IACP Net assists us with strategies and policy.
By Captain Brad Arleth, Spokane, Washington, Police Department
For the last 18 months, the Spokane, Washington, Police Department has been working hard building relationships with the community.
For example, we partnered with the North American Family Institute to implement the Youth & Police Initiative (YPI), a program that engages at-risk youth in discussions about law enforcement. During a one-week session, kids are given a chance to share their experiences with the department. For instance, some might have had an older sibling arrested. Officers explain what it’s like to be a police officer, and why they do some of the things they do. We learn about each other.
YPI resulted from 26 recommendations released by the Use of Force Commission, a mayoral commission created to improve department policy after an unfortunate incident in 2006.
Since the commission released their findings in 2012, the department has met all recommendations, including strengthening relationships with community groups. In addition, 90% of officers have completed a 40-hour crisis intervention training, and the department has revamped police oversight with a strong civilian presence.
We’ve also partnered with a professor at Eastern Washington University and used IACP Net to develop a program to collect data on the racial characteristics of citizens involved in traffic and pedestrian stops.
Using IACP Net’s Main and Policies e-Libraries, I was able to research questions other departments have asked during data collection efforts. Through these partnerships, we successfully created a list of questions—about the nature of the stop,the ethnicity or race of the citizen, the general disposition of the stop, and others. Using this information, we were able to train field officers to effectively collect data.
In 2014, I’ve used IACP Net to research a lethality assessment program for domestic violence calls, as well as information on how departments handle calls involving firearms—everything from going to the scene of a robbery involving a firearm, to intervening in a potential suicide by firearm, to a civilian finding a gun in their backyard.
I was able to learn more about best methods in firearms cases, such as when to involve the ATF or how to take fingerprints from the weapon.
Although there is some information available on the wider Internet, I was able to find department-specific information on IACP Net that I could easily transfer to the Spokane Police Department. I found articles, procedures, and write-ups on the implementation and use of fusion centers, crime analysis units, sequential photo line-ups, and body-worn cameras.
Much of that information is on Quest-ResponseSM, where departments post and respond to questions. I hit the Quest-Response service every time I get online—it’s one of the first things I look at every day. I’ve also answered quite a few Quests, especially about department policy.
When I was promoted to Patrol Captain in 2012, one of my responsibilities became policy development. I needed a tool for networking and policy research, and I told the department, “We should have IACP Net.” In addition to me, our department has seven people with IACP Net licenses who can conduct research.
Our Chief is very supportive of having IACP Net. He is constantly looking to improve our agency, and he knows that we have to stay connected with other agencies at the top. IACP Net helps us do that.