Tucson’s Mental Health Investigative Support Team – a New Approach for Responding to Mental Health Calls for Service

The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing offers several recommendations for improving police interactions with persons with mental health concerns, including

  • adopting preferences for seeking “least harm” resolutions
  • embracing a guardian mindset
  • engaging in multidisciplinary community team approaches for planning, implementing, and responding to crisis situations.

tucsonThe Tucson, Arizona, Police Department’s Mental Health Investigative Support Team (MHIST) is a great example of many of these recommendations in action. MHIST is a specially trained unit including a captain, a lieutenant, a sergeant, three detectives, and seven field officers that serve as a mental health support network for officers, people in the community, and health care providers.  MHIST officers embrace a guardian mindset and employ alternative, least-harm resolutions to mental health calls for service.

TPD created the team in 2013 when following the 2011 shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the department sought a fresh approach to how it handled mental health related calls. Since its inception, the team has changed the way that the department handles incidents involving persons affected by mental illness. Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus has instilled the principles of CIT throughout both the MHIST and the Department as a whole. The principles are reflected in the core operations of MHIST.

  • MHIST serves as a central resource for patrol when facing challenges in responding to persons with mental illness.
  • Mental health investigations dovetail with criminal investigations and include the possibility of a mental health diversion for the individual involved.
  • TPD employs policies and procedures for special populations. Investigative protocols in the TPD General Operating Policies cover special circumstances involving vulnerable groups. See https://www.tucsonaz.gov/police/general-orders.
  • Tucson engages in a multidisciplinary community team approach for planning, implementing, and responding to crisis situations. MHIST connects behavioral health, law enforcement, and the justice system, to ensure a coordinated, efficient response.
  • The MHIST officers wear civilian clothes and drive unmarked cars to reduce negative perceptions and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

MHIST has been successful in preventing events that could have escalated to the level of the Giffords shooting.  For example, the Team was able to prevent a possible church shooting by obtaining a mental health court order for an individual who was charged with felony stalking of multiple victims and in the possession of multiple firearms.

Through preventative actions, specialized training, and continuous open communication, the Tucson Police Department’s Mental Health Investigative Support Team is changing the department’s response to interactions with individuals with behavioral health concerns.

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. Tucson 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.


Posted in Community-Police Relations, Partnerships | Leave a comment

Join Us in San Diego for IACP 2016!

Register now for the 2016 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition in San Diego, California, October 15-18. Save more than 20% when you register by August 31.


IACP 2016 delivers a world-class educational experience by bringing together global subject matter experts and attendees striving to be better leaders, innovators, and educators within their communities. We aim to provide the best education opportunities possible, providing attendees with a platform to share best practices and lessons learned from across the world. Check out what’s new this year in education.

Educational Program Overview

This year, we’re offering 215+ educational sessions in 12 targeted tracks. Check the 2016 Education Program for a detailed list of all sessions at the conference. Some of this year’s topics include:

  • Community-Police Relations
  • Going Dark – Challenges of Gathering Electronic Evidence
  • Critical Incident Management Training
  • Investigation of Use of Force Issues
  • Crisis Intervention Training
  • Body Cameras and Law Enforcement Technology
  • Combatting Violent Extremism/Terrorism
  • Officer Health and Wellness
  • Police Recruitment

Global Perspective Series

A Shared Plague: The Impact of Narcotics Around the World. This session will examine the impact narcotics production, trafficking, and use have in nations and communities around the world with focus on the opioid abuse crisis and overdose epidemic.

Use of Force Revisited: Approaches from around the Globe. The session will examine various approaches to use of force by law enforcement agencies around the world, including how agencies can educate communities on how and why officers use force; de-escalation strategies; and solutions and safeguards to minimize use of force incidents.

The Unexpected Challenge: Law Enforcement & Mental Health. In this panel discussion, the impact metal illness has on daily operations of law enforcement agencies will be examined as well as training, Crisis Intervention Teams, and how to partner with mental health professionals.

Other New Features


More Content. IACP has adjusted the educational sessions schedule to conform with adult learning best practices. Educational sessions will now be shorter to provide space for more topics to be covered over the course of the conference.

Quick Hits. In addition to shorter session times, IACP 2016 will also feature Quick Hits. These 20-minute sessions will provide quick, concise information, giving attendees yet another way to grab some education throughout the day.

Watch Sessions Later. With more sessions than ever available to conference attendees, IACP has identified some key workshops that will be recorded and made available online so that you receive even more out of your conference registration.

Don’t forget to register today to receive the advance registration rate. See you in San Diego!


Posted in Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference General Information, Conference Workshops, Educational Tracks | 2 Comments

The Importance of Department Wide Youth Outreach

Guest Blogger: Scott Nadeau, Chief of Police, Columbia Heights, Minnesota, Police Department

“Seeking active partnerships in the community in order to protect life and property, innovatively solve problems and enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve.”

With this mission in mind, and the concept that community policing is everyone’s job, the Columbia Heights Police Department implemented a series of youth outreach programs targeted at building relationships with at-risk youth and reducing criminal activity.

colheightsmapColumbia Heights, as a first ring suburb of Minneapolis, is significantly more diverse and less affluent than the state of Minnesota as a whole. We have a large population of immigrants, primarily from Mexico and East Africa, and there are a total of 38 different languages spoken by families in the school district. In addition, 79% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Youth Outreach Programs

Our first youth outreach programs were implemented under the Cops-N-Kids initiative and included a weekly open gym at the high school and middle school. In this initial partnership with the school district, police department employees would staff the gymnasium during after-school hours and spend time building relationships with the kids. This program continues to draw gate counts of over 5,000 youth per year.

The success of the open gym program led to additional police/school partnerships including an “Anti-Bullying Reading” program where officers read to classes of children between kindergarten and fourth grade twice a year. The “Anti-Bullying Reading” program underscores the school’s message regarding the harmful effects of bullying and violence, while also educating students about the role of police. Each year the school district and police department meet and discuss how programs could continue to grow and improve.

Other youth engagement programs include hosting events like basketball tournaments, teaching DARE in elementary schools, and having police officers attend school-sponsored events to increase interaction. All of this was done with the intent of fostering relationships and positive contact with the police both early and often.

columheightsPerhaps the most impactful program that the police department has instituted is a school-based mentoring program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities. Under this program, adult mentors dedicate an hour a week to meeting with a matched “little” providing guidance, support and mentoring. This program started with around a half-dozen police volunteers in 2012 and has now grown to include almost 40 volunteers from the police department, fire department, city hall and the community at large. This is a great testament to the value our community places on helping youth to thrive.

Since 2008 and the start of these programs, officers have increased the dedicated hours of community policing programming from 10 to 25. In 2015, Columbia Heights officers surpassed the mandatory hours by spending an average of 60 hours per officer for the year. The Columbia Heights Police Department is able to accomplish so much in the way of juvenile outreach because of our community policing philosophy – it is everyone’s job and not just the responsibility of an assigned few.


So what do we reap from this investment of time and resources? Crime is at a 40-year low in Columbia Heights. While many across the country are seeing crime reductions, we are surpassing both state and county measures in terms of our decrease. Of even more importance are the results in our juvenile arrests. In 2008, the year the programs began, we arrested 251 juveniles. In 2015 that number was down to 90. We have also seen much better relationships between our police and youth, both in the schools and on the streets. Our police have a much better understanding of who are youth are and vice-versa. The efforts have also improved employee morale and given our staff a better, more rounded perspective of the youth in our community.

By balancing enforcement activity with more positive experiences, our officers and staff have struck a better balance with our youth and are more aware of how to help them. Our officers understand that arrests and citations are tools, and there are a number of effective ways to assist our youth in a given situation.

For more information on the CHPD, its youth outreach efforts, strategic plans, or studies concerning the effectiveness of our community policing efforts visit the Columbia Heights Police website.

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.

Posted in Community-Police Relations, Partnerships, Youth | Leave a comment

10 Ways Community Members Can Engage with Law Enforcement

One of the most important aspects of effective policing is community engagement. In order to build trust and respect, collaboration with the community is essential. Below are 10 great ways community members can engage with their local law enforcement agencies.

#1. Volunteer

  • volunteer2Citizen volunteers help supplement and support officers and civilian personnel in many ways.
  • Roles for volunteers may include: performing clerical tasks, assisting with search and rescue activities, writing citations for accessible parking violations, code. enforcement, patrolling to provide additional police visibility, reporting graffiti and other quality of life issues, and helping with property and equipment inventories.
  • For more information see the IACP’s Volunteers in Police Service resources.

#2. Serve on a Citizen Advisory Board

  • Many police departments have citizen boards to advise and assist with implementing effective strategies to reduce crime and disorder, change perceptions and facilitate positive engagement.
  • These entities strive for diverse representation, including members from local businesses, churches, community groups, youth groups, local government, and law enforcement.

#3. Participate in a Citizens Police Academy

  • Classroom information sessions, put on by the police for citizens, enable residents to learn about local law enforcement agency’s values and mission as well as the overall operations of the department.
  • Citizen police academies allow citizens a chance to better understand the different aspects of the job and the reasons why officers perform certain actions.

#4. Compliment or Complain

  • If you had a positive interaction with a police officer in your community that is worthy of praise, share it with the chief’s office.
  • Similarly, if you have a complaint or a question, send that in as well. Your police department wants to hear from you.
  • Most departments have information on their website about how to submit complaints and commendations, as well as how this information is handled.

#5. Participate in Neighborhood Watch

  • neighwatcCitizens can help police maintain public safety through neighborhood watch groups.
  • Neighborhood watch members receive training on how to organize particular areas and methods for communicating with the police and with their neighbors.

#6. Participate in Police Initiatives, Projects, and Programs

  • Law enforcement agencies often engage their communities by hosting events throughout the year. Examples include neighborhood barbeques, National Night Out, and Coffee with a Cop.
  • Community members can assist the police in their efforts by participating, donating to, or helping facilitate these events.

#7. Attend Community Meetings

  • Community meetings are another way community stakeholders, business owners, church groups can engage with local government and law enforcement.
  • Residents can communicate with police representatives at these meetings to help solve community issues and facilitate a positive, collaborative relationship.

#8. Participate in Law Enforcement Surveys

  • Law enforcement agencies may seek community member input to help guide community policing efforts.
  • Community members can assist and engage with law enforcement by participating in these surveys and providing honest feedback.

#9. Get Your Kids Involved!

  • youth1Programs that engage youth with law enforcement are a great way to get kids and their families familiar with local enforcement officers.
  • Programs such as police explorers/cadets, Police Athletic Leagues, citizen police academies specifically for youth, and mentorship programs area all good examples of how youth can collaborate with law enforcement in a positive method.

#10. Follow Your Police Department on Social Media

  • Many police agencies use social media to communicate with the public. Community members can also communicate with law enforcement through social media outlets.
  • Follow your local law enforcement agency on social media to stay aware of police events in the community, various crime and traffic alerts, and general information regarding the police department.

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 (ICPR), 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.

Posted in Community-Police Relations, Youth

Then and Now: Transforming Communication for Public Safety

Guest Blogger: Jim Bugel, Vice President, AT&T Public Safety Sector, IACP Platinum Partner

Police picAT&T’s products and services have supported first responders since the late 1870’s

Who invented the telephone? Alexander Graham Bell. You probably knew that already. But did you know that police and firefighters were among the earliest people to use the telephone? For more than 130 years, first responders have relied on telephones to help serve and protect communities across the U.S.

We have a long-standing tradition of providing telecommunications products and services to first responders since the dawn of local telephone exchanges in the late-1870s. Although the technology has changed significantly, our commitment to public safety hasn’t.

1880 – American Bell Telephone, predecessor to AT&T, licensed the Gracewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Co. to include telephones in their police signal telegraph system in Chicago. Bell supplied the telephone instruments for the patrol box system that replaced the telegraph system. This would eventually become the Chicago Police Patrol System.

1930 – Western Electric, an AT&T subsidiary, installed the first one-way and two-way radiotelephone equipment in police patrol cars. Municipal police dispatchers across the nation were using the new system by the late-1930s.

1953 – AT&T began developing an Emergency Reporting Telephone System (ERTS) for municipal governments. We installed bright red call boxes marked “Fire” or “Police” in the city streets. People used the handset in the box to report an emergency situation to a dispatcher at a control center. The dispatcher then contacted the local fire or police department.

1968 – AT&T made 9-1-1 available nationwide. The service provided people with a short, easy-to-dial number to reach public safety agencies.

1980 – AT&T introduced an Enhanced 911 (E911) Service. Telephones could now identify the location of the phone number making the call. The call would automatically forward to the police department serving the location. The location would appear on a screen in front of the answering officer who would transfer the call to the fire department or rescue squad.

Today, 9-1-1 calling systems for law enforcement, fire departments, and Emergency Medical Responders (EMS) have changed considerably. We’re committed to helping public safety agencies migrate from their older voice systems to Next Generation 9-1-1 services.

AT&T ESInetTM is a new solution planned to be available in the second half of 2016 that will offer first responders a state-of-the-art, robust, and flexible network with call routing services for 9-1-1 agencies. Before, first responders would need to manually route voice calls to the appropriate parties. Now, they will be able to automatically handle call overflow between Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and disaster recovery locations.

AT&T ESInetTM can also handle texts and will support pictures and video in the future. For example, a witness at the scene of a car accident will be able to send EMS a picture or video of the incident. EMS workers can be better prepared and arrive with the right resources. AT&T ESInet will be a flexible solution that can help make the transition easier and more affordable for public safety agencies.

And it doesn’t stop there. We’re also helping companies and organizations offload their non-critical voice traffic. AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk is bridging the gap between two-way radios and push-to-talk (PTT) devices. Before, dispatchers using a land mobile radio could not communicate directly with PTT users.

Now, they can talk to their field workers no matter if they’re using a two-way radio, desk phone, or AT&T EPTT device. This allows for quick and easy collaboration from almost anywhere. Companies can keep their existing radio system and add IP-based tools for their workforce.

From 1880 to now, businesses and government agencies have relied on AT&T to change the way they communicate. Solutions like AT&T ESInet and AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk are helping them become more versatile and efficient. We’ll continue to build technology that can transform how they interact with their workforce and communities for the next 130 years and beyond.

Posted in Partnerships, Technology

The Threat of Violent Extremism and the Countering of Targeted Violence

Guest Blogger: Michael Masters, Senior Vice President, The Soufan Group and former Executive Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Cook County, Illinois

On June 21, two individuals, both 25, were convicted of conspiring to provide support for the so-called Islamic State, or ISIL, after they made plans to travel to Syria.

Earlier last month, three Somali-American friends were found guilty of trying to travel to Syria to join ISIL, after watching propaganda videos and engaging on social media, in between playing basketball and paintball.

As of the end of 2015, over 70 individuals in the U.S. had been arrested or charged in ISIL-related cases.

One individual who was not charged, however, was a 22-year old from West Palm Beach, Florida, who enjoyed playing basketball, listening to Jay Z, and playing video games. This was an individual, who, in May 2014, drove a truck filled with 16 tons of explosives into a restaurant in Syria, killing 37 others and becoming the first American to die in a suicide attack in that country.

It has been reported that the offender in the Pulse attack – also from West Palm Beach – was first interviewed by FBI agents following that suicide attack in Syria. Following the violence that killed 49 people and left others injured, many have questioned why – amidst the technology and tools– was law enforcement not able to prevent the massacre?

The reality is that law enforcement did quite a lot: interviews, outreach to a foreign government, surveillance, and a review of various records. In an evidence-based system, there are limits to what one agency can do.

How is it that we are sometimes able to effectively identify and interdict individuals while, in other situations, we often only come to learn of individuals as we are responding to an incident? Law enforcement is often organized to work through various sources of information, multiple leads, and different intelligence; to develop an understanding of the characteristics and motivations of a crime, then track, identify, and prosecute individuals.

In the terrorism space, we are particularly effective at this. The Los Angeles and Minnesota experience – as well as others – highlight this. But what about Orlando? There was no shortage of interactions: the offender, with a long-history of troubling behavior and statements, was recognized by co-workers – to include a former police officer – as well as an ex-wife as prone to anger. Yet, an apparatus that is still too-often designed to work agency-by-agency seemingly failed to connect potential indicators –many of which had little to do with law enforcement.

We can improve upon our ability to identify and interdict individuals, but it will take the whole community. Enhancing our identification and interdiction of individuals motivated to undertake violence is critical, particularly as an officer safety issue, for it is our first responders who are most likely to interact with offenders – and for them to be able to either prevent violence or have to respond to it.

The recruitment of individuals to join groups like ISIL is only one of multiple threats in the U.S. and abroad. Since September 11th, 2001, almost the same number of people – not including Orlando due to the ongoing nature of the investigation – have been killed by far-right violent extremists than by Al-Qaeda or ISIL inspired/affiliated individuals.

Extremist motivated violence is only a component of the larger issue of targeted violence; from shootings at schools, movie theaters, military installations, and houses of worship. Targeted violence – effectuated by individuals motivated by a wide-range of beliefs – comes in all forms, and frequently: over 160 events from 2000 through 2013.

We also have a unique opportunity to prevent attacks, for the indicators that forecast targeted violence – whether a white supremacist or violent Islamist – are often the same: a distancing from family and friends, increased intolerance for differing views, a fascination with weapons, and spending excessive time online. Moreover, those radicalizing to violence usually tell someone of their plans; in over 80 percent of mass casualty attacks, others were aware of the grievances of the offender.

We can change the paradigm in our favor. We have trained diligently on response tactics. Our best opportunity for prevention is to build relationships of trust, provide people with training to identify warning signs, and construct pathways to report issues. Programs that help to identify behavior before violence occurs protect our communities; this means safer schools, places of worship, and streets.

We must then connect the information and implement programming to intervene with individuals who may pose a risk to themselves, or others.

While we are making progress in addressing targeted violence, there is more to do. To move from surveillance to information sharing. To better educate those on the frontline in our communities – police, teachers, and others – on the indicators of targeted violence. To create mechanisms to off-ramp individuals inspired by ISIL, Neo-Nazism, or Columbine before it’s too late.

We can do this. But more importantly, we must – for the safety of our officers and our communities.

Posted in Global Policing, National Security | 1 Comment

Global Road Safety: What One Country is Doing to Make its Roads Safer

Worldwide, 3,400 people die on roads [everyday]. [1] The United Nations (U.N) has developed a Global Plan for the “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.” In this plan the U.N. highlights focus areas to make roads safer. Safe roads is more than just keeping road users safe, it has far reaching implications to economies and commerce. For low- and middle-income countries safer roads means an opportunity to grow economies and keep families out of debt.

Director Nascimento of the Federal Highway Police (PRF), Brazil is a member of the International Associations of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and is on the Highway Safety Committee (HSC). As a middle-income country, Brazil understands the value of safe roads from an economic and human perspective. Over the last several years PRF has worked to develop educational and enforcement campaigns.

In a recent interview with Maria Alice Nascimento, Director, PRF, Ms. Nascimento answers some questions about the work she is doing to improve road safety.

IACP: What road safety challenges is Brazil facing?

Ms. Nascimento: Brazil has been experiencing a great growth of road infrastructure which results in better roads and increased road network. Moreover, considering the increase of financing and payment, there was an increase of 148% in the country’s car fleet. The PRF also noticed that drivers were speeding on the country’s roads. The combination of more vehicles and increased speeds created the perfect scenario of collisions.

It is also important to mention that the quality of the vehicles in Brazil is still low, even in active and passive safety systems, which affects the severity and the amount of traffic injuries.

Policies and road safety programs in Brazil also face a major challenge, since it is a shared responsibility among the federal government, states, and municipalities. Thus, it remains an enormous challenge to better organize and coordinate joint efforts to promote safer traffic throughout the country, in a comprehensive and efficient way.

This division of powers and independence of the federal entities also leads to a lack of standardization and quality in the training of drivers, resulting in less prepared and less conscious drivers.

IACP: What public awareness/educational efforts have you implemented?

Ms. Nascimento: One awareness initiative, PRF conducts is entitled “Road Movies.” This educational campaign focuses on school students and drivers and invites them to watch movies that focus on the main causes of traffic collisions and aggravating factors of collisions such as illegal overtaking, speeding, impaired driving, and non-use of seat belts or child seats. The films are played on trucks adapted for this purpose.

PRF also organizes the A School Transit Festival – FETRAN, which is a traffic educational project that uses educational activities with the theme of traffic safety in everyday school life. In FETRAN, students and teachers create plays, models, poetry, dance, music, novels, and other communication methods with a specific traffic safety focus to promote educational and cultural diversity. The created products are presented in the Thematic Fair for Traffic and Traffic Festival with the aim of integrating PRF, schools, and society.

Our State Directors organize lectures for schools, unions and professional drivers’ associations that reinforce the need for compliance with the laws, obedience to traffic signs, observing speed limits, and the importance of safe traffic for everyone who travels by the country roads.

It is important to mention the Health Command, where drivers take simple exams to assess their general health and are also informed about safety procedures and the importance of safe driving. This is done with the support of hospitals to make sure the diagnosis and suggestions are professional.

Finally, PRF wanted to develop an impactful public awareness campaign that demonstrated the serious effects of collisions and the direct connection it has to driver behavior. The PRF had a driver who had committed a driving under the influence of alcohol offence participate in a ride along with the PRF rescue care team. The ride along was recorded and showed the reaction of the individual as they observed the after effects of a collision scene. The awareness campaign resonated with the road user community by putting a “human face” on the collision and helped highlight the role that driver behavior plays in road safety.

IACP: What road safety enforcement activities have you implemented?

Ms. Nascimento: The main function of the Federal Highway Police in promoting road safety is the “Integrated Operation Rodovida”, which is a major effort involving the Federal Government, states, and municipalities to reduce collisions and traffic fatalities. This is a simultaneous and joint action at pre-determined locations and times to increase the presence and availability of government agencies in providing road safety and fluidity on the highways. This collaborative governmental effort involves; the Secretariat of Communications for the President, the Ministries of Justice, Cities, Transport, Health, and state and municipal entities; which utilize statistical studies to direct these preventative crash prevention, educational campaigns, and other road safety efforts.

We also used statistical surveys conducted by the Federal Highway Police itself, pointing the sections considered more nationally critical to direct the integrated and simultaneous actions. This study considers the locations where the highest serious crash rates are recorded, those that result in death or any serious injury. The PRF actions, however, are not restricted to places where there will be a joint effort, they happen throughout the federal highways of the Country focusing on the illegal overtaking, seeking to prevent collisions.

Moreover, to increase the effectiveness of inspections PRF has invested in training and capacity building of the police to conduct patrols on motorcycles. Motorcycles provide police agility to conduct enforcement efforts while patrolling in heavy traffic. Motorcycle policing is most effective in metropolitan areas where traffic is heavy and having this type of police presence helps in the prevention of traffic violations and crimes, many of which are conducted with the use of motorcycles.

IACP: What has the public’s response been to your educational and enforcement activities?

Ms. Nascimento: As a result of our combined efforts, the Federal Highway Police has managed to drastically reduce the number of collisions, deaths, and injuries on federal highways (highways whose supervision and policing are the responsibility of the PRF) since 2011.

In statistical surveys conducted by PRF, driver’s behavior is the main cause of collisions on federal highways (speeding, illegal overtaking, impaired driving, etc.). The PRF believes that the large reduction of collisions on the federal highways is a result of the increased educational activities that have increased drivers and the public’s awareness about traffic safety, and that through the educational activities both drivers and the public have modified their behavior when in traffic.

IACP: What challenges have you faced?

Ms. Nascimento: One challenge the PRF has faced in its traffic safety efforts is the lack of officers available to conduct enforcement efforts. Currently the PRF has approximately 10,000 police throughout the country, with a highway network of more than 70,000 kilometers. In enumerating the number of police and the size of the road network, it is evident that the number of officers is not adequate to properly patrol the highway system. In addition, the number of vehicles in the country is growing daily, which is reflected in the number of vehicles the on federal highways. With an increase in vehicles and drivers there is an increased need to have more officers on the road to conduct inspections.

IACP: What advice would you give law enforcement leaders around the world about implementing educational and enforcement programs focused on road safety?

Ms. Nascimento: I would emphasize the importance of strengthening the management capacity, aimed to establish a more technical operational planning culture with the development of preventive and proactive actions. It is also important to mention the need to develop social-oriented work in road safety, which is, focusing on society, its safety and well-being. Finally, I believe it is important to invest in technology and procedures for the collection of reliable statistical data in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis of landscape found, which will enable the adoption of appropriate strategies to achieve the best results possible.
1. United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, http://www.who.int/roadsafety/en/, viewed May 2, 2016.

Posted in Global Policing, Traffic Safety

50 Years of Police Officer of the Year: A Water Rescue by Air

50thPOYLogo_Opt2_CLR_R1Since 1966, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has recognized one law enforcement officer – in a few cases multiple officers – who exemplified outstanding and heroic achievement. While the name of the award may have changed during that time, the honor has not. To celebrate 50 years of awardees, the IACP will be featuring in-depth stories about some of the past Police Officer of the Year winners.

For Sergeant Chip Sunier of the Indiana State Police, one Sunday afternoon in June 2001 is a day that will stand out to him forever.

That day, two young couples decided to go on a boating trip on the White River near Indianapolis, Indiana. Both wives were pregnant and one of the couples had their 9-month-old son with them.

As they drifted down the river with the current, the motor of the boat hit an object in the water and lost its propeller. The boat was about to go over the dam when it struck a tree. The impact made the boat spin around and it hung over the dam with the nose sticking straight up in the air.

Responding to the 911 call, emergency personnel first tried to execute a boat rescue by going out on the river themselves. Unfortunately the boat was too close to the dam and the current too fast for the rescuers to get to it safely. They then tried to extend the ladder of a firetruck out over the water, but it wasn’t long enough for the families to reach. Their final option was to try a helicopter- a dangerous move because it would have to get close enough to the water to lower harnesses to the family members.

Sgt. Chip Sunier and Sgt. John Kelley with the Indiana State Police had trained together for just such a situation. With Sgt. Kelley in the pilot’s seat, Sgt. Sunier knew it was his job to get the families safely into the helicopter. Hovering far above the boat, they lowered the first harness for the baby. The parents tried to put the harness on their young son, but it was too big for his little body.

At that point, Sgt. Sunier knew more drastic measures were needed and he directed Sgt. Kelley to lower the helicopter closer to the raging water. Sgt. Sunier got out of the helicopter and stood on one of the landing skids as he extended his arm to grab the baby. The baby’s father lifted the child as high as he could and passed him off to Sgt. Sunier safely. The two officers then got the baby back on land and after three more helicopter trips, they saved everyone on the boat.

“I got Kim to hand the baby to her husband who reached up and got him to me. What a relief I felt,” said Sgt. Chip Sunier. “It’s funny, as bad as it was, I was not scared or nervous. I felt like John and I were meant to save these people that day.”
It turns out that heroism runs in the Sunier family. Sgt. Sunier’s son, Master Trooper Troy Sunier was on the bank of the river providing assistance as his father was inside the helicopter.

“I was working as a trooper out of the Pendleton State Police Post when this water rescue occurred, and it made worldwide news,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. “What Sgt. Chip Sunier and Sgt. John Kelley- the pilot of the helicopter- accomplished that day was the melding of separate skill sets showing the result of hours of practice as a team working through different potential rescue situations.”

Sgt. Sunier saved more than five lives that day. Less than six months later, both women safely delivered their babies. The picture in Parade magazine celebrating his award showed Sgt. Sunier with the newly expanded families. One of the wives later stated, “These guys are our heroes. They were their best when we were at our worst.”

Do you know a police officer who should be nominated for Police Officer of the Year? Time is running out so, nominate them now! Applications are due Friday, July 22, 2016.

Posted in Awards

Recognize an Officer with IACP/Target Police Officer of the Year Award

The IACP has extended the deadline for the IACP/Target Police Officer of the Year Award to Friday, July 22, 2016.


2015 IACP/Target Police Officer of the Year Finalists

Recent events around the world have heightened the awareness of the dangers law enforcement officers face every day. Many law enforcement officers do not hear the words “thank you” enough. Nominating an officer for the IACP/Target Police Officer of the Year not only allows you to recognize an officer who has done courageous and heroic work for your community, but it helps the IACP and others highlight the extraordinary dedication these officers give every day.

Do you know a police officer who should be nominated for the IACP/Target Police Officer of the Year? Nominate them now! Deadline is now Friday, July 22, 2016.

Posted in Awards

Important Conversation on CBS News’ Face the Nation

On Sunday, July 10, IACP President Terrence Cunningham, Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, and CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues came together on CBS News’ Face the Nation.

In the wake of a number of violent incidents across the United States over the past week, these panelists came together to discuss important issues facing communities around the nation and strategies for moving forward. These issues include the level and types of conversations happening around the country, the need for data collection and sharing, and the importance of accountability.

We hope these respectful and thoughtful conversations continue among community leaders.

Click on the image below to watch the video from CBS.


Posted in Community-Police Relations, Criminal Justice Reform, IACP Leadership