Chief Jennifer Morrison, Colchester Police Department
In late 2014 President Obama appointed The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. This was the first time in nearly 40 years that a Presidential task force had been convened to provide guidance and best practices to American law enforcement practitioners. Members of the Task Force included academicians, law enforcement (both administrators and union reps), civil rights advocates, and community relations experts. They worked vigorously over 90 days, holding “listening sessions” across the country, taking testimony and examining current research.
In May 2015 the Task Force released its Final Report. The report made two overarching recommendations: that the President should support the creation of a National Crime and Justice Task Force to examine all areas of criminal justice and propose reforms; and, that the President should support programs that look at community-based initiatives to address core issues that lead to involvement in the criminal justice system such as poverty, access to education and health care, and community safety. The first overarching recommendation is important because it calls for a standing body to continually offer best practices and propose reforms to the entire criminal justice system, not just the police. The second overarching recommendation is sentinel in that it is a clear acknowledgment that the police cannot solve these complex problems alone. It is only through cooperation and collaboration involving all stakeholders, neighborhoods, and government that we will be able to improve the current state of police-community relations.
The Final Report makes a total of 62 recommendations and recommends dozens more “action items”. The recommendations are organized around six pillars: building trust & legitimacy; policy & oversight; technology & social media; community policing & crime reduction; training & education; and, officer safety & wellness. In late 2015, an implementation guide was released to assist communities in turning the Task Force recommendations into action. Links to both the Final Report and the Implementation Guide are contained in the power point presentation attached.
CPD has trained all its personnel on the Report and its recommendations. We have used the report as a guide to capture feedback from our employees and Town leaders. Currently we are working on multiple methods to obtain input from the community. Potential outreach activities could include a survey, community forums or other ways to connect with a broad cross-section of Colchester residents and stakeholders. Until we finalize this plan, please do not hesitate to contact me at 264-5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I would welcome feedback on the report, how CPD measures up to the recommendations and pillars, or any other topic you feel is important. Together, we can keep Colchester a place where police-community relations are based on trust, mutual respect, and open communication.