee discusses the candidate’s participation with external partner programs and his or her criminal background to determine fit for the program. Upon acceptance by the committee, an individualized treatment program is developed for each client. This may include education, job training, drug treatment, and mental health services. When the client successfully completes his or her treatment program, the court dismisses the fines and fees. Removing financial burdens and offering treatment programs help the clients overcome barriers and integrate more successfully into the community. Since the Community Outreach Court’s implementation in 2015, 81 clients have completed the program and nearly $200,000 in fines and fees have been dismissed.

Quality of Life Officers

Another primary strategy within CORP is the assignment of two full-time Quality of Life officers that focus on targeting disorder hot spots and minimizing the use of arrest. As The Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommends, community policing should focus on interventions and prevention through problem solving with building collaborative partnerships. The Quality of Life officers make use of the many resources within the community to try and get help for those in trouble without turning to incarceration.

The Quality of Life officers assist the Community Outreach Court in reaching out and connecting with the homeless population and in identifying potential participants for the program. The officers also educate local business owners on crime prevention through environmental design and go out of their way to let each community member they come in contact with know that they are there to help. The Quality of Life officers serve their community members well beyond enforcement.

The Indio Police Department understands that the best way to ensure the community’s safety is through utilizing community resources to assist those in need. By working collaboratively with a myriad of social service and criminal justice system resources such as the Community Outreach Court, the department is better able to manage public safety.

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This blog post is part of a series highlighting best practices in advancing 21st century policing as part of the IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations. Indio is one of fifteen sites selected for participation in the Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative, a joint project of the COPS OfficeCNA, and the IACP to highlight agencies who are actively embracing the principles in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

 

 

Posted in Community-Police Relations

A Walk Through History Towards a Safer Future

The 21st Century Policing Task Force Report offers several recommendations for building enhanced relationships between law enforcement officers and the community that they serve, including
acknowledging the role of policing in past and present injustices. One of the recommendations notes the importance of embracing a guardian mindset.

An example of acknowledging past and present injustices is the history walk in the Atlanta, Georgia, Police Department (APD). There is a hallw5124281757_c645295718ay within the department that greets visitors and employees with images of the department’s past. There are pictures and newspaper clippings of the City of Atlanta and the police department’s historical moments. The pictures convey the great strides that the department has made. The history walk shows just how far the department has come in an effort to increase justice in the City of Atlanta.

scad-history-presentation-6In an effort to connect with the local community and get officers top-quality training, APD
has partnered with the King Center and their Nonviolence365Training.  Nonviolence365™ is an interactive, train-the-trainer model experience that engages participants in discussions about Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology. The curriculum was integrated into the police training academy’s program to focus on guardian mentality and to highlight the history and culture of Atlanta.

new-imageDr. King’s nonviolent philosophy advocates for seeking to defeat injustice, to win understanding, and to have courage in the face of violence. Law enforcement officers are taught the nonviolent philosophy and methodology from a police perspective. The Nonviolence365™ training is way to ensure that future injustices are reduced and that officers and residents work together to produce a safe community. Atlanta PD and King Center.png

Together with the help of the community, the Nonviolence365™ training focuses on the core issue and not the symptoms to significantly reduce violence and disorder. The training is a holistic training that empowers the police and the community to make the necessary changes.

The next steps in the training will be for the King Center to work with APD and help train the community and various stakeholders, such as the faith community, businesses, school administration, probation officers, judges, and youth.

 

This blog post is part of a series highlighting best practices in advancing 21st century policing as part of the IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations. Atlanta is one of fifteen sites selected for participation in the Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative, a joint project of the COPS Office, CNA, and the IACP to highlight agencies who are actively embracing the principles in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

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Posted in Community-Police Relations, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

IACP Gives Back

The IACP has always been committed to giving back to the community of Alexandria,holiday-1 Virginia, where headquarters is located. The association holds internal fundraisers throughout the year, as well as a holiday toy drive for a local charity. But this year we wanted to do something more.

holiday-2In a new spin on the annual holiday party, IACP staff remained in the office and dedicated time to give back to the community. This past Friday, staff gathered together to create 100 essential kits containing items like laundry detergent, soap, and other basic toiletries for the men and women of the Carpenter Shelter. The Carpenter Shelter supports homeless individuals in achieving sustainable independence through shelter, guidance,
education, and advocacy.

holiday-3IACP’s Executive Director/CEO, Vincent Talucci explained the change to the holiday party structure, “We are staying in this year to celebrate our good fortune and to give back to those who may not be so fortunate. It is a good reminder of who we are and who we represent, a nonprofit organization that serves public servants. This is our turn to give to a good cause.”img_7602

IACP staff was enthusiastic about the change, so much so, that that a community service project will become a quarterly event.

 

 

 

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Continued Commitment to Effectiveness

Guest Blogger: Chief Keith Humphrey, Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department

blog-1There have been many significant changes in the policing field since the 1970s. Training topics have expanded, there is more effort to diversify the force to reflect the community, and there is a much better use of technology to increase public safety. Despite those changes, it is still obvious more effective changes are required. Given recent events, such as the shootings in Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Charlotte, North Carolina, along with the critical views and reviews of our profession, we must continue to display professionalism and our commitment to effectiveness and excellence.

In order to continue a commitment to effectiveness, the policing profession must build and maintain trust within communities. For our profession to regain and retain credibility in all communities, humility and transparency must exist. Admitting that things can be done better is a good place to start. Review of policies, community relations, use of force protocols, and leadership must be thorough. Obtaining assistance from outside resources can end in positive results for all. Outside resources can include community groups, such as citizen police academies and community forums or meetings, and research from universities or law enforcement policy and research organizations.

We must also realize that there is more than one way to do something. Failure to change will always cause organizational stagnation. The law enforcement profession that we once knew is a thing of the past. Community policing is no longer a term that will be accepted by a community without its respective department having a strategic plan.
badgeEffective training for officers in the areas of communication, emotional intelligence, and implicit and explicit bias as well as a commitment to build strong partnerships between citizens and their police departments is imperative. Effective and efficient policing requires the elimination of complacency, the restoration of humility, and the expectation of unity by both internal and external stakeholders.

There are many possible solutions to developing more effective policing. One suggestion is requiring updated policies and procedures to coincide with federal and state requirements. Training in leadership, cultural diversity awareness, emotional intelligence, crisis intervention, and de-escalation should become standardized law enforcement programs. Lastly, honesty regarding the long history of concerns involving law enforcement and communities of color through external and internal conversations is crucial.

All communities expect and deserve quality customer service. Our profession must continue to demonstrate to our communities, and the nation, that we are committed in our efforts to restore trust and build partnerships.

This blog post is part of a series highlighting best practices in advancing 21st century policing as part of the IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations, particularly those that address recommendations from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing final report. The Institute is funded through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Motorola Solutions Foundation. Learn more about the ICPR.

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The IACP/DuPont™ Kevlar® Survivors’ Club 2016 Update

The IACP/DuPont KEVLAR® Survivors’ Club® supports the overarching vision of the IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness. The Survivors’ Club strives to recognize and honor those deserving individuals who, as a result of wearing personal body armor, have survived a life-threatening or life-disabling incident. The Survivors’ Club was also created with the mission to reduce death and disability by encouraging increased wearing of personal body armor.

The IACP/DuPont™ Kevlar® Survivors’ Club® 2016 Honoree

first-imageThe IACP/DuPont™ Kevlar® Survivors’ Club® is pleased to announce that Deputy James A. DeFilipps from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office in Orleans, New York, was chosen as the 2016 Honoree of the Year. A luncheon to celebrate Deputy DeFilipps as the recipient of this prestigious award was held on October 15, 2016, during the IACP Annual Conference and Exposition in San Diego, California.

Deputy DeFilipps was inducted into the IACP/DuPont™ Kevlar® Survivors’ Club® after he was saved by his bulletproof vest on March 21, 2015. Deputy DeFilipps was shot twice in the torso by the suspect who had exited his vehicle and was hiding in the woods. The deputy fired back at the suspect, eliminating the threat. DeFilipps maintained his position and used the flashlight on his rifle to illuminate the suspect’s location to other officers. The deputy’s quick response saved the lives of the officers involved. DeFilipps was hospitalized shortly and then released with superficial injuries.

 IACP/DuPont™ Kevlar® Survivors’ Club® Recognizes Eight Law Enforcement Officers

The following eight law enforcement officers survived a life-threatening incident due to their body armor. The eight officers are now recognized as members of the IACP/DuPont KEVLAR® Survivors’ Club®.second-image

Officer Robert Allan Carroll

Hohenwald, Tennessee, Police Department

Officer Carroll was struck in the upper chest when a suspect opened fire on several officers. Officer Carroll was not injured and he and other officers of the Hohenwald, Tennessee, Police Department managed to fire back, fatally injuring the suspect. The suspect was found with several stolen guns, ammo, holsters, and prescription medications. The incident occurred on October 29, 2015

Officer Richard Sheehanthird-image

Colorado Springs, Colorado, Police Department

On February 3, 1976, Officer Sheehan of the Colorado Springs, Colorado, Police Department was pursuing two suspicious individuals when he was shot from behind, striking his back. If Officer Sheehan had not been wearing his bulletproof vest on that call, his injuries could have been worse. His vest caught the bullet within the material. Officer Sheehan did not sustain any injuries and was not hospitalized.

fourth-imageOfficer Wayne N. Pavlischek

North Charleston, South Carolina, Police Department

On July 4, 2016 Officer Pavlischek was saved by bulletproof vest as he protected the lives of innocent civilians. Officer Wayne N. Pavlischek was evacuating residents away from a dangerous suspect when he was struck in the right side abdomen by a bullet. The suspect had been driving erratically when North Charleston Police Department officers pursued him to a residence. The suspect then began shooting at officers and nearby residents with a long gun.

Detective Mario A. Munizfifth image.jpg

New York, New York, Police Department

On July 28, 2014, Detective Muniz, a 22-year veteran with the New York Police Department, was shot in the abdomen while apprehending a wanted fugitive in Manhattan, New York. The suspect fired five rounds using a .32 caliber handgun as officers attempted to place him under arrest. The suspect was fatally wounded and later died at a local hospital. Because Detective Muniz was wearing his body armor his injuries were non-life threating and he recovered from his wounds.

Police Officer Brian J. Groves

New York, New York, Police Department

While conducting a vehicle patrol on July 5, 2012, Officer Groves encountered an unidentified male carrying a silver revolver. Upon making eye contact with Officer Groves, the perpetrator ran. During the chase the suspect and the officer exchanged gunfire. Officer Groves was shot one time in the chest and fell down stairs causing further injuries. The investigation led to the recovery of the firearms and numerous drug smuggling arrest. Being on the force for seven years, Officer Groves followed his agency’s policy of wearing body armor and as a result, he sustained severe bruising and spent one day in hospital.

Detective Robert Salerno

New York, New York, Police Department

“It was my Kevlar bulletproof vest that ultimately saved my life.” This is a direct quote from Detective Salerno as he laid in the hospital recovering from injuries caused by a dispute in Bronx, New York on March 22, 2010. A home health aide called 9-11 requesting police assistance for a dispute during which she was assaulted by her client, who was also her son. Upon police arrival at the home, the son barricaded himself in a back room with a loaded .38 caliber revolver. Detective Salerno and three officers entered the room and Detective Salerno was struck in the chest area of his bulletproof vest, which stopped the bullet and another round hitting him in the lower torso. The detective’s partners were able to pull him to safety, render aid, and have him transported to a local hospital.

 Detective Michael R. Levay

New York, New York, Police Department

Detective Levay was struck in the back of his bulletproof vest while performing a “Proactive Quality of Life Overtime” drill. The incident happened on January 3, 2013 on a northbound train in Brooklyn, New York. Detective Levay and four other officers observed a man entering the front of a third car thorough the emergency exit door, violating Transit Authority rules and regulations. The detective approached the suspect and requested that he step off the train with them. The suspect stood and walked to the train door, then he suddenly turned and removed a 9mm pistol from the waistband and begin firing at the officers. Detective Levay sustained superficial bruises and lacerations because he was wearing his bulletproof vest.

Detective Herman Yan

New York, New York, Police Department

Wearing protective body armor greatly reduced the threat level for Detective Herman Yan when he and his partner observed a suspicious vehicle on the night of July 9, 2007 in Brooklyn, New York. A license plate check indicated that the plates did not belong to the SUV under observation. When the officers approached the vehicle, the suspects inside the vehicle opened fire. Detective Yen was struck once in the forearm and once in the chest. Fortunately, his bulletproof vest caught most of the impact from the shots that hit him. Detective Yen was hospitalized for two days for a gunshot wound to his left arm. A wide-ranging manhunt lead to the capture of all three perpetrators.

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Posted in Annual Conference and Exposition, Awards, Officer Safety & Wellness | Tagged

Virginia Commonwealth University Police Uses Survivor-Centered and Offender-Focused Approach to Sexual Assault Investigations

Guest Blogger: Corey Byers, Public Information Officer, VCU Police Department, Richmond, VA

Sexual assaults are one of the hardest crimes to investigate.

By the time Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Police officers hear a survivor’s story, the student is understandably confused about what happened, emotional, and may experience guilt or shame. After such a traumatic experience, VCU Police have determined there’s a better way to sort out the facts other than by interrogating the survivor.

About two years ago, VCU Police Chief John Venuti realized his officers really needed a new starting point for sexual assault investigations. He often told colleagues and the media that sexual assaults were unlike any other crime and needed to be approached differently.

yhopThe You Have Options Program (YHOP) had the elements Chief Venuti was looking for. It’s survivor-centered, and offender-focused. In other words, officers help survivors get the health, medical, and counseling services they need first and also use the investigative process to identify serial perpetrators in the population.

YHOP was a logical next step for the department, which was already changing the way survivors were treated. Prior to 2016, the chief sought out trauma-informed training for officers and joined the public awareness campaign, “Start by Believing,” to emphasize that survivors at VCU would be believed, should they come forward to police.

Ultimately, YHOP agencies want to ensure the survivor   ̶  and the criminal justice system  ̶  obtain favorable outcomes.

Following a nearly 16-month implementation, VCUPD launched YHOP in fall 2016. Victim-witness officers are assigned to each patrol shift and detectives are trained in trauma-informed investigations.  All VCUPD staff, including civilians, were briefed on YHOP’s background, goals, and investigative model.

First and foremost, when a sexual assault survivor comes forward, they are believed and supported – not judged.

As a part of the YHOP intake process, the survivor is educated on all possible next steps. Survivors can speak with an advocate or counselor instead of police and can choose one of three reporting options: information only, partial investigation, or complete investigation.

Only a complete investigation can result in criminal charges against a suspect, but all information provided by survivors can be useful. For example, even simple, descriptive details about the place where the individuals met, or the room in which the assault occurred, can help police develop suspects and connect the dots between serial perpetrators.

For VCU Police officers, the goal of that first conversation with a survivor is to build a rapport and treat each person with dignity and respect.

In an effort to offer more reporting options, online and third-party reports are accepted. VCUPD worked with YHOP program coordinators to develop an online portal that outlines the reporting process, along with Title IX requirements and Clery Act requirements in relation to confidentiality.

In October 2016, VCUPD moved to a new headquarters in downtown Richmond, Virginia, 101716_Soft Interview Room - Copy.jpgand integrated YHOP’s best practices in designing new spaces. Two rooms are designated as “soft interview” or “survivor interview” rooms. The dedicated rooms have been outfitted with softer lighting and small couches to mimic a living room, or counselor’s office. The rooms were designed to be distinctly different than a traditional interview room for suspects.

Since August 1, 2016, VCU Police have seen an increase in sexual assault reports, specifically in third-party reports and reports of incidents outside its jurisdiction.

Chief Venuti believes the increase in reporting is due to more awareness about sexual assault, but is also a reflection of the trust students, faculty, and staff members have with the department. In Venuti’s own words, “if you don’t have trust in a campus police department, you won’t report a sexual assault to it.”

In the future, VCUPD will work with YHOP program coordinators to develop a database for the documentation of trends, and profiles, of serial sexual predators.

For more information on communicating sexual assault policing and prevention initiatives, contact VCUPD Public Information Officer Corey Byers at byersc@vcu.edu. For more information on how VCUPD implemented the YHOP program, contact VCU Police Chief John Venuti at javenuti@vcu.edu.

Posted in Victim Services | Tagged ,