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Interviews: Best Practices in Community Policing

Civil and law enforcement officials share their thoughts on creating and maintaining effective civilian oversight systems.

Kevin Allen, Director of the San Francisco Office of Citizen Complaints

Kevin Allen, Director of the San Francisco Office of Citizen Complaints
"The chief can only discipline officers by suspending them for up to ten days. If it's more serious, we'll ask that it go to the commission. Cases of excessive force, lying by a police officer, and cases that have drawn a lot of public attention will go to the commission a lot of the time." | Read more »

 

Joyce Edgar, Lieutenant with the San Diego Police Department

Joyce Edgar, Lieutenant with the San Diego Police Department
"We've always prided ourselves, especially when I worked in Internal Affairs, that we want the facts out, we want to do a complete investigation. If the oversight board points out something that got missed, we go back and we investigate it. We get a tremendous amount of information from a board that's willing to do that." | Read more »

 

Joe Navarro, Sergeant with the San Diego Police Department

Joe Navarro, Sergeant with the San Diego Police Department
"At that time we had high levels of violence, gang issues, and drug issues. But, for the most part, we found that the citizenry was not so concerned with crime as with disorder — graffiti, vehicles parked in the streets and abandoned. For us it was an issue of community involvement, because we wanted people who lived there and had an interest in solving the problems to be involved." | Read more »

 

Every Mother's Son - John Parker, Executive Officer of the San Diego County Citizens' Law Enforcement Review Board

John Parker, Executive Officer of the San Diego County Citizens' Law Enforcement Review Board
"Essentially we're a complaint department, and satisfaction with complaints is hard to achieve. They usually want something unreasonable; they usually want an officer fired, which is difficult. You've got to be able to prove something that happened, and provide some recorded evidence or an admission, some very credible witnesses in order to sustain findings." | Read more »

 

Wesley Skogan, Professor of Political Science at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University Wesley Skogan, Professor of Political Science at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University
"Community policing has several key characteristics. First is organizational decentralization: pushing authority and accountability to geographical units, precincts or districts. Holding commanders responsible for what goes on in those places, to make it more turf oriented. It means involving the community in identifying problems and priorities. Part of that, for civilians, can mean involving neighborhood residents in neighborhood action projects. Chicago has done that." | Read more »





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