NATIONAL COPS EVALUATION
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE CASE STUDY:
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Peter M. Sheingold
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management
Case Study Prepared for the Urban Institute
Colorado Springs' 340,000 residents are spread throughout 187 square miles along the picturesque Rocky Mountains. The second largest city in Colorado, Colorado Springs has experienced tremendous growth during the last decade, with its population growing by approximately 30% during that time. Many Colorado Springs residents have ties to the military with the United States Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, and the North American Radar Defense (NORAD) command located in, or near, the city. Close proximity to the mountains, the naturally occurring springs which gave the city its name, and the site of the United States Olympic Training Center, have made Colorado Springs a popular tourist attraction for many years. Approximately 84% of Colorado Springs' residents are white, with hispanics making up approximately 9.5% and blacks 7% of the population. The Springs is also a popular place for retirees, with 20% of the population older than 62.
Throughout much of its history the Colorado Springs Police Department has been an innovator in the field. In the early years of the century, for example, it was one of the first department's which collected fingerprints. More recently, during the 1970s, it was one of the first cities to hire dedicated crime analysts and it made several efforts which were designed to move the department closer to the citizens, such as the creation of several citizen volunteer programs. Additionally, fledgling attempts were made to allow officers to `problem-solve' instead of simply responding to calls for service. In many ways, however, the department was fairly traditional. A visitor to the CSPD in 1985 would see an organization which followed the professional model. Officers were dispatched from one central location and spent most of their time on preventive patrol or responding to 911 calls for service. Strategic and tactical decisions were made at the top of the organization by the Chief and his top managers. There was minimal interaction between the agency and the residents it served.
By 1997 the department had been re-deployed along a geographical model into three, separate substations. Additionally, community policing had been adopted as the CSPD's overall strategy, and problem-oriented policing, as its tactical means for implementing the strategy. As a result of this shift away from the professional model, officers and supervisors were given the authority to design and implement problem-solving strategies, often involving other agencies, which could reduce or eliminate long-term problems, as opposed to merely responding to calls-for-service.
This change was led by two different chiefs, both of whom were hired from the Los Angeles Police Department: James Munger, who served from 1986-1990, and Lorne Kramer, who replaced Munger and still serves today. These two men are very different in personality. Munger was a stern task-master, who demanded accountability from all levels of the organization, while decentralizing the agency into three substations. Kramer, described by those who meet him as a `people person,' built on Munger's success and operationalized community/problem-oriented policing with, among other things, extensive training and a small "empowerment card" which gave personnel the authority to independently solve problems as along as their solutions were legal, ethical, and within the department's guidelines and policies. The story of the department's transformation has been a tale of two leaders with very different personal styles, but who both shared a commitment to stretching the boundaries of the department's capabilities.
This case will explore the changes that have occurred during the last 11 years by describing the department as it was from 1975-85, how the department changed under Munger from 1986-90, and how the department changed under Kramer from 1991-97. Specifically the case will examine how two managers - Munger and Kramer - altered four major elements of the organization: its overall vision/mission; its relationship with its outside environment including citizens, the press, and other government agencies; its operations, including patrol, investigations, crime analysis, training, facilities, and dispatch; and its management, which includes the role of decision making and supervision in the department.
In many ways during the mid-70s and early 1980s the CSPD, which employed approximately 380 sworn personnel, was a traditional police department. Patrol officers primarily responded to 911 calls for service and strategic and tactical decisions were made at the top of the organization's hierarchy. However, under Chief John Tagert, the department recognized the value of improving community relations and took several steps toward this goal. Similarly, small steps were taken which allowed officers to engage in problem-solving.
Patrol officers, who were primarily responsible for responding to citizen calls for service, patrolled the city in squad cars and were assigned to one of two area commands, East and West. Each of these commands were subdivided into patrol beats. Until the early 1980's, patrol officers, who bid by seniority for the time of day they worked, were divided equally among three different eight-hour shifts - day, evening and graveyard. Each of these shifts was commanded by a lieutenant, who was responsible for officer scheduling, officer discipline, and fielding citizen phone calls during the shift. Three or four sergeants per shift handled the direct, front-line supervision of patrol officers. A captain, who reported to a Deputy Chief for Operations, supervised the entire patrol division.
The department's deployment model, with three equally staffed shifts, did not account for the fact that call loads were disproportionate with, for example, higher call volume in the early evenings than during the morning. In 1983, an internal study (which will be further discussed in a subsequent section) was conducted in order to improve agency performance. One of the results of the study was the creation of unequally staffed patrol shifts to better match demand levels.
Throughout this period officers worked ten days on and four days off, in a team concept with the same group of officers and sergeant. This team model was popular with many officers because it ensured fixed days off and it built close connections between officers who shared exactly the same schedule. "It was easy... it was more of a family concept because you knew who you were going to work with, where you were going to work, even what car you were going to drive," a department member recalled.
While the officers had limited interactions with the community, personnel reported that there were fledgling attempts at problem-solving. Although there wasn't any formal training in problem-solving, Officers were encouraged by some supervisors to follow-up on cases when they weren't responding to 911 calls. Sgt., then officer, Lonnie Spanswick, who left the Des Moines police department in 1983 to join the CSPD, immediately noticed a difference. "I noticed right off the bat that... in the Springs they were allowing officers to follow-up on their own cases. You could initiate a case report on different types of situations and the officers were allowed to take the time and do as much follow-up as they could within reason," Spanswick said. One of the early large-scale attempts at using proactive strategies occurred within patrol during the mid-70s when Tagert formed a Special Anti-Crime Squad (SACS) and tasked it with reducing burglaries and robberies in selected locations. The SACS unit employed many standard enforcement techniques including the use of plain clothes officers and aggressive arrest policies, but it also reached out to the community by offering security checks to citizens and making a concerted effort to make contacts with residents and business owners in the targeted neighborhoods.
Not all officers, however, were supportive of the early problem-solving approach to patrol work. Spanswick recalled one particular officer who spent a great deal of time doing this follow-up work. "Some of the other officers resented it because they said, `hey, he's wasting time and he's not answering enough calls for service and we're having to pick up his load," Spanswick reported. Similarly, while individual officers might work on a recurring problem, they were not empowered to contact other city agencies whose assistance might solve the problem. "[Contacting other agencies] wasn't considered part of your job... You couldn't take those steps to contact other agencies, you always had to go to your supervisor and then your supervisor might have to go another step," a department member said.
In order to investigate crimes after they occurred, the department employed a centralized investigation division which was divided into several functional bureaus: crime against property, crimes against persons, juvenile crime, vice and narcotics, and major crime. Like patrol, each detective bureau was commanded by a lieutenant and directly supervised by sergeants. The entire investigation division was overseen by a captain who reported to the Deputy Chief for Operations. Detectives, who conducted the investigations, were not promoted to the position. Rather, they were patrol officers who applied to work as investigators. Under this model they could, in theory, be regularly rotated back into patrol. In practice, however, there was little movement between the two units. Because the detectives worked out of a separate building from the patrol officers, there was also very little interaction between patrol officers and detectives. "In the old days you could not talk to the detectives unless you had been on the job for fifteen years... In patrol we never knew what they did, they just wore suits and never talked to you," a department member recalled.
The CSPD was led by a Chief who, along with the organization's four Deputy Chiefs of Operations, Inspection Services Bureau, Staff Services, and Support Services, made up the department's senior management. During most of Tagert's tenure, strategic decisions and organizational direction were set in a centralized fashion by the command staff, with very little input sought from lower level supervisors. "There was not a lot... of interaction [between the command staff] and the line level of the organization," one department member recalled. "There weren't any real good attempts to seize on their ideas or creativity, this was not an empowered organization." In fact, according to the department member, most senior managers believed that empowering mid-level supervisors or line level officers would be dangerous. "There was a fear that if there was not strict accountability many things would go wrong, and there was no tolerance for things going wrong," the department member said. While the command staff worked fairly well together during the 1970s, by the early 1980s its cohesion was tested. The health of Chief Tagert waned and the three Deputy Chiefs sparred over turf issues. With no central figure to settle the disputes, the various factions vied for power. "At that point a lot of the movement in the department depended upon which Captain or Deputy Chief you aligned yourself with," a department member recalled.
For most officers, however, day-to-day direction came from their front-line supervisors: the sergeants. According to many personnel, most sergeants were content to collect paperwork from officers rather than offer guidance about how to perform their work. "You seldom saw a sergeant out in the field. The only time you saw them was at the beginning of a shift for line-ups and at the end of the shift when you turned in your paperwork. The only other time you saw them was if you had a problem or a technical question," a department member recalled. "They were kind of unapproachable, you just didn't approach your sergeant. All the contact you had with him was strictly business... If you were called by a sergeant to either come and see him the attitude was, `what have I done now?' or `what's wrong?"
Most Lieutenants were responsible for the supervision of patrol shifts. As a shift commander a lieutenant was responsible for performing all of the day-to-day administrative tasks associated with a tour of duty. These include scheduling shifts and training, handling discipline, and fielding citizens calls. Yet, during the shifts themselves, lieutenants had minimal interaction with officers and sergeants. During their shifts, Lieutenants are physically situated in a room within the substation where they answered citizen calls. Many of these calls were routine information requests.
Captains were theoretically responsible for the oversight and management of the various divisions within the department. However, according to several department members because the day-to-day management of the division was handled by sergeants and lieutenants, and the larger decisions about staffing and strategic direction came from the command staff, many Captains did not actually have much to do. "At that time the Captain's job was a retirement job. It was a great job to have, you didn't have much responsibility. They just kind of wandered around, and as long as everything was going fine, they just watched it go by," one department member said.
Unions, which often influence decision making in many departments, were not a factor in Colorado Springs which doesn't have any municipal unions. While many officers joined the Police Protective Association (PPA), a fraternal organization which provided officers with legal services and often met with the Chief about issues of concern, it had no legal power to engage in collective bargaining about salary, benefits, or work rules. With no contract between police personnel and the city, salaries and benefits were set on a yearly basis by the Council and the City Manager.
Residents reported emergencies via a 911 system, which was managed by the County and was installed during the mid-70s. (Non-emergency calls were made via a seven digit phone number which came directly into the department). A 911 operator took the call and determined which agency - police, fire, ambulance - should respond to the emergency. If a call was sent to the police department, it was switched to a civilian Complaint Clerk who took the same information again. According to one department member, having to give the same information to two separate operators often frustrated residents who wanted to know, "why aren't you sending someone?" The information was then passed along by the clerk to dispatchers, a mix of civilians and sworn officers, who assigned a priority code to the call and dispatched the officers. A Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD) was installed in the early 1980s which computerized this entire process, that was previously done via hand written cards.
While much about the CSPD during this period was fairly traditional, there were several ways in which Tagert sought to make the department more innovative. One of the most important ways was through crime analysis. In the 1970s the department applied for, and received, federal funding from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration to take part in the Integrated Criminal Apprehension Program (ICAP). As an ICAP city, Colorado Springs received funds to establish a centralized crime analysis unit, staffed by civilian analysts. The analysts used computers to examine crime patterns in three specific crime areas: burglary, robbery, and sex crimes. According to Larry Borland, who was one of the department's first analysts, the analysis memos which the unit generated were met with mixed reactions by commanders. "Some commanders used our services, and some commanders who were from the old school didn't feel like any civilian could ever tell a cop what they needed to know," Borland said. The department's crime analysis capacities were further improved when the department applied for another federal grant which targeted habitual juvenile offenders. The funds allowed the department to hire additional crime analysts who identified the top juvenile offenders. "We... made sure as [the offenders] went through the criminal justice system they didn't continually slip through the cracks, by letting the judges and the prosecutors know who [the offenders] were," Borland said. As a demonstration site for this program, Colorado Springs provided technical assistance to other cities who were developing similar programs.
Throughout this period one of the greatest frustrations for many personnel was the poor state of the department's facilities and equipment. A small two-story central headquarters, which often leaked when it rained, was not large enough to house all of the department's units. Many units rented space in buildings throughout the city, not all of which were particularly well maintained. One department member recalled working out of one such building. "We had a mouse that lived in the middle of our office and we thought of him as a pet," the department member recalled. Unfortunately, the mouse was more interested in chewing up wires in the polygraph machine then helping to solve crime. "It's real tough to problem solve if you are living in a sewer," the department member said. Not only were many of these rented facilities unpleasant to work in, but they added to the department's financial costs. "We're looking financially at the money that we're paying in rent and leases and saying, `this is a real drain on our budgets, which are getting tighter all of the time," one department member said.
While all of the patrol officers reported to the central headquarters before beginning their tours, as the city expanded in size geographically, many individual officers found themselves patrolling locations that were as far as 30 minutes away from headquarters. This increased the time it took for officers to come in-service when they began their tours. "When you worked up north it would take you fifteen minutes just to get your district before you could even take a call," one officer recalled. With many patrol officers working beats far from headquarters, coordination problems arose, as officers rarely saw their centrally located commanders.
In order to provide patrol officers with some facilities when they were in the field, two cramped trailers were placed within each of the East and West Divisions. The trailers did little to improve officer morale. "The trailer had one bathroom and we had a locker room that was attached to the fire department. The work environment was just awful," one department member recalled. Beyond the insufficient facilities, old equipment frustrated department personnel. Patrol cars were in need of upgrades. "The car that I drove was beaten up, had high mileage, the air conditioner never worked, and it did not have a radio," one department member said. The large radios which officers carried were described as "bricks" and personnel carried six shot revolvers instead of 9mm weapons.
While most patrol officers were not tasked with closely interacting with the city's residents, under Tagert several new programs, which were not explicitly conceptualized as community policing, were created to forge a closer relationship between the department and Colorado Springs' citizens. Some of these programs brought in volunteers from the community. Members of the volunteer Chaplaincy Corps, made up of Christian and Jewish clergy, were called to the scene of emotionally traumatic incidents such as death notifications, where counseling might be required. A Senior Victim Assistance Team, comprised of volunteers, many of whom were themselves senior citizens, was created to respond to any elderly victim of crime, who might need crisis intervention services. Other volunteers came to the department and performed various support tasks such as helping with filing or mailings. The department also used its own resources to enhance the relationship with the community. A Victim Services program was started in which paid staff counselors responded to victims of sexual crimes; a Crime Prevention Unit conducted home security inventories and helped form numerous block watch and business watch groups; and a Youth Services program provided families in crisis with counseling.
While these programs encouraged closer connections between the department and the community, and the city of Colorado Springs has always been strongly supportive of law enforcement, there was distance between many officers and the larger community. "I think back then we were kind of looked at as the Gestapo. When the cops came in, the cops were bad guys... Every contact [a citizen] would have with a police officer would be negative," one department member said. The department's facilities themselves affected the way that the community interacted with police officers. "In our old facility the front counter had heavy bullet proof glass with a little hole that people would speak through to whoever was the desk. This ensured a separation between `us and them,' it was very user unfriendly," a department member recalled. Not only was there a distance but, in some cases, officers took a heavy-handed approach with citizens.
A politically conservative city, Colorado Springs is governed by a Mayor and eight City Council members. Day-to-day management of the city is delegated to a City Manager, who hires all of the agency heads. During this time the department had little interaction with other city agencies. One notable exception to this general rule, however, was the Vice and Narcotics Investigation bureau which worked collaboratively with local County Sheriff's departments to target crime within a four county area.
While the department always pushed for more resources from the city, and it received approximately 30% of the city's budget, during the early 1980s there was an increasing sense in the City Manager's office that the department was not operating as efficiently as possible. "The City's Budget and Management Office saw that we, the Police Department, were coming in each year and saying that we needed more people... but they didn't know what we were doing with the people we had," Deputy Chief, then Captain, Pat McElderry recalled. As a result, the City Manager directed a member of his budget office to work with the police department, study all of the department's operations and make recommendations for improvement, with an eye towards cost reduction.
The ensuing report resulted in the previously described change in patrol deployment and made numerous recommendations for changing the department's operations including: improving the department's facilities, civilianizing some sworn positions, and upgrading training. By the time that the final report was released at the end of 1983, Chief Tagert had fallen ill and the City Manager appointed one of the department's three deputy chief's to implement the report's recommendations. The report was not met favorably by many within the organization, and the deputy chief had a difficult time moving forward with the reorganization plan. "The report did not really have the stamp of approval in the organization," McElderry said.
The department did not employ a press relations officer. As a result, there were few attempts to proactively engage the media, nor was there an openness when problems arose. "I don't think we were up front," one department member said. "We created the impression that we didn't have to answer to anybody." While there was a distance from the press, there wasn't a feeling within the organization that the media was `anti-cop' or was systematically out to `get the department.'
By 1984 the department, which in many ways was ahead of its time, was in a rut. The internal factional disputes, and the poor facilities and equipment led to declines in agency morale. The organization lacked strong leadership. Relations with City Hall, which still believed that the department was not operating as efficiently as possible, were strained. While not every member of the department was interested in significant change, there were members of the organization, most notably Captain Pat McElderry, then commander of the patrol division, who believed that the organization could significantly alter its service delivery philosophy. While he did not have an explicit strategy in mind, McElderry, who joined the department in 1969 and who played in a large role in the internal study, believed that the department could significantly improve. Some of McElderry's goals were based on desires to upgrade the department's facilities, equipment, and technology. Others surrounded improvements in training, organization, and direction. He was also committed to improving the department's relationship with the community. "I knew we could provide better service to the community, but I hadn't really defined in my mind what that meant," McElderry said. McElderry' goal of improving customer service came from reading research articles about the profession, and by traveling to other departments which had implemented innovative programs. "One of the components [of the ICAP grant] was a technical assistance program. Departments that were doing certain things well would send representatives to other departments. I was involved with that, and I went to a variety of places that were doing things well, or not so well, and we had people come to us because we doing some really good things with crime analysis," McElderry said. While McElderry was expanding his knowledge about other departments, he was not, however, in a position to implement wide-spread changes within the CSPD.
In 1984 Chief Tagert's health problems caused him to resign from the department, and the City Manager, George Fellows, began a search for a new chief. With internal factionalism straining the organization, Fellows believed that the department needed a chief from outside the department. In 1985, before Fellows had an opportunity to act on this, he retired from his position, and a new City Manager, Larry Blick, was hired. Blick's first task: hire the new police chief. After meeting with Fellows, Blick agreed that the next chief would have to come from outside Colorado Springs. "I knew that if I made the choice from within the department I would be aligning myself with one faction or another, and the person I appointed could not have succeeded," Blick said. Beyond a desire to hire someone from outside the department, Blick had two other important goals for the new chief: improve the department's external interactions with the community and, ensure the department was managed in a modern, progressive manner. "I wanted someone who could work with the community and who would get the police out of their cars and interact more with the citizens they were serving," Blick said. "I also wanted the chief to embrace a modern philosophy of police management."
With these goals in mind, Blick hired James Munger, a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Munger retired from the LAPD as a Commander in 1982 to become a Deputy Chief with the Washington State Patrol. By 1985, the Governor who had appointed Munger was not re-elected, and Munger was looking for a new job. During his interviews for the Colorado Springs position Munger, described as a hard-charging, no-nonsense administrator, impressed Blick with his self-assuredness and the wide-range of experiences he had while serving with the LAPD. "He was sure of himself, and I knew he could provide leadership for the department," Blick said.
During his tenure with the LAPD, Munger was introduced to a precursor of community policing - Team policing - which was implemented during the 1970s. "We took geographic areas of the city and combined all of the policing functions in that geographic area whether it was vice, patrol, detectives or traffic into a team led by a team leader. The [team] became responsible for all of the policing in that specific area of the city, as opposed to the traditional policing concepts... of having a separate detective unit, a separate patrol unit, and so on," Munger said. While Team policing did not survive in the LAPD, it introduced Munger to a geographic based service delivery model, an idea which would prove important when he came to Colorado Springs.
After meeting with Blick, Munger believed he would have several important tasks as Chief. "They were looking for a new leader to come in and define a clear cut mission and goals... I gathered from my conversations with people in the city administration, that the department was pretty badly factionalized," Munger said. "[My] role was to ... regroup the organization, identify who should and who should not be leading the organization, and develop, most importantly, a service delivery plan... That centered on whether the city should continue to operate basically as it had, as a centralized policing function, or go to a decentralized substation or precinct concept." Given his own professional history, and the increasingly large area which officers patrolled, Munger believed that a decentralized approach was needed. After touring the facilities, Munger was also committed to improving the department's infrastructure. "We had just an atrocious facility situation and our equipment was certainly less than contemporary," Munger said.
While he did not call it community policing, Munger was also committed to improving relations with the residents of Colorado Springs. "There were never going to be enough cops in any city to successfully address all of the policing issues on their own. There had to be community involvement of some kind," Munger said. Equally important for Munger, he wanted the entire department to be more accountable to the citizens for whom they worked. "The whole concept was just being responsible for what it is you do. [Cops] have a trust that has been given to them... [by] the people in the community and [the cops] need to exercise that authority in an honest, effective and appropriate way," Munger said. With these ideas in mind, Munger took command of the department in 1985 and immediately began making significant changes.
In order to realize his goals, Munger felt that he would have to make dramatic changes within the organization at several different levels. However, Munger was unsure if the upper command staff which he inherited, and which had been racked by facitionalized disputes, was up to the challenge. Within the first few months after taking command Munger hired an outside firm to conduct a formal assessment of his command staff and mid-level managers. While Civil Service rules controlled promotions until the captain rank, Munger could re-assign any manager to a new position, and the deputy chiefs served at the will of the Chief. After the results of the assessment center came back, Munger replaced all three deputy chiefs, and reassigned many other managers to new positions within the department. These radical changes served several purposes for Munger, who believed that change would not be accomplished easily. "I just thought that we needed to have people in those positions who were more capable of understanding what I wanted to do with the department," Munger said. "[At the same time] it had a pretty profound effect on the department. I think that they realized that I really meant business. People do not come along happily when you are trying to change an organization, consequently you have to prove that you mean what you say."
Beyond specific personnel changes, Munger's sought to hold everyone in the agency accountable for their actions. According to many personnel, one of the most effective ways that Munger operationalized this accountability was through hand-written notes which asked managers how a specific incident could have occurred. "We still remember the notes we got from the chief. `How could this happen?' It could be about anything that had gone wrong. A complaint from a community member to a string of burglaries that you hadn't figured out," Capt. Robert Ownbey, who was promoted from Lieutenant during Munger's tenure, said. "He expected you to first explain how this happened without your knowing about it, and secondly what were you going to do about it, and how it was going to be changed." While Munger held all manager's accountable for their actions, he dramatically altered the expectations of the captains. "We really put the Captains to work and made them accountable for everything that was under their area of responsibility. Including responding to crime issues, dealing with efficiency and effectiveness, and in the disciplinary area. They were responsible for being part of the disciplinary process and for bringing forward complaints against officers," Munger said. Holding captains accountable created a trickle down effect, in which the captains held their personnel accountable. "If [Munger] wanted a report on his desk by noon tomorrow, then the people who I assigned to look into the issue and report to me had to be done by eight or ten in the morning so I could be briefed," Capt. Luis Velez said. "Lateness was unacceptable. If I needed a report at 10:00 and you came in at 10:05, then I would be held accountable for the ineffectiveness of my staff."
Munger's demand for accountability extended beyond uniformed managers into all levels of the organization. "There was no question in anybody's mind what was demanded of you. If you had a project you were expected to do it well and do it on time. That kind of accountability, I don't think that had ever been here before. For years and years this was a small town, and a small town police department, and [that kind of accountability] wasn't required," explained Larry Borland, a civilian crime analyst who was promoted to lead the fiscal services section under Munger. These changing expectations led some of the older managers to retire. "He put more and more pressure and demands on upper management. More than were placed on them for a while. Some people thrived under that, and others looked for a graceful way out of the door. Over Munger's five years here there was a dramatic turnover in the captain and lieutenants level," explained McElderry, who became a Deputy Chief during the initial shake-up.
For line officers, Munger's focus on accountability had two components. First, they were asked to more completely account for their time in the field. Previously officers logged their time spent responding to calls-for-service and meal time. Under Munger, they were asked to account for all of their time. The other important component of Munger's focus on officer accountability centered on discipline. While there was already an internal affairs unit within the department, Munger gave it new marching orders and augmented it with an Office of Professional Standards which would be located out of the chief's office. "We always had internal affairs, but [before Munger] it wasn't a very effective unit. It [became] a respected unit under Munger. He... really spruced it up. He made sure that it investigated everything that came in. He wanted to be sure that there was no mistreatment of anyone and that the rules were followed very strictly," McElderry explained. Munger was quick to fire and suspend officers who misbehaved, which he felt was another way of reinforcing his overall message about accountability. "I backed up what I was saying to the organization, about the way I believed officers ought to conduct themselves, with some pretty stringent disciplinary actions. I think that was confounding to the organization. They had not been exposed to those kind of actions in relation to misconduct," Munger said.
Beyond his desire to change the department's behavior, Munger was committed to radically altering its service delivery model. Specifically, Munger wanted to decentralize police services and upgrade the department's facilities. Soon after he arrived, Munger created a strategic planning task force of 70 people to reorganize the department around the decentralization model. "There were not many givens [about how the reorganization would look]. I wanted an Office of Professional standards and I wanted to decentralize," Munger said. The task force brought numerous changes to the department including upgrades in training, civilianizing some support service positions, dividing the Operations Bureau into two bureaus - Patrol and Investigations - and combining three bureaus - Inspection Services, Staff Services, and Support Services - into one Operations Support Bureau. Yet, its most important accomplishment was decentralizing service delivery.
The task force believed that there would be several benefits to a decentralized service delivery approach. According to a formal facilities plan, these included: reducing the amount of time that officers spent driving to-and-from their sector to the station; tailoring different strategies to meet the needs of a specific neighborhood, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach which was used in the centralized model; and moving detectives to the substations which would improve the relationship between patrol and investigations. Beyond these specific benefits, in general decentralization was seen as a way to establish closer relationships with Colorado Springs' residents. "Current research indicates that moving police facilities closer to neighborhoods develops better relationships between the officers and the people they serve," the facilities report said. "Decentralized facilities will be more convenient and accessible to the public and will reduce the number of trips downtown that the public is currently required to make to conduct police related business." Munger also strongly believed that new facilities, which would be required if decentralization occurred, would have a big psychological impact on agency morale. "If you are being treated like a second class citizen in a police organization you act like a second class citizen and do not conduct yourself professionally. And, the community coming into your facilities senses immediately that this is a second class operation, whether you have good people or not," Munger said.
Under the Task Force's plan for decentralization, which was designed with the assistance of an architectural firm, the city would be divided into three substations - Falcon, Gold Hill, and Sand Creek - each to be commanded by a captain. Each individual substation would be housed in new facilities. The largest facility, where Gold Hill would be located, would also house the central command staff and the operations center. Facilitating better community relations was built into the design of the stations. The front desk area would be open, not closed off behind bullet proof glass, and a community meeting room would be built into each substation. This community room would be available free-of-charge, for any local group or individual, as long as they were using it for a positive event like a scout meeting or a wedding.
Making this plan a reality required a great deal of financial support. In 1987 Munger and the strategic planning team developed a two-tiered plan to get the necessary funding of approximately $30 million dollars. First, support was developed for a bond-issue that would be placed on the ballot to fund the new substations. Second, the Council and Mayor were convinced to use existing capitol improvement and bond funds to build a new central facility. Munger personally handled much of the City Hall lobbying. What most impressed the Council Members, according to McElderry, was that unlike previous requests for money, this time the department had a long-term strategic plan to support its request. "They could see the well-planned, long-term direction that the police department was going in, instead of the floundering around that we had been doing," McElderry said.
Not only did the department lobby elected officials, but Munger and members of the strategic planning team spent many hours attending local community meetings during which they made their pitch for the bond issues. "We put together a slide show about the need for facilities and we would talk to anybody. If we could get three people to sit down we would talk to them," McElderry recalled. Borland, who also worked on the project, had no doubt that the residents of Colorado Springs would support the department, but felt that Munger's personal lobbying made the difference in City Hall. "This is a law and order community and people's priorities are always going towards police and fire and less towards social programs, so there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to pass the bond issues... [But] I believe Munger really had to go to the mat with the mayor and the city manager a couple of times on how much money there was going to be," Borland said. Munger was ultimately successful, and in 1987 the capital improvement funds were allocated by the Council, and the bond issue was passed by the voters. (Munger's successful lobbying of City Hall also led to upgrades in officer equipment including new radios, cars, and 9mm semi-automatic weapons.)
Decentralization was supported within the department and externally in the community. Officers appreciated the new facilities which were built to support decentralization as well as the reduced time it took them to reach their patrol sectors. Residents supported the department's new visibility and accessibility. "By building the new [facilities] which are very visible... it has made the department a lot more visible. But, it also made them more accessible," explained Pat Jackson, a citizen volunteer with the department. "[Before decentralization] if I were to call an officer to get out to my house it could take him a half-hour or longer. Now if I have a priority one call and I called the Sand Creek Division, I'd have an officer here within five to six minutes."
As part of the larger decentralization plan, Munger re-examined the department's patrol deployment patterns. While the department had moved from its original model of three equally divided shifts, it had yet to conduct sophisticated demand analysis of its deployment needs. The department purchased a computer program, Patrol Plan, which performed deployment analysis and Larry Borland was assigned the task of designing a new deployment model. "We wanted to decentralize the department in a coherent way, so that we weren't guessing. We wanted to know where our resources were going to be," Borland said. "The computer program allowed us to look at [things like] the number of calls we have, how fast we could respond to calls, what was the likelihood of being in a given area at a given time, what's the call queue going to look like, etc." Borland quickly realized that for deployment to more accurately match demand, the Team model, in which officers worked fixed patterns of ten days on and four days off with the same other officers and supervisors, would have to be eliminated. "It's much more efficient to allocate bodies than it is to allocate teams," Borland said. In the same vein, Borland realized that the Team approach resulted in too many officers having weekends off, when the call loads were the highest.
As a result, a new deployment model was developed and implemented. Under the new plan, the teams were broken up and officers bid, by seniority, for their days off. While the basic pattern of three eight hour shifts was kept in place, a couple of staggered start times within the shifts were created, more officers were assigned to weekend duty, and officer deployment among the shifts was further refined. While these changes were made immediately in 1986, once the three substations were operational in 1989 the same analysis program allowed the department to staff each substation based on demand loads, rather than simply evenly dividing the force into three equally staffed divisions. Another related shift occurred around this time, when Munger began rotating detectives back into the patrol division. This was popular with many patrol officers who now had the capacity to apply for investigator positions, but it was not appreciated by many of the detectives who found themselves back in patrol against their will.
By early 1987 the sum of Munger's changes was large. An entire new team of Deputy Chiefs was running the department, many middle managers had been reassigned or retired; a new decentralized deployment model was in the works; the discipline system had been greatly strengthened; officers were being deployed in a new manner which resulted in the loss of fixed days off and broke up cohesive teams; and many detectives were back in patrol against their will. Many of these changes were unpopular with personnel, who found themselves left out of the decision making process. "He changed our days off without any input at all. He came in and said I am the Chief and this is the way its going to be and that's that," a department member said. Moreover, on a personal level many department members, who were unhappy to begin with that an outsider was brought into the organization, found Munger cold and distant. "With Munger if you saw him walking down the hall you would say good morning and he would not even acknowledge your existence," a department member said.
The combination of these changes led the members of the Police Protective Association in early 1987 to take, and pass, an overwhelming vote of no confidence about Munger. (During this same period another fraternal organization, the Police Service Association (PSA) was formed by some officers who were frustrated with the PPA). "It was the small things that Munger did. Munger had a bigger vision and it was lots of small little things that the cops took personally," one department member said. "He just couldn't believe that cops would get stuck on this stuff, and he started to realize that it was the little things that most rubbed them wrong."
While the PPA did not have power to hire or fire a Chief, the vote sent a strong message to City Hall that Munger wasn't popular with many officers. A formal notice about the vote was passed to City Manager Larry Blick, who had always been very supportive of Munger's efforts. Blick felt that one of the City Manager's role was to act as a buffer between Munger and those who would derail his change efforts. "These changes were needed. I allowed him to do what needed to be done and I served as a buffer from the external pressures which would seek to undermine the change," Blick said. "To make this kind of change it takes support for the Chief so that the department can get through the rough periods until the changes are institutionalized and nobody can remember how it was done before." Beyond his philosophical support of Munger, Blick strongly believed that acquiescing to the PPA would greatly weaken the ability of any police chief to manage the department. "I didn't do anything with the vote of no confidence. If I got rid of Munger because of pressure from the police officers, they would be able to run off every police chief in the future whom they did not agree with. I was not going to let them run the department," Blick said. While some of the Council Members, and the Mayor in particular, were concerned about the vote, they agreed with Blick that acquiescing to the officers would not be in their best interest, and no action was taken by City Hall against Munger.
Munger himself was not pleased that the vote took place, but he came to see it as a blessing in disguise. "It is no fun receiving a vote of no confidence because you get a lot of headlines but I think my footing was actually stabilized by having that happened. [The organization] began to realize that this guy's not going anywhere," Munger said. Ironically, the vote cemented Munger's position, yet he made one concession to the officers and formed an Officer's Advisory Committee. This committee was unaffiliated with any outside organization. Rather it was a team of officers who would hold monthly meetings with Munger about any proposed policy changes. Although the committee had no power to make policy, it was a formal outlet for officers to communicate regularly with Munger.
Despite the fact that one of Munger's strongest supporters, City Manager Larry Blick, left Colorado Springs later in 1987, Munger would not face any further challenges to his leadership of the department. While he was never personally beloved by the organization, by the time Munger left the department in 1990, he was highly respected as an effective administrator whose leadership significantly strengthened the agency.
One of Munger's central goals was improving the department's relationship with the greater Colorado Springs community. Munger's emphasis on accountability and his decision to decentralize service delivery were, in part, attempts to make the department more responsive and accountable to the community. While he did not entirely operationalize community policing throughout the department Munger took several other important steps to push the CSPD in that direction.
Externally, Munger himself spent a great deal of time meeting with community groups, and developing a more open relationship with the press. Munger created the position of press information officer and staffed it with a lieutenant whose job was to work with the local media. Munger quickly earned a reputation with the media as a straight shooter, who did not try to `hide' bad news. "When Munger came in here he pretty much opened the door and said not only are we going to answer [the press] but we're going to tell you the truth and we're going to be up-front about whatever happens," a department member said. According to Blick, Munger's open relations with the media generated positive press coverage which, combined with his regular attendance at local events, earned Munger a strong reputation in many parts of the community.
Internally, one of the first mechanisms that Munger used to formally declare that the department would have a different relationship with the community was through the development of organizational mission and value statements. "Every organization has an informal value system. They can be all screwed up in terms of what it is that the boss hopes for versus what the values of the organization are. [Or in comparison] to what the community's values are," Munger said. "[By putting the values in writing] it ensures that the informal value system is not driving the organization." These mission and value statements were written by Munger and the agency's top commanders at staff retreats during his first few years in Colorado Springs. The writers were guided by Munger's own ideas regarding accountability to the community, a values survey which had been administered to 200 randomly selected personnel, and values statements from other police departments which had engaged in similar exercises. While the final values statement included 12 different values, among them was an explicit statement of support for community policing. "We believe in open communication and partnerships with the community. Therefore we believe in community policing where there is active participation of the public in enhancing public safety. [And] we will work with the community in addressing problems that create crime and disorder," the values statement read. The values statement further encouraged employees to use problem-solving skills. "We believe we can achieve our highest potential by actively involving our employees in problem-solving and improving police services," the values statement continued. The department's mission statement, which was developed at the same time, also proclaimed that the CSPD would provide police services in, "partnership with our community." The mission and value statements would be slightly revised under Munger's successor, Chief Lorne Kramer, but they have not substantially changed since the late 1980s. These mission and values statements, which were subsequently incorporated into the department's in-service and academy curriculums, were well-received by many members of the department. "Especially a lot of the older guys saw [the values statement] as a creed, or a model, [which said] what we are all about," one officer said.
During the same time period, Munger was becoming increasingly aware of the formal development of community policing strategies across the nation. In order to help bring these ideas into the CSPD, Munger invited several national experts to address his annual staff conferences. In 1987 noted police researcher Robert Trajanowicz presented a workshop about community policing and foot patrols; in 1988 Chief Jerry Williams of Aurora, Colorado spoke about community policing and national accreditation and Darryl Stephens, then Director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), discussed his implementation of problem-oriented policing in the Newport News Police Department. In 1989, Superintendent Chris Braiden of the Edmonton Police Department presented several articles he had written about community policing. These training sessions helped the department's top managers refine their thinking about the best ways to operationalize community and problem-oriented policing.
With a stronger feel at the top of the organization for community policing, the department took several actions which began to alter the way that police services were delivered. One of Munger's first steps, according to McElderry, involved citizen complaints. "He told us we had to be much more customer oriented. When people made complaints to the department before, sometimes they got a response, sometimes they didn't," McElderry recalled. "We developed under Munger a system of tracking complaints, responding to everything. He wanted somebody to go out and personally contact anybody that had contacted the PD whether it was a complaint, or a commendation, or a request for information."
Munger also wanted patrol officers spending less time driving around their sectors and more time interacting with residents and business owners. In order to implement this idea the "Park, Walk and Talk" was designed. Supervisors told officers to take a portion of their shift when call volume was low and report to dispatch that they would be out of their cars. Officer's daily log sheets were altered to include this category, and officers were expected to record how much time they spent walking and talking with the Colorado Springs community. Some officers, like Larry Morgan, enjoyed this new found opportunity. "I think that sort of made people think, `oh the cops are talking to me, they aren't just writing a ticket or contacting me when something bad has happened. I'm being contacted in a positive manner... they are allowing me to tell them what is going on," Morgan said. "That was a big advantage for me, being able to talk to more people and getting more information about what was going on in a certain area." Not every officer was supportive of the concept, and some approached their new responsibilities half-heartedly. "[Some officers] were just using it as an excuse to get out and walk through the mall and window shop and chew up their time and have something to put on their log sheet," one department member recalled. "You'd talk to somebody if you ran across them. But you weren't actively going in their and talking to the business owners and seeing what was happening in their stores."
Another innovation, the creation of the Neighborhood Policing Unit (NPU), came after the department purchased a mobile command post in 1986. "We bought this huge motor home as a command post, and we were actually catching some heat for spending so much money on something that just sits," McElderry recalled. McElderry quickly realized that the mobile home was actually an opportunity to implement some problem-solving concepts. "Storefront [substations] were kind of in vogue, but with the way that this community is designed the storefronts didn't fit real well because we don't have one real depressed neighborhood. So what we decided was to use the mobile unit to do hot-spot work," McElderry said. "We put some cops into it so they could walk and ride bikes and do all of that neat stuff we had been reading about." McElderry personally interviewed and handpicked the four officers and one sergeant who would serve in the new unit, which would be tasked with going into troubled locations which might respond well to a concentrated police response. The unit resembled the old SACS squad which had been disbanded, and McElderry explicitly told the officers to actively work with local residents, businesses, and other agencies to help solve problems. "I choose officers who I felt were really connected with the community, had a lot of energy, and worked well on their own," McElderry said.
The first NPU personnel were trained in the concepts of community policing and, depending on the situation they were addressing, the new unit was allowed to keep flexible hours. Each day the members would drive the vehicle to the designated location and begin bike and foot patrol. In addition to this patrol work, NPU officers worked closely with local business owners and residents to help assess problems and implement crime prevention strategies. The unit's first assignment was in Prospect Lake, the site of a park-based open-air drug market which constantly drained police resources during the summer months. NPU officers spent a great deal of their time riding and walking through the neighborhood. They also worked with the Parks Department to alter the park's walking trails and playgrounds to make them less conducive to drug dealing. The result, according to McElderry, was a decrease in crime in the neighborhood and a grateful community. "A bunch of kids from the local school made a giant thank you card and sent it to the Mayor and the Chief," McElderry said. "That experience, in and of itself, is what absolutely cemented the [problem-oriented] philosophy in the department."
NPU became so popular with citizens, that several residents successfully lobbied the Council for an expansion of the program so that each of the substations could have its own NPU contingent. (Over the years, the NPU units have further refined their strategies, tactics, and training. These updates will be further addressed later in the case.) While the NPU program was embraced by the community, internally there was some tension about the unit. Some department members dubbed the NPU officers `touchy-feely.' "Its old versus new school. You've got these little touchy-feely guys that wear short pants and ride bicycles," one department member explained. Other officers resented the fact that the NPU personnel were not required to respond to calls for service. "Who is taking the calls? That is always the number one question from a street cop. [NPU] is there but a call comes in and [patrol] still has to take it," one department member said.
By 1990 the CSPD had been dramatically changed. Police services were entirely decentralized. Two new substations had been built, and a command center was on the way. Officers drove new cars, carried new radios, and were armed with 9mm semi-automatic weapons. Accountability was demanded throughout the organization, and new managers were in place throughout the agency. Through the `Park, Walk, and Talk' and the NPU, officers were spending more time interacting with Colorado Springs residents. Many positions previously held by officers had been civilianized. At this time, a new city manager asked Munger to temporarily take on the role of Acting Deputy City Manager, with responsibilities for all city agency operations. Although Munger initially had no intention of leaving the police department, after serving for five months in both capacities he found himself drawn towards the new role. "I decided that it would be interesting to have a career change and have an opportunity to impact the issues of the city at a different level. So when they offered me the job, I said I would take it if they gave me a contract," Munger said. A contract was tendered, and Munger left the department.
While Munger made many critical changes within the department, he had not fully implemented community policing. "Munger stressed personal conduct and his real theme was customer service and satisfaction," McElderry said. "But he had not yet articulated the strategies as a way of policing. He had the basic understanding that you needed to be closer to the community, you need to interact, you need to provide customer service, but he did not describe a new model for policing." Munger's personal style, according to Borland, played a role. "One of the things that has to happen when you do community and problem-oriented policing is that the line level officer absolutely has to feel empowered," Borland said. "They have got to feel that they can get out of their car and act and if they muck something up it's going to be okay. That could never have happened with Munger because, rightly or wrongly, [the line personnel] were scared to death that if they screwed up he was going to take them off at the knees."
Although Munger left the department in 1990, he would still play an important role in the CSPD's future as he was asked to help search for his replacement. Acknowledging that he was not a `people person,' Munger felt that the new chief needed to have strong interpersonal skills. "The people [in the organization] did not perceive me as being a real `people person,' and I was not trying to win any popularity contests... [As a result] I thought there was a need for a Chief who is really a great people person," Munger said. Munger and the City Manager were also committed to hiring a Chief who would continue moving the department towards community policing. Having already established the precedent of hiring from outside the department, a national search was conducted and three finalists emerged: Deputy Chief Pat McElderry from the CSPD, who was appointed Acting Chief while the search was conducted; Tom Koby, a Deputy Chief with the Houston Police Department, who would eventually become chief in Boulder, Colorado; and Lorne Kramer, a commander and a 29-year veteran with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Like Munger, Kramer had come up through the LAPD during the TEAM policing era. While he supported the goals of working with the community, Kramer felt that the implementation of TEAM policing ended up segregating the department. "I think it developed somewhat of an elitist sense in the department because the people involved in TEAM policing separated themselves from [everyone else]," Kramer said. "I really think that was one of the overall downfalls of TEAM policing because it segregated the officer who was routinely interacting with the community from the people who were having meetings with the community. It never did a good job of getting line officers to buy into and develop ownership of this new approach."
Kramer's experience with TEAM and his exposure to the emerging literature about community policing, helped shape his views about a new role for police departments. In Kramer's mind, the police and community should work closely with each other, and that officers throughout the department, not simply officers in specialized units, should be empowered to develop solutions to neighborhood problems. "[I thought we should] move closer to the community, really capitalizing on not only what was in the literature, but what we instinctively knew. We were fighting a losing battle if we were going to continue to react rather than develop partnerships with the community. [We also needed to] leverage the skills and talents of very bright people [in the department] who were out there in the field doing the job," Kramer said.
Although he developed this vision while working in Los Angeles, by the late 1980s Kramer was becoming increasingly frustrated with a department which he felt was not open to innovation. "I was frustrated... because Los Angeles at the time had become such a deeply entrenched traditional organization that change came very slowly," Kramer said. "Myself and some colleagues that had grown up in that organization at the same time felt that change was necessary but didn't see it happening."
As a result, when he saw the opening in Colorado Springs Kramer put in an application. Although Munger knew Kramer from the time they spent in the LAPD together, Munger said it did not play a role in the search process. "I knew [Kramer in LA], however that did not have any bearing on the selection... [But] I knew that he would be a really top notch chief, "Munger said. "He has great command presence, great command of the issues of policing, and he is a real people person." Although there was a great deal of organizational support for McElderry, in March, 1991 Kramer was chosen to succeed Munger. "We went through those last assessments and I would have picked him by the time we were done," McElderry said. Soon after the announcement was made, Borland had reason to call the LAPD's fiscal services manager. "Of course I had to ask him what Kramer was all about... He said, `I have nothing to gain or lose by telling you this, but you are getting one of the good guys. You are going to love him," Borland said.
When Kramer came to Colorado Springs he already developed a vision that the department should work more closely with the community, and that officers should be empowered to work proactively and problem solve. Beyond this vision, the charasmatic and friendly Kramer developed a reputation in Los Angeles as a `cops cop' who was genuinely liked and respected by his troops.
When he joined the CSPD, Kramer knew that Munger had already made significant strides towards changing the department, but that the employees were looking for a different style of leadership. "The general sense that I had was that the department had gone through a lot of change, and most of it for the better... but while this was happening the care and feeding of employees was somewhat left in the wake. The rank and file was looking for a different kind of leadership," Kramer said. As a result, Kramer spent much of his first year working to establish trust with the organization, by meeting with personnel, attending roll-calls and riding on patrol with officers. "I constantly reminded the staff that you can never forget what it's like to be a cop. You can never forget what it's like to be working in a radio car and responding to the complex kinds of calls and situations that officers get sent to," Kramer said.
While there was some initial resentment that another chief from outside the department was hired, after personnel met with Kramer many were immediately impressed by his openness. Borland and other members of the budget office were among the first to meet Kramer. "The first time I walked into his conference room and sat down and started talking about the budget, he was instantly approachable... I felt like I could talk to this guy," Borland said. Many line officers were also very pleased after meeting their new chief, believing that he was truly concerned with their welfare.
Kramer also made a concerted effort to meet with community groups, whose confidence he quickly won. Minister Promise Lee, who directs the Hillside Neighborhood Association, in a predominately African-American neighborhood was initially skeptical when he heard that another member of the LAPD was joining the department. "Kramer comes in during the Rodney King deal _ bad timing, or so I thought. Same old, same old, but worse... But he met with the grass roots folks... He opened himself up and said here I am shoot at me. People asked him the hard questions and he gave answers. It wasn't just a song and dance. I remember one of his statements was, `hold me accountable, that's your job," Lee said.
One of the most immediate tangible changes that Kramer made was to alter the discipline system, which some in the department felt had become too heavy handed under Munger. Although Kramer felt that the Internal Affairs Unit was fairly well organized, he was concerned about the role that the chief played in the discipline process. Under Munger, after an investigation was conducted, the Chief would see the material before all of the supervisors reviewed the case. Kramer felt that this approach made supervisors uncomfortable making recommendations until they knew where the chief stood. "I think the mindset was that nobody made a recommendation until they had checked with the Chief to see what he felt was the right penalty. Everybody in the command had to be in lock-step before they made a recommendation," Kramer said. Kramer changed this system, and instituted a military endorsement process. While Kramer was still briefed weekly about the status of all on-going investigations, after an investigation was completed he was not shown the results until after all of an officers supervisor's had a chance to review the material. Kramer explained the new process.
Rather than the Chief reading it first and then discussing what the appropriate penalty should be, that file is sent all the way down to the officer's first line supervisor, the sergeant, and they have the responsibility of reading it, discussing it with the officer... and then putting together a memo that goes into the file as an [informal] recommendation. Then it goes to the Lieutenant who reads it and either agrees with it or doesn't agree. That's where the [formal] recommendation comes in. If the lieutenant agrees with it then he endorses it. The next level, the captains level, is the first level that has the formal authority to recommend negative discipline... But the captain has the responsibility of endorsing it. If they don't agree they have to articulate from their perspective what are the reasons they don't agree.
Finally, after a case has been reviewed at these three levels, Kramer received the file and made a final decision about discipline. This new system, according to many in the department, was well received by the organization. "I think the process is much fairer. You get a fairer shake at each level because it's putting some personal responsibility on each level to justify his recommendation. The Chief still has the final say, but it's fairer because more people have input into it," one department member said. Kramer was also more willing than Munger to give some officers a second chance. While he would not tolerate corruption, drug use, lying, or physically abusing citizens, Kramer was willing to take risks in other cases, allowing some officers to serve suspensions rather than lose their jobs. Kramer also implemented a mediation process for some lower-level discourtesy cases which were not substantiated. Many of these cases are frustrating to both parties, Kramer believed, because the `not sustained' finding often meant that the Internal Affairs personnel could neither prove nor disprove the charge. Under the mediation process, officers and citizens were offered the chance to meet with a supervisor and discuss the situation. If it could be resolved satisfactorily the incident would be removed from an officers file. "The department comes away a winner because we've installed a little better PR in a citizen and that citizen's going to talk to ten or fifteen other citizens... And it avoids the officer having in his personnel file a not sustained complaint for discourtesy to a citizen, which could be interpreted a whole lot of ways latter in his career," Kramer said.
Kramer also changed the department's Supervisory Discussion Form. This form would be filled out whenever a supervisor discussed a minor policy violation with an officer. Yet, it was never removed from an officer's file even if the behavior wasn't repeated. "If in fact the purpose of discipline is to correct some behavior... and we are talking about a minor incident and the counseling is intended to be corrective... why does the officer have to live with that [form] and face it every single time they go for promotion or go before a board?," Kramer asked. Kramer instructed that the forms would be removed from an officer's file if, six months after the initial incident occurred, the behavior had not been repeated. Overall, Kramer's handling of discipline won him support from many in the organization. "The biggest thing I can hand to him has been [his handling of discipline]," one department member said. "There have been some cases around here where... Munger would have said, `you did wrong and you're gone.' Kramer has taken the same approach except he's saying, `okay you did wrong, but instead of firing you I'm going to [suspend] you for some serious time'... Now the [officer] has managed to keep his job without going under financially and eating his gun."
While Kramer was building organizational support, he simultaneously held a series of long open-ended meetings with Deputy Chief McElderry. Kramer wanted to determine how McElderry was handling the fact that he had not been chosen for the Chief's position. "Pat had been a competitor, and part of the discussions was [finding out how he felt] about not being selected... [and] letting him know that he was still a valued, critical member of my management team," Kramer said. McElderry pledged his support for Kramer, and their meetings increasingly centered on how the department could better operationalize community policing.
While Kramer and McElderry were philosophically supportive of community policing as an overall strategy, they felt that a better tactical implementation model was required. "[As a department] we had plateaued with community policing, to move on we needed to have a more definable, trainable, and articulatable strategy," McElderry said. "Community policing is a good philosophy, but what are the actual activities and tactics which will [realize its goals]?" Both men supported the SARA approach, based on Herman Goldstein's problem-solving model which argued that many seemingly unrelated calls for service are in fact connected by an underlying problem and that police should spend their time `fixing' this problem through a process of scanning, analysis, response, and assessment rather than simply responding to calls for service. "We had a lot of good isolated problem-solving cases, and we had some effective community partnerships, but it was not our abiding philosophy," McElderry said. "It was not the environment in our department that virtually all of our officers were trained, directed, equipped and capable of assessing any situation they came into to see if a problem-solving solution existed."
Beyond their discussions, a specific incident occurred in Colorado Springs that crystallized in their minds the potential power of the problem-solving approach. During 1991, patrol officers from the Sand Creek Division responded to a disturbance at a bar during which a young soldier from nearby Fort Carson shot and killed another soldier. The gravity of the crime caused the Sand Creek division to examine the bar's call-for-service history. "We went back and found that we had responded approximately 90 times in the previous three months, mostly on disturbance related calls," McElderry said. "The [cops who responded] did an effective job of dealing with a particular call... but nobody had really taken off and done something to change the environment there." In response to the shooting, the department contacted the state liquor board and both agencies met with the bar's owner and made him aware that he could lose his liquor license if he didn't do a better job of screening customers and improving the lighting. Commanders at Fort Carson were also contacted and agreed to place the bar off-limits to their soldiers. "So a whole variety of things were applied in about a two week period of time and the calls for service dried up," McElderry said. "Then we said, `wait a minute these kind of strategies are certainly capable of being applied in other places."
The combination of their philosophical orientations, as well as the previously described situation at the bar, led Kramer and McElderry to develop a new goal for the department: "Expanding beyond what we say [community policing] means, but really living it, making it a part of the fiber of who we are, and accomplishing that through this technology of problem-solving," Kramer said. While problem-solving was the technology, Kramer and McElderry agreed that they didn't want problem-solving to be something that only special units did. Rather, it would be the overall tactic of the entire department. Moreover while they wanted to borrow ideas from scholars such as Goldstein, and the experiences of other departments which they had visited or read about, they wanted to tailor a model to fit Colorado Springs. "We decided that the agenda to follow needed to be tailor-made for this department and its people. [We didn't want to take] the cookie cutter approach and say, `This is what the book says it ought to look like so let's do it,'" Kramer said.
In keeping with this idea of tailoring a program for the department, Kramer and McElderry saw organizational problem-solving as a logical extension of what the department had already accomplished, rather than a break with the past. "Pat and I had several long conversations about not wanting to portray the change to the organization as, `we haven't been doing things right for a long time so now we're going to change them and do them the right way,'" Kramer said. "[Instead] we wanted to capitalize on the skills and the talents and the investment people already had in the organization. That capitalizing had to entail letting them know they do have the skills, that they have been doing an outstanding job. We were just going to leverage that and try to grow more efficient in how we interacted with the community." Finally, as Kramer explained, they knew that department members would need new training if they were to effectively problem solve.
Before we could expect officers, particularly patrol officers, to make sound decisions on problem-solving we had to give them good data and good information [about how] to make good decisions. So identifying first of all what is a problem and the [different] kinds of problems. [Then] distinguishing problems and problem-solving from directed patrol... We [have always trained] them to be problem solvers, but in a different way. We train them to be decisive and if there's an issue in the community, whether it's an intersection that's having traffic accident problems or it's a robbery problem, whatever the case may be, we train them and expect them to be decisive and deal with the problem. But that's not problem-solving in the context of building relationships and ownership in the neighborhood.
Having established a clear goal - make problem-oriented policing an operational tactic for the entire department - Kramer sent McElderry to the second annual Problem-solving Policing Conference in San Diego and tasked him with developing an implementation plan.
Rather than expand problem-oriented policing to the entire department at once, McElderry decided that an initial pilot experiment would allow the CSPD to develop and test tactical models and a new training curriculum. McElderry choose the Sand Creek Division to serve as the test site for the new program. With the highest call-for service volume in the city, Sand Creek was a bold choice. However, McElderry and the command staff decided that the best test for the pilot program would be to place it in the most challenging environment. "There would be no point in trying to test a program in some sort of cream-puff environment. The Sand Creek division covers the toughest part of town. If we can make it work here, it will work anywhere else in the city," explained Capt. Robert Ownbey, who commanded the Sand Creek division.1 The presence of Capt. Ownbey who was well-respected within the department as an innovative and determined administrator, was another reason McElderry choose Sand Creek as the pilot site.
Sand Creek, which covers approximately 1/3 of the city, contains numerous housing developments in virtually all income ranges, including the largest concentration of apartment complexes in the city. Shopping centers, including the region's largest shopping mall, sit on Academy Boulevard, the division's central thoroughfare. Moving away from Academy Boulevard, Sand Creek was populated with low-to-middle income families many of whom were military retirees.
Before implementing the new program, McElderry knew that the Sand Creek personnel would have to receive new training about problem-solving. Initially, in the spring of 1993, personnel from the San Diego Police Department were hired on a contract basis to provide eight hours of training to the Sand Creek personnel about problem-solving (they also provided an additional four hours of training to all supervisory personnel.) This training explained the importance of routinely implementing problem-solving techniques to prevent the development of crime problems, rather than waiting for a crime problem to develop. However, the training was fairly generic, and not tailored to the specific problems in Colorado Springs. Nor did it require the officers to engage in practice problem-solving exercises. With these thoughts in mind, McElderry gave Capt, then Lt, Dave Felice the task of developing a more comprehensive problem-solving curriculum.
Felice, who previously served as an instructor in the department's training academy, had been sent to the third problem-solving conference with Capt. Robert Ownbey where he had gathered a great deal of relevant literature. Using this information as a starting point, Felice read widely in the field. Felice was determined to develop a curriculum that was both theoretically grounded and oriented to the specific problems in Colorado Springs. "I took a look at what was going on here locally, the demographics of the city, the needs here, and the resources we had available," Felice said. Felice then worked with other department members to identify several real problems, such as a problem bar, which could be incorporated into the curriculum that he developed and implemented with the Sand Creek personnel during a 16 hour block in the winter of 1993. On the first day Felice taught the theory behind problem-oriented policing. During the second day, Felice gave the personnel 3-5 of the real problems that the department identified and asked them to solve it.
I wrote up a problem description and I said here are the facts as we know them. We've got this bar located at this address. These are the nature and number of calls for service over the last six months, and over the course of the last year. Management is, or is not, cooperative. [I would also provide] some demographic information [about the location.] [Then] I said you are tasked with reducing the calls for service, or reducing the harm caused by the number of calls for service at this location. [Now] come up with some strategies. So they would discuss what they could do. They analyzed the nature of the calls for service. Are there thefts from the parking lot? Are there disturbances inside the bar? Are they serving intoxicated patrons? It turns out it wasn't one thing, it was a variety of things, so they consequently designed a variety of strategies. These strategies included getting the liquor board involved and some more undercover liquor enforcement. They dealt with working with management on lighting and the channeling of cars through the parking lot. They dealt with training [the bar owners] on spotting fake IDs. After they came up with all of these suggestions, we tasked them with implementing [the solutions] when they left the training.
Although Felice was training the officers to analyze calls for service at specific locations, Felice and Ownbey quickly realized that the department's current crime analysis capacities were unable to easily produce this information. "We wanted [but were not yet able] to say [about a specific location], if we really do have a problem how many calls for service did we receive and in what time frame," Felice explained. "Our goal was to get to the point where I could say, `tell me all of the addresses in the city were we have responded five or more times for weapons complaints. Or, where we have responded seven or more times for burglary complaints.'" Once locations which met certain threshold requirements were identified, they could become targets of problem-solving strategies.
As part of Munger's decentralization of the department the crime analysis unit was broken up and each division was assigned its own crime analyst. However, the analysts conducted trend analysis of specific crimes, by reading all of the officer's hand-written reports to analyze the rapes, robberies, and burglaries. In-depth research about specific locations was possible through the department's Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD), which documented the time, location, type, disposition, and duration of calls for service. Unfortunately, querying the CAD system was a cumbersome and time consuming process, and the system wasn't designed to perform sophisticated data analysis.
With Felice's goals in mind, the department purchased a desk-top computer and a DOS based relational database, PARADOX, which could sort, group and analyze calls for service. Master Patrol Officer Don Chagnon then designed a program which allowed the CAD information to be automatically downloaded into the database files where it could then be analyzed. Unfortunately, this initial PARADOX program, which was not windows based, was difficult to use and some officers were unable to access the information, often having to rely on crime analysts to procure the data. However, by the end of 1992, the Sand Creek Division was able to conduct the type of trend-analysis required for effective problem-solving. (The department later upgraded to a windows based program, Microsoft Access, which allowed officers to sort the CAD information by address, disposition, times, UCR type and narrative information.) In addition to the increased analysis capacities, the department developed a form for officers to use when they conducted problem-solving projects. These written logs, in which officers were required to identify a problem location, analyze the underlying causes of the problem, describe their response, and evaluate its success, would be used by the department to help evaluate the success of the pilot study.
In order to further systematize and reinforce the problem-solving strategy, McElderry and his staff also designed a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for community and problem-oriented policing. This SOP defined the philosophy and goals of problem-solving, and provided specific procedures and tactics for patrol officers to follow when conducting this work. The SOP repeatedly reinforced the idea that problem-oriented policing involved partnerships with community members and other agencies. "Members must... adopt an attitude that police services are not something which they deliver to the community from the outside, but rather are something which arise from within the community in response to specific needs," the SOP declared. "Officers must be open to two way communication with members of the public... such an information exchange is essential if Department members are to develop problem-solving strategies in partnership with the community." With this idea in mind, officers were encouraged to implement several different tactics to develop this type of community relationship. These included:
· Follow-up investigations which involved contacting members of the public to identify information about specific incidents and to identify general problems and conditions in the neighborhood.
· Park, Walk, and Talk: Officers were further encouraged to utilize this previously described tactic.
· Neighborhood Surveys: The department designed a survey instrument which could be distributed to residents which would capture their concerns about specific neighborhood based problems.
· Contacting other agencies: Officers were encouraged to see themselves as "service brokers" for the public. In this role they were directed to contact other service agencies whose assistance might help solve a problem.
Beyond the work of individual officers, supervisors were pushed to take on new responsibilities. According to the SOP, the purpose of managers and supervisors in a problem-oriented model was to:
[S]upport this process through training, coaching, and coordinating efforts. Additionally supervisors and managers must emphasize results over process (i.e. solving a problem as opposed to merely performing a certain number of various tasks). This emphasis must be reflected in both formal and informal evaluations of work performance.
Managers were given the authority to assign officers to a neighborhood on a long-term basis and allow officers to take themselves off the radio for periods during their shift so they could work on problem-solving activities.
Having made numerous administrative changes - new training, a new data-base, new forms, and new SOPs - the pilot program was initiated in June, 1992. Three types of projects began:
· those developed by individual officers;
· categorical projects, identified by McElderry and Ownbey, in which specific types of crimes were targeted; and
· geographical projects, also identified by McElderry and Ownbey, in which all problems within a specific area were addressed.
An example of an officer initiated project was Officer Todd Drennan's effort to reduce automobile break-ins during the late night shift. Drennan observed that certain neighborhoods were reporting numerous calls regarding automobile break-ins. Discussions with sector counterparts on the other two shifts revealed similar patterns. Thinking that this might be the work of a repeat offender, Drennan reviewed all of the case reports since the pattern began. He then met with neighborhood residents to discuss the incidents, gave them information to make their vehicles safer and taught them how to identify and report suspicious persons or vehicles in the area. Residents quickly began providing the officers with better information, suspects were identified and arrested and the patterns ceased.2
While McElderry and Ownbey identified four different types of categorical projects - domestic violence, gun interdiction, liquor enforcement, and false alarms - for the purpose of example, this case will discuss the false alarm program. (In a subsequent section, the case will also describe many of the departments efforts in the area of domestic violence.) For each of the categorical and geographic projects, a team of officers and a sergeant were assigned to a problem-solving committee tasked with developing a problem-oriented response designed to reduce calls for service.
One of the most consistent complaints of officers and supervisors was that they were spending inordinate amounts of time responding to false alarms in private businesses and homes. Under the department's existing directives, alarms were coded as a Priority 1 call for service which resulted in routine two officer responses. Using the division's new data analysis system, officers determined that a large number of these calls were coming from the same locations on a routine and predictable basis. Officers then compiled detailed location profiles which included time-of-day, day-of-week, and month-of-year information, along with officer hours expended, the number of "good" alarm calls, average time per call, and number of officers per response. Using this location profile as the basis for discussion, the officers then contacted the owners of the locations which had the most false-alarms to discuss the problem. Officers provided the owners with educational materials to help reduce the number of false alarms. These contacts reduced the number of false alarms from the targeted locations by 44% during the subsequent month.
The officers also determined that between 6:00am and 6:00pm, 99.7% of the alarms were false. This finding led to a recommendation, subsequently adopted in 1994, that between dawn and dusk only one officer would be dispatched to an alarm call. With the average alarm call taking 20 minutes, this recommendation had the capacity to save 250 officer days during a one-year time period.3
In addition to the four categorical projects, McElderry also assigned problem-solving committees to address three specific geographic neighborhoods - Deerfield Hills, Eastborough, and Mazatlan - which each generated high call-for-service volume. For the purpose of example, this case will describe the Mazatlan project.
Mazatlan Circle, located in Southeast Colorado Springs, is a horseshoe shaped street with approximately 30 lower-income four-unit apartment buildings. According to Jerry Lucas a landlord of one of the apartment buildings, during the late 1980s and early 1990s a depressed real estate market caused the neighborhood to decline. "Because of the depressed market and the high vacancy rates, some landlords became less careful about who they rented to because they just wanted to fill up the vacancies to make their mortgage payments," Lucas said. "[Additionally] most of the owners had no formal training in property management or crime prevention. They didn't know what they were doing and that leads to problems in the long-run. As [some owners] lowered their screening criteria, a criminal element began moving in and we started having problems with drugs, gangs, nuisances and rowdy types of behavior." Lucas and several other property owners, who were also concerned about the declining state of their neighborhood, formed a neighborhood owner's association which began holding regular meetings. As part of the new association, Lucas volunteered to serve as a liaison to the police department. In this new role, Lucas began talking with Sand Creek's Crime Prevention Officer, Wyatt McBride, about designing target-hardening strategies for the area.
Around the same time the Sand Creek Division identified the neighborhood as a site for one of its problem-oriented policing projects. "Captain Ownbey tasked me with reducing calls for service in the neighborhood," explained Sgt. Fletcher Howard, who was chosen to lead a team of two officers who would work in the neighborhood. Howard and his officers first used the division's new computer system to target exactly where the calls-for-service were coming from. The team simultaneously worked with the local utilities agency and real estate brokers to identifying the property owners of these problem locations. This process confirmed for Howard what Jerry Lucas already knew: poor property management was causing some of the neighborhood's problems. "We did utilities listings, we did record checks through real estate offices, and we found that half of [the properties] were owned by absentee, out-of-state owners," Howard said. "A lot of them just used the property for tax write-offs... As long as their units were filled they couldn't care less what happened to them." The officers also conducted a neighborhood survey to determine what the neighborhood's perceptions of the problems were. All of this work led to the creation of neighborhood maps which listed all of the calls-for-service and the owner's name next to each property. After completing the research, it became clear to Howard that he needed to employ a two-pronged strategy: target the individual problem areas with directed enforcement activities, while at the same time working with property owners to evict problem tenants.
As part of the directed enforcement approach, Howard stationed officers outside one location where crack cocaine was being dealt. "There were three apartment buildings that were crack houses. We stationed our vehicles right in front of the building so when the buyers were coming to buy their dope, they saw the cop car sitting there and they just walked away," Howard said. Officers also knocked on doors of problem apartments. "[In one case] we went directly to the tenants and showed them [the records of all of the calls to the police]. We said, `why are you guys always calling the police? What is going on here?' That enabled us to [mediate] the problem between these two people who just didn't like each other," Howard said.
The second part of Howard's strategy was to work with landlords and evict problem tenants. Some of the owners were eager to work with the officers. In these cases, the officers educated the owners about eviction proceedings, properly screening tenants and developing effective tenant applications. "I was in contact with Jerry Lucas once a week, and once a month they would have an association meeting. The owners who were interested would come and we would give them updates about where we were in our progress," Howard said. "We would also give them call for service information and we told them right up-front, `we do not want to embarrass anybody but when we give you this data, your address may be on here.' A lot of them said, `that's fine. At least we'll know where our problems are and then we can address them."
In other cases, where owners of problem apartments were not initially cooperative, Howard and his officers developed a different tactic, which involved making these owners aware of a local ordinance under which property could be seized from unresponsive owners who allowed their property to become a nuisance. "Once they knew that ordinance was on the books we got their full, undivided attention. One guy was not aware of any problems because he did not have an on-site manager. All he would do is collect the rent and fill the vacancies... Once he found out what was happening, he evicted the person right away and that effectively reduced our calls for service by 50% right there," Howard said. In another case, Howard discovered that two buildings, which were the site of crack houses, were in foreclosure. "We had to wait for the foreclosure process to take place and once it did, we got a hold of the new owners right away and said this is your problem. We understand that you are the new owner, but you need to fix this problem," Howard said. "[The new owners] went in and did an assessment on the property and discovered that two of the four units did not have the utilities turned on. They were getting roaches, and one of the apartments had holes throughout the unit. [The owners] then evicted everybody except for one good tenant."
With an increased police presence in the neighborhood, many of the residents became more comfortable with the officers and began sharing information with them. "[The police] are people that most good citizens haven't had to deal with, but here they were accessible so the [residents] could go and talk to the cops and build up a sense of security... If there was a problem you could tell an officer about it and they would do something about it. Their focus was on solving problems," Lucas said. Howard found that his personnel were developing new relationships with the residents. "They got to know us by our names and they got to know us so well that they would call the department and say, `I need to talk to Sgt. Howard or Officer Rosenoff," Howard said. "If there was going to be a drug situation going down or some bad actors were coming into the neighborhood they would call and tell us."
As part of the homeowner's association's efforts to improve the community, in the spring of 1993 Lucas worked with a local organization, "The Partnership for Community Design," and raised more than $4,000 from neighborhood landlords to purchase trees for a neighborhood `Green Springs' project. "We just thought it would look nicer if we planted some trees and shrubs," Lucas said. When it was time to plant the trees, not only did residents volunteer to help with the planting, but Capt. Ownbey and some of the officers from the team came for the event. According to Lucas, the police presence made an impact on the residents. "It was cold and rainy, and it [sent a message that the police] really cared about the community. They were here to try and make the community better," Lucas said. Not only did the project engender greater support among many community members, but calls for service were reduced by almost 17% January-May 1992 and 1993.
Like many new programs, problem-oriented policing was not embraced by every department member. Some of the older officers were not receptive to it, thinking that it would just disappear. "[Some guys thought] its another passing phase we are going through... so a lot of guys were kind of like, yeah this will go away," one department member said. The same feeling was there with some of the older managers. "It was really hard to get the older sergeants to buy into it and if you don't have the sergeant buy into it he sure isn't going to get his officers to buy into it because he isn't going to encourage any of this. He isn't going to pass along anything positive at all. He's just going to have that attitude of, `answer your call and you'll be fine," the department member said.
However, as 1992 came to a close, McElderry wanted a more formal evaluation of the pilot program. If the program was successful, he would recommend to Chief Kramer that it be replicated throughout the patrol bureau. McElderry assigned Felice the task of auditing the program. This audit consisted of reviewing all known policies and procedures related to Problem-oriented Policing projects. Felice also conducted an on-site inspection of the Sand Creek Division's problem-solving activities and logs. According to the department, Felice discovered that as of December 31, 1992:
· There were 34 separate entries logged as problem-oriented policing projects. These did not include the use of problem-solving skills by officers during routine calls for service.
· Of the 34 projects, five remained open and 29 had been closed.
· Of the 29 closed projects, the average time it took to solve or reduce the problem was 27.6 days.
· Of the 16 projects that were closed because the problem was eliminated, seven were solved through the arrest of the violator; four were eliminated through graffiti removal; three problems were referred to other agencies; and in two cases the resolution had not required action by CSPD employees.
· Six projects were closed as `unfounded,' as the initiating problem could not be substantiated.
· Five projects resulted in a reduction in the harm caused by situations producing calls for service at the target location.
· Four projects led to a reduction in the number of calls for service at the target location.
· Two projects experienced no change in the identified problem.
· One project was incorporated into another project so it could be dealt with in a more comprehensive manner.
· Of the five projects that remained open: two projects showed no change in the problem's status; two projects experienced a reduction in the nature and harm caused by the problem and additional strategies were being planned; one project experienced a reduction in the number of calls for service and was still being monitored while alternative strategies were being tried.
Felice's review, which revealed that in the majority of cases either the problem was solved or reduced, combined with McElderry's general support of the program, convinced McElderry that the program should be replicated throughout the department. "[In general] there was a feeling that this was the best way to do it, and everything we did in the pilot program was so positive that we did not see anything that would change the idea. So I suggested to the Chief that it was time to go bureau wide. [And] we had an understanding from our [previous] discussions that we would do this unless something pointed us not to," McElderry said.
Before taking the program department-wide, Kramer and the command staff agreed that some additional changes needed to be made. "During the pilot program we talked about empowerment a lot. We realized that our style of supervision had to change, we had to turn our cops loose a little bit more because we saw tremendous power in their creativity. They were coming up with ideas that we did not think of in training," McElderry said. Kramer was thinking about similar issues when, during interviews with eight different lieutenant candidates he asked them each to define empowerment. "I got eight different answers. As I started thinking about that, and how much we were talking about the importance of empowering people and letting them make decisions as part of problem-solving, the more I started thinking [that we needed to define] what empowerment meant," Kramer said. Soon after, Kramer found himself on a plane returning from a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) conference. "I tell the staff here kiddingly that they hate for me to go anywhere on a trip because I usually use the time on the plane to come up with things that I bring back to the staff," Kramer said. "So I started playing around on a napkin with [different ideas] about what empowerment should mean and I came up with a list of eight different things." When he returned from the trip Kramer gave the napkin to his secretary and asked her to prepare a bulleted list for the next staff meeting. During the meeting Kramer explained his purpose behind the list:
I said, `I'm sure if we went around this room and we asked everyone to define empowerment we would get as many different definitions as there are people here. So we need to define what empowerment means so that there's some mutual understanding. There still may be some individual differences, but organizationally we need to let our people know what we mean by empowerment, what kind of latitude and authority they have, and what kind of expectations we have.
Kramer then tasked the staff to work with officers and civilians to create a department-wide definition of empowerment. The eventual definition was placed on laminated cards which was distributed to every member of the organization. Each Empowerment Card read:
CSPD EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT
Is it ethical?
Is it legal?
Is it the right thing for the community?
Is it the right thing for the CSPD?
Is it within our policies and values?
Is it something you can take responsibility for and be proud of?
If the answer to these questions is YES - then don't ask permission - JUST DO IT!
The empowerment cards were handed out to personnel during an in-service training session which Kramer addressed. "I stood in front of the group and held that card up and told them, `this is what we mean by empowerment and we're really serious about giving you the latitude to make decisions. If you make a mistake nobody's going to cut your head off," Kramer said. Kramer recognized that there was some risk in openly increasing officer discretion, but he felt it was the only way to achieve the results he sought.
There's no way the problem-oriented approach is going to work if officers have to check out everything they do with their supervisors. We have to free them up to use their heads, and that means we have to trust them. I don't doubt that we will have some screw-ups now and then. That will happen in any organization... [But] any law-enforcement agency, if it's going to be effective, will have to be a risk taking organization. You minimize your risks, of course, with thorough training, meaningful directives, and good supervision. But, if we, the leadership of this agency, condemn ourselves to always be running scared, the program will never be anything but a name. And I'm not going to let that happen.4
According to Borland, Kramer's previous work at establishing trust within the department gave the card credibility among personnel. "Kramer was a cop's cop, and guys slowly understood that, `hey if I go off here and try something, and it doesn't work, I'm going to be held accountable, but it doesn't mean the end of my career," Borland said. "Clearly without a leader with the kind of personality traits that Kramer has we could not have done community policing, because the officers at the line level have to feel that their boss is going to back them." For some personnel, simply having the chief put this idea in writing was important. "It's probably a good idea to put this in writing, because most cops don't believe anything that they hear, unless its some off-the-wall rumor," one department member said.5 Others respected the fact that the chief was giving them more trust. "I looked at it as a level of trust... As a shift commanders I feel that I have a lot of leeway to initiate temporary duty and special projects on my shift," Lt. Richard Resling said. "Yes I still have reporting responsibilities to my captain, but the captain has sat down and said each one of you lieutenants can run your shift. I can put two or three officer teams out in an unmarked car, I can put two guys on foot downtown." Officer John Ressler, who joined the department two years after Kramer first handed out the cards, was very excited to receive his card during training. "I thought, `OK, now here is a department that is going to trust officers to do the job. They are not going to sit there and micro-manage," Ressler said. Not everyone, however, was supportive of these new cards. Some supervisors were unsure of their new role in an `empowered' department. "I thought the empowerment card was a really gutsy thing for [Kramer] to do... It's a good deal," one department member said. "But still, more so than anything, supervisory permission dictates what officers do and when they do it."
With the empowerment cards in place, Kramer expanded the program department-wide in the spring of 1993. While there were countless other examples of problem-solving, similar to those which were previously described, the remainder of this section will describe other ways in which Kramer changed the department's structures and policies to support the shift to problem-oriented policing. These include:
· changes within the department's traffic unit;
· alterations of the department's entrance exam and promotional tests;
· the pursuit of outside grants; and
· the expansion of relationships with community members and partnerships with outside agencies.
Not only were patrol officers empowered to use these problem-solving skills, but the philosophy was extended to other parts of the department including the traffic division which had been established, along with a K-9 unit, by Munger. Lt. Steve Liebowitz commanded the unit of approximately 60 officers which conducted standard traffic-oriented enforcement activities. Working with McElderry, Liebowitz recognized that the unit was not configured to readily address citizen concerns or conduct problem-oriented projects. "In years prior, the phone would ring and citizens would say, `there are speeders on my street, its unsafe,' or `there's a stop sign that's covered by a tree limb.' We would say, `ok we'll get to it as soon as we can.' But there was really no mechanism in place to address those citizen issues and concerns," Liebowitz said. In order to work more closely with the community, the unit's ten motorcycle officers were placed in a special Neighborhood Traffic Unit (NTU) and tasked with working on problem-oriented projects. At the same time, traffic specific citizen surveys were developed and a database was created to help analyze the survey information. NTU personnel distributed the surveys and collected information about citizen complaints, which were entered into the new database along with the complaints of citizens who contacted the department directly. Using this information, the NTU was dispatched to handle problem areas. Not only would the officers locate themselves in specific neighborhoods, but they made sure to let the neighbors know why they were there. "They would go door to door and contact the people and say, `look, we've received complaints about speeders in this area, and we just want you to know we're going to be here working on enforcement. We would like to take this opportunity to see if there is any other traffic related issues that are concerning you," Lt. Liebowitz explained. "It was a great opportunity for the citizens to develop a relationship with an officer in a non-confrontational, non-aggressive atmosphere." Not only were these relationships developed, but officers were able to target their efforts at some of the `quality-of-life' traffic related complaints that may not have been previously addressed. "We would, for example, find out about the kid up the street who would start his motorcycle early every morning and rev it up and peel off," Liebowitz said. "The officers would contact the kid and give him a ticket or would contact him at home and say, `look its been brought to our attention that you've got a very loud muffler on your motorcycle. You might want to take care of it because its bothering your neighbors and you're going to end up with a traffic ticket." Officers were also encouraged to contact other city agencies, such as the traffic engineering department, so that traffic signs could be placed in needed locations.
Changing the entry level and promotion tests was another tool that the department used to support its problem-oriented philosophy. The City of Colorado Springs' civil service commission, a five-member body appointed by the City Council, must approve any changes in such tests, however, they have been willing to let the department develop and alter its testing material. "They have wanted to make sure that what we are doing is appropriate, but they have been supportive of the changes we have made, because they can see the advantage of doing them, and we have gone in with good explanations," explained Joan Vermaire, the department's Human Resources Director. The tests themselves are developed with an outside consultant who works closely with Vermaire. Given the department's emphasis on community policing, the tests were altered to place a greater weight on verbal comprehension and verbal expression. "We want to make sure that people have some original ideas and they have some fluency of expression," Vermaire said. The entry test always had an oral portion, but in recent years questions were added to evaluate a candidate's reasoning skills which would test the ability to problem-solve. The weight of the oral exam was also increased and it now counts for 50% of the total test score. During the oral test, officer candidates are asked to `solve' a hypothetical problem, such scenarios could include a graffiti filled neighborhood or an ongoing disturbance caused by teenagers `hanging out.' At the same time, promotion tests were altered to account for the new emphasis on problem-solving. Supervisor candidates are asked to participate in a role-playing examination in which they are presented with a `personnel' problem such as officer discipline. In addition, a community oriented problem has been added and the candidate must describe how he/she would solve the problem in front of a evaluation team which includes community representatives.
While the city spent a great deal of money to improve the department's facilities and equipment, the switch to problem-oriented policing was not accompanied by a significant percentage increase in the department's day-today operating budget. Throughout this period the department received approximately 30% of the city's total budget. Given that the CSPD's budgets remained fairly stable, both Kramer and Munger sought to bring additional money into the department though grants. (Since 1986 the department has been awarded more than $9 million in outside grants.) For Kramer, outside grants served several purposes. "The grants can leverage money which allow us to accomplish some things that we wouldn't otherwise be able to do," Kramer said. "[It also] brings back into the community some of the tax money that has been sent out and it gives us an opportunity to market good ideas and programs... throughout the rest of the county." Much of the actual grant writing responsibility was given to the department's planning unit. (In 1997, Kramer hired a full-time grant-writer.) Like many departments, the CSPD applied for, and received several different grants, under the 1994 federal crime bill. These grants have helped the department further operationalize its problem-oriented policing program in several different ways.
As the city has grown both in population and size, the department realized in 1995 that its resources were being increasingly stretched. However, the likelihood of a large increase in personnel seemed unlikely. More effective deployment of the existing personnel was seen as the answer to this problem. The department applied for and received a $260,000 COPS MORE grant from the federal government to purchase a new computer manpower allocation program to more accurately track and forecast deployment needs.
After examining several different programs, the department settled on the Police Resource Optimization System (PROS). During 1996, after the new system analyzed patrol demand, it became clear that establishing multiple start times for each shift would be the best way to meet demand needs. It was also apparent that each division had different peak periods, so that the shift start times were varied by division. For example, officers on day shift now start their tours at the following times: Falcon Division reports at 5am and 6am, Gold Hill at 6am and 8am, and Sand Creek begins at 6am and 9am. The second shift has three separate start times and the final shift has two separate start times. "Each division has different needs at that time and PROS has been able to identify those needs for us." Deputy Chief of Patrol Daniel Shull explained.
PROS also took into account that officers needed larger blocks of time to effectively conduct problem oriented policing projects. As a result, officer shifts were changed to four, ten-hour shifts per week. Officers were supportive of this switch because it gave them an extra day off per week and department managers were pleased that the new deployment formula projected that officers would have 30% of their time to conduct problem-solving projects. The combination of the officers new hours, and the multiple shift starts, was also projected to reduce the time between when a priority one call was received by the dispatchers and when an officer was free to take the call. (Since PROS's implementation, this time has been reduced from 3.5 minutes to 2.5 minutes.)
Officers were enthusiastic about the switch from several perspectives. "For morale and scheduling this has made things so much better. It's four extra days off per month." Officer Larry Morgan said. Officers also appreciate that they have more back-up during peak periods and it gives them time to finish paperwork from the shift. "I like it a lot better because it puts more people on the street especially during the peak times," Officer Ressler said. "Plus it seems like you can take the time to finish you're paperwork. When I was on eight hour shifts, my shift was from 2-10 and I was constantly here until 11 or 11:15 just trying to catch up on my reports because we were running from call to call. On the 10 hour shift I go from 3-1, and by 11:30 there are enough [officers from the next shift] out there were we can send them out as the primary coverage on the calls and we can catch up on our paperwork." Officer Sheldon Schnese finds that having overlapping shifts has meant that he has more time to work on problem-solving projects. "When the shifts are changing, if you have a problem you can come into the substation and work on it, and you are not hurting other officers who are on the street by being off the street," Schnese said.
Under another COPS MORE grant the department was able to significantly upgrade the technology in patrol cars, by purchasing portable computers and cell-phones. The laptops computers, placed in the patrol cars, are linked to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation as well as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). A windows based system, the lap-top computers are easy to learn, and requires that officers point and click a mouse to check if suspects have outstanding state or federal warrants; perform checks of driver's licenses and motor vehicle registration information; run serial numbers of potentially stolen property; or check road conditions. While this information was previously available if officers radioed dispatchers, the very act of radioing for the information took up valuable radio space, which sometimes discouraged officers from making the checks in the first place. "It's very nice not having to go through dispatch, because this is a lot quicker. It frees up air time for other officers if they have something big going down," Officer Ressler explained. "You are not tying up one of the radio channels trying to run somebody, while another officer has a foot pursuit or something like that."
The department also used MORE funds to purchase cellular phones for each of the patrol cars. "We send out police officers into the field. They are fairly expensive people to employ. Yet we send them out into their office, which is the patrol car, without a telephone," explained Capt. Robert Kean, commander of the Information Services Unit. "Rather than making a phone call, officers had to drive to see somebody, because they [weren't equipped with] a phone. It was stupid. You wouldn't ask any other professional to physically go see a person in order to get some little piece of information, but that's what we had cops do." According to Ressler, having the phones in the cars has changed how officers conduct this follow-up work.
A lot of times, before the cell phones were put in, if we had to do some follow-up over the phone, we had to go to the sub-station to use a phone. You may receive a call on a harassment or an assault complaint and the suspect might not be there. You go, you get the information [from the complainant] but you want to talk to the [suspect] before you go ahead and take the signed complaint. Instead of having to go all the way back to the police station or a fire station or someplace that has a phone and call this person, you can go out to your car, get on the cell phone, call this person, get his side of the story, and make the determination then whether a crime has been committed. You've done all this while you are out on the street... you finish the call a lot faster and you are now free to handle another call that comes up.
Not only were the phones placed in the cars, but the phone number was painted on the back of each car so that citizens could phone officers directly. According to Ressler, this can ensure a faster officer response. "I've had people call up and tell me, `I was driving along and I saw a traffic accident.' If something goes down right away and they just saw the cop go by, they can look at the back of the car and see the phone number. They call us directly and they don't have to go through communications and it does not have to get dispatched," Ressler said.
While the department's ability to acquire outside funding has generally been supported by City Hall, in one case it caused some controversy. In 1995 the department was awarded a Universal Hiring Grant by the federal government to hire 12 new officers. These officers would have allowed the department to expand its NPU units. Initially, however, the City Council would not approve the hires, with some members arguing that the program amounted to a federal take-over of local law-enforcement. "It was a political issue with [the last Mayor and a City Council Member]. They were both pretty conservative Republicans and they did not want to support Clinton's Crime Bill," Munger said. "There were some strings attached to the money because the officers had to be committed to community policing and those two talked about wanting the officers to do other things. But that wasn't really the issue. It was political." While the department did not fight the decision, many constituents were upset that the department was turning down the money. When the measure was reintroduced during 1996, it was approved by the Council and the new officers were hired in 1997. They will allow the department to assign additional experienced officers to the NPU unit.
As part of the switch to a community/problem-solving approach, the department took several steps to strengthen its relationships with Colorado Springs citizens and other agencies. While there had been block-watch groups for many years in Colorado Springs, Kramer instituted Citizen Advisory Committees in the three substations. Each of these committees is made up of a cross-section of residents, school officials, and business owners from throughout the sub-station's boundaries who are chosen by the department. "We talk about ways that we can help the department and things that we feel the department can do to help the community," explained Pat Jackson, who serves on two Citizens Advisory Committees. Committee members meet with division captains, crime prevention officers, and other department members. Initially the meetings tended to involve a one-way flow of information, with the department providing the community members with updates on such issues as local crime patterns. Recently, this has started to change. "We changed in Gold Hill and for the first time we allowed the citizens to elect a board of officers. It's something they wanted to do...We still provide them with information... but other than that, they set the agenda now," Capt. Ownby explained. "During the last quarter they brought me a lot of issues that I'm still answering... So far it's working pretty well."
Another important initiative to increase information sharing came from resident Pat Jackson who offered to help start a quarterly newsletter about the department. "I came to a neighborhood watch in the Gold Hill Division four years ago and the crime prevention officer and a sergeant were talking about starting some kind of publication for the department," Jackson recalled. "They really didn't know how to do it. So I went up to them afterwards and said, 'I've got experience publishing. I did an officer's wives publication for a good many years [when my husband served as an army chaplain.]" The department took Jackson up on her offer and she became the editor of "Crime Times," a newsletter which includes articles written by department members and citizens. These informational articles include profiles of department personnel, program descriptions, and analysis of recurrent crime problems. The newsletter's circulation has grown to approximately 2,000 per issue. In addition to providing every member of the department with a copy of each newsletter, Jackson distributes Crime Times to a broad external circulation list.
It goes to neighborhood block watch captains, it goes to neighborhood advisory captains, it goes to the City Council, it goes to the fire department, it goes to a lot of different citizens in the community who are interested in this sort of thing, it goes to all of the volunteers. It goes to every sheriff, every police chief, and every district attorney in the state And it goes to the Governor's office, it goes to [Attorney General] Janet Reno's office, and to police department all over the country. Anybody who is interested we will send it to them.
During the past seven years the department has expanded its relationship with other city agencies including the city's public schools which are divided into four separate school districts. Prior to the Munger/Kramer era relations between the schools and the department were distant and there was not very much interaction between the two. In order to demonstrate the changing relationship between schools and the police over time this case will focus on School District Two, which includes 19 elementary, middle and high schools in the southern part of Colorado Springs.
Dr. Chuck Hewins has served as School District Two's Director of Student Services since the early 1980s. After working for a couple of years in the district, he realized that there was a distance between the school personnel and the officers who patrolled in the area. In a first effort to bridge this gap, the District began holding regular teas in which personnel from the police and sheriff's department were invited.
We got a hold of Chief [Munger] and the Sheriff and said that we would like to invite you and your beat-officers to a tea with some of our administrators so that we can get to know each other. We had them down and the police sat in one corner of the room, and the sheriff sat in another corner and the school people in another corner.
The District continued to sponsor these informal meetings and over time Hewins noticed that the relationship was changing. "We became good friends in a lot of ways. I think the key to our success was having our administrators know the face and names of a police officer or a sergeant or lieutenant or captain they could call if they had a concern," Hewins said.
Officers started playing a more direct role in the schools during the late 1980s when Munger introduced the DARE program to Colorado Springs. Under this program officers taught drug prevention programs to 5th graders in elementary schools. Hewins said that the officers developed positive relationships with the students. "The kids at that age were very respectful of law enforcement," Hewins said. "The whole idea was getting to know a police officer in a positive situation. The officers had lunch with the kids and played on the playground with them."
While DARE was directed at younger children, the department and the schools were increasingly concerned about youth gangs which recruited high school age students. During the early 1990s, as gang activity increased in Colorado Springs, Kramer took several steps to address this problem including setting up an interagency coalition involving the local sheriff and police agencies as well as school personnel. During the meetings speakers provided educational training about gang activity and agency personnel shared information about gang members. "We would go around person-by-person to either ask questions or share information," Hewins said. "It was a real sharing of information and very helpful to us. More and more of our principals and assistant principals went to these meetings to find out about gangs and get information about specific incidents in the local area." The new information channels were put to use, Hewins recalled, when a local high school assistant principal was given a flyer by a student which indicated that the Chicago based gang, the Disciples, were going to hold a recruiting meeting at a local hotel. "[The assistant principal] got the flyer down to the police department, and [because of the coalition] someone at the department said, `I know who [the assistant principal] is and I respect what he is handing me," Hewins said. "[Several hundred] gang members showed up and the police were there and ready to go, purely from a tip that came from a kid to an assistant principal to the police."
Not only did this gang coalition lead to better information sharing among agencies, but a new partnership began with a separate community-based organization, Citizens Goals, which wanted to reduce youth violence. These meetings with Citizens Goals led Hewins into a series of discussions with his superintendent during 1995 in which they discussed placing police officers on a full-time basis in the high schools. "If youth are doing violence, what better place to put an officer than directly with the students?," Hewins said. "So we went and talked with Chief Kramer about putting some officers in our two high schools." Kramer was receptive to this idea and in 1996 a School Resource Officer (SRO) program began in which officers were assigned, on a half-time basis, to work in the District's two high schools. These officers did not patrol the buildings, a task which is reserved for school safety officers. Instead they spent their time building relationships with the teachers and the students. These relationships yielded big payoffs, Hewins said, when three major crimes were solved as a result of noted being passed from students to SRO officers. "Kids like to talk, but they won't just walk up to a police officer on the corner and talk to them. But they will if they are friends," Hewins said.
In addition to these SROs, during the last three years the department and the schools began an informal information sharing program. "We were sitting around a table talking about a city in Florida where the municipal courts, the police, and the school computers were linked and the agencies were allowed to share data," Hewins said. "It was extremely useful in coming up with prevention things because the [problem] kids would be identified much sooner." While the computers were not linked in Colorado Springs, police and some school personnel made an agreement to respond to information requests from the other agency. "I can call their people, and they can call me and our principals," Hewins said. Having access to the police department's information has given Hewins an important tool when he makes disciplinary decisions.
We caught this kid with two [marijuana] seeds in his pocket and he said that somebody else gave them to him. We didn't know if he was a drug guy or not. So I checked with the police and found out that he had been picked up many times for buying the stuff. At that point I brought the parents in and said, `I can expel the kid for a year, or you can take him to drug treatment, provide me with a urinalysis once a month, sign a document that says that the school's counselor can call the kid's counselor and find out how things are going, and then I'll leave him in school on probation.'
While there have been several different programs which involve partnerships between the school district and the police department, the total result is that they now work much more collaboratively on common problems. "Chief Munger and Chief Kramer have different styles but they were both aiming toward the same direction... where they need us, the community, as their eyes and ears," Hewins said. "They were both individuals who are willing to listen to the non-law enforcement person and try to respond to community needs."
Before describing the department as it exists today, it is important to note one of the overall trends which has been consistent throughout the Munger/Kramer era: a reduction in the crime rate. From 1986-96, the overall index crime rate, which measures the number of crimes committed per thousand citizens, has dropped by 29% from 85 per-thousand in 1986 to 61 per thousand in 1996. Similarly, the violent crime rate, which measures the violent crime rate per thousand citizens, dropped by 18% during the same period, from 5.9 per-thousand in 1986 to 4.8 per-thousand in 1996.
The cumulative effects of the numerous problem-oriented programs has resulted in significant changes in the way that the Colorado Springs Police Department's service delivery systems. This final section will describe the way the department operates in 1997 in the following areas: operations which includes patrol, investigations, dispatch, and training; management, which includes decision making and the roles of captains, lieutenants and sergeants; relationships with the external environment including other agencies, Colorado Springs citizens, and City Hall.
Today patrol officers are divided into the three different geographic divisions where they respond to 911 calls for service and work on problem-oriented policing (POP) projects. In many cases, officers work with other city agencies and neighborhood associations to solve local problems. Colorado Springs is situated next to the Rocky Mountains, and certain neighborhoods are built along the hillside, overlooking the rest of the city. In one such neighborhood, where many cul-de-sacs have been developed, but the houses have not yet been built, teenagers enjoyed building bon-fires and partying. Unfortunately, some of these fires spread down the hillsides. While no major damage was done, local residents were nervous that a large scale fire could occur. In response to this problem, a patrol officer contacted the neighborhood association, along with the fire department and the parks department. Working in collaboration, the parks department put locked cables across the streets where the empty cul-de-sacs were located. Keys for the locks were given to the fire department, police department, and ambulance service, so that in the event of an emergency, their vehicles could gain access to the area. However, the cables prevented the youth from driving their cars up to the area and starting the fires. "The officer developed it on his own, took the whole thing from start to finish," explained Lt. Richard Resling who supervised the officer. "He made all of the contacts with the city and the parks department. He arranged for the cables and metal pipes to be installed, and briefed the Fire Department about how they should respond if they need to go in there."
While some officers still complain that the problem-oriented policing is "touchy-feely," as many of the older officers retire and younger officers are brought on the force who are trained from the first day in these new methods, personnel report that the support from line-officers has increased. The biggest frustration for many in the department has been that during the summer of 1997 the manpower was significantly decreased with 52 positions empty because of a record numbers of officers who were injured or who resigned/retired from the department. In addition, an academy class had been delayed a year, because of a fear that a local military base might close. (The base remained open). As a result, shift commanders found themselves insufficiently staffed and, during the summer, placed the NPU Units temporarily back in regular patrol. "I had a shift of 26 officers last year. I started out with 20 this year. Now I barely turn out ten or eleven officers," explained Lt. Resling. "So I had to hire officers back on overtime to make my minimum staffing, which over the long haul burns officers out because they don't want to work all of the time." With the NPUs, who are specifically tasked with conducting POP projects placed back into patrol for the summer, and the regular patrol officers shortstaffed, some POP projects lagged. However, after a new Academy class of approximately 41 officers graduated during October some of this burden was relieved.
A continuing challenge surrounds evaluation. While officers are told to problem solve and work collaboratively with other agencies, the forms which they are evaluated with by their supervisors do not provide space to evaluate such skills. The current forms ask supervisors to evaluate such factors as whether an officer's uniform is well-kept and whether the officers show up for work on time. It doesn't require supervisors to evaluate an officer's problem-solving or communication skills, or the officer's commitment to the community. "I think there's a general feeling... that the evaluation form is still pretty much worthless. It really doesn't tell you what an officer is really like," one department member said.
According to senior staff, another remaining challenge for some officers, is not differentiating between directed activities, in which officers target their efforts at a problem location, and problem-oriented projects, in which officers seek to address the underlying conditions which result in calls for services. Deputy Chief Dan Shull explained the issue.
Some of the cops like to resolve problems quickly. But, when they do that what they'll do is they will take what is probably... a directed activity and call it a POP project. It's pretty easy to recognize when that occurs because you don't have the scanning and the analysis identified... There's a continuing ebb and flow where sergeants and lieutenants get busy with other things and don't attention to the little details... If all they're doing is putting down [in the response portion of the POP form] that they wrote 20 tickets, or conducted 20 interviews, that's a directed activity. However, if they spend time and they talk about getting people involved and solving the problem through the scanning, analysis, response and assessment that they did then its obvious that they spent time dealing with businesses, citizens and other agencies. Then you probably have a true POP project.
While they were temporarily placed back into patrol during the summer of 1997, the department has maintained a commitment to the neighborhood policing units, each substation has its own NPU unit, which still serve as roaming problem-solving teams. Since their initial inception in 1988, the NPUs have been slightly modified. Crime prevention officers have been assigned to the unit, and all of the NPU officers are also cross trained as DARE officers. The three NPU units, which include approximately seven officers and one sergeant, have now significantly incorporated surveying into their approach to problem-solving. When each NPU takes on an problem area - which could be identified by sources ranging from other officers, department supervisors, community members, or newspaper articles - the officers first spend time calling on businesses and residents and asking them to fill out a survey which asks them to help identify the problems of the neighborhood. Not only do these surveys reveal information about how the community feels about a specific problem but, the officers believe, simply conducting them allows the officers to build a positive rapport with residents. "This may be the first positive encounter they [have had with a police officer]. They are not getting a traffic ticket or being looked at in an investigation. [Instead] the officer is saying, `what do you think are the problems? How can we make your quality of life better?," NPU Sgt. Robert Driscoll explained. "This person's perspective after that contact is over is, `that was good, they asked me what I thought."
Officers who are selected for the unit serve for five years before being rotated back into patrol. However, when the NPU works in a specific area they often incorporate the patrol officers from that sector into their projects. The combination of this rotation into the program, and working with patrol officers, helps to reinforce the problem-oriented approach throughout the department. "[One officer who later became a member of NPU] was working as a sector officer and worked for three months with NPU in Gold Hill," NPU Sgt. John Taylor said. "He learned a lot of the tools right there, and then when we had an opening in the unit, he put in and, and coming in with that knowledge definitely made him one of the prime candidates."
An example of one of the unit's most successful recent projects involved the creation of an "Apartment Hotline" by the Crime Prevention Officer in the Sand Creek Division working in cooperation with the Apartment Association of Colorado Springs. After meeting with residents and apartment owners, it became clear that a communication gap existed between the owners and the officers: if an officer responded to a call for service in a given apartment unit, there was no easy way to notify the owner that an incident had occurred. "If a patrol officer comes to my rental property at midnight I'd like to know that they have been there so that, if I need to, I can take the steps necessary to evict someone," explained Jerry Lucas, a past president of the Apartment Association. "But, the officers are very busy and they don't always have the time to track down the owner or the landlord or the manager and call him at home or work and tell him what is going on." At the same time, officers were often frustrated because they might respond to several incidents at one location, and not see any the property owner take any action against a tenant. "I think we made this assumption that because we arrested Joe Blow in apartment two, that apartment three told the manager. Well nine times out ten that didn't happen," Sgt. Taylor said.
A solution was developed by the crime prevention officer and the owners: a telephone hotline. A local telephone answering service donated its services and created a number which officers call to report incidents. In turn, the answering service contacts the property owners who have registered their property in the program and gives them the information provided by the officers. With this information, the property owners can take action against particularly disruptive tenants. In addition, the answering service provides the same information to the crime prevention officer who then re-contacts the manager or owner to find out what action they may have taken. The department has seen definite results. "Before we didn't have any way of getting this information to the apartment managers. Now we are, and in the last month we had six evictions, five written notices by the apartment managers to the tenants, and two notices to vacate," Deputy Chief Shull reported.
As part of the department's decentralization, each of the substations was assigned a team of five detectives and one sergeant. (Later, a sixth detective with specific gang-crime responsibilities was added.) While major crimes and narcotics investigations are still handled by city-wide units, crimes against property and misdemeanor crimes against people are now investigated at a divisional level. Having the detectives and patrol officers housed in the same building has breached some of the distance that often existed between the two units. "When I came into this unit I told the investigators right up front, and I broadcast it to the patrol officers and patrol sergeants, all of whom I now know rather well, that I wanted it to be an open door type of thing," explained Sgt. Mark Smith, who supervises the Falcon Division investigators. "I wanted [patrol officers] working cases with us and I wanted them to feel comfortable with us. Traditionally [patrol officers and detectives] each think that they do most of the work and have the hardest job. A lot of guys go through their entire career and they've never been a detective, or they've been in investigations for 10-12 years and they've completely forgotten what its like to work the street."
In order to break down some of these barriers Smith encouraged patrol officers to stay involved in cases which were handed over to detectives and Smith helps officers who want to conduct follow-up investigations on their own. "One of my investigators might drop a note in an officer's mailbox saying, `I have this case now, but since you work midnights, could you do me this favor and see if you can catch up with this bartender and do an interview. Then [the detective and the officer] can get together and talk about it," Smith said. "Patrol officers will often come sit down with me and say, `I'd like to do some follow-up on this case, but I'm not exactly sure how to do it.' So I'll grab one of my guys and say, `why don't you work with [patrol] on this." Also, when manpower allocation levels allow, patrol officers are sometimes assigned, on a temporary basis, to work with the detective unit. Injured patrol officers on limited duty have also found themselves assigned to the detective division. "There's a lot of things they can do and they don't need to be able to run out and arrest somebody. [For example] they can do a lot of phone follow-up," Smith said.
While decentralization allowed for closer interactions between patrol and investigations, adapting the problem-oriented approach for detectives has been a greater challenge, given that, by definition, detectives investigate crimes after they have occurred. However, the investigation units have been increasingly pushed by their supervisors to incorporate problem-oriented techniques into their work. While the change has been slower than in patrol, some of the principles of problem-oriented policing have begun to emerge in the work of investigators. In November of 1996, for example, the Falcon investigators were confronted with a pattern of burglaries from construction sites in which numerous tools were stolen. Although the investigators recovered a great deal of stolen equipment and made several arrests, they realized that they could do more to prevent this type of crime from occurring in the first place. When representatives of the construction companies came to recover their equipment, the investigators offered them `target hardening' strategies which would make it more difficult to steal the property in the first place. The companies were also given instructions about placing serial numbers on their tools so that they could be easily identified if they were stolen.
Most recently, in the summer of 1997, the Special Services Section, which conducts follow-up investigations in check fraud and forgery cases, initiated a problem-oriented project in response to a rash of bank robberies. The goal of the new project was to increase information sharing between financial institutions and law enforcement. Working with robbery investigators from the three divisions, and the District Attorney's office, the department sponsored a one-day Robbery-Fraud conference with members of local financial and retail institutions throughout Colorado Springs. During the conference investigators provided a variety of training presentations and handed out written material about prevention strategies. Also during the conference, an e-mail network between the businesses and the police department was established. Smith hopes this network will speed up the sharing of time-sensitive information such as suspect descriptions. Currently the department sends out patrol officers with flyers which are then distributed at the banks. Under the new system, the same information could be immediately sent to the banks via e-mail.
As a result of Munger's department-wide reorganization, the department's management structure has changed. Senior management consists of the Chief and three Deputy Chiefs who each oversee an individual bureau - patrol, investigations, and operations support. Patrol is further divided into three geographic divisions - Falcon, Gold Hill, and Sand Creek which are each commanded by a captain. Lieutenants command the individual patrol shifts, and sergeants supervise directly supervise the officers. The investigation's bureau is divided into four separate divisions - Metro Vice and Narcotics which is commanded by a captain; Major Crimes and Special Services which are each commanded by lieutenants; and a forensics laboratory which is directed by a civilian manager. As with patrol, sergeants directly supervise the officers and detectives within investigations. Finally, the Operations Support Bureau is divided into two divisions, Information Services which is commanded by a captain and Management Services which is directed by a civilian manager. Many of the units within Operations Support and management services are managed by civilians.
While managers still retain significant command and control components to their jobs, many managers now also help facilitate problem-oriented projects within their units. Because much of the Department's focus of problem-oriented policing has been within patrol, this next section will describe how the different levels of patrol managers - captains, lieutenants, and sergeants - perform their jobs today.
Holding Captains accountable for the performance of their divisions, which started under Munger, has not changed under Kramer. As a result, all three of the current sub-station Captains - Ken Bayens, Bob Ownbey and Luis Velez - have developed `hands-on' management styles within their commands. Capt. Velez explained:
Using an analogy of a sailing ship, we are out there at the front of the bow and we're telling them, `lets go that way.' That's the first thing. But then, at some point, you've got to run down and jump up on that mast and help the guy with the sail. Then you've got to jump down and run all the way to the back of the ship and help the guy with the rudder... You can't just say, `lets do this' and expect this division to suddenly turn into the wind and do it. It just doesn't happen that way.
Holding their officers and supervisors accountable for their performance is an important tool which the captains use to ensure that the problem-oriented philosophy is successfully operationalized. "[Its important] to stay in contact with the officers, by going to lineups and, of course, we are always in contact with the lieutenants and the sergeants," Capt. Bayens said. "[But it's] also paying attention to the radio." When Capt. Bayens drives to work he listens to the police radio. Recently he began hearing a pattern of calls from the same address, Bayen's then borrowed a page from Munger and confronted the lieutenant in charge of the shift. "I went right to the lieutenant and said, `what's wrong here?' What's wrong with this picture? How could this happen? Why didn't you guys figure it out?," Bayens said. "Worse than that, why didn't you guys figure this out if I can figure it out coming into work? Why didn't the sergeant figure it out? Why didn't the officer figure it out?' I hold them accountable. You have to maintain this constant pressure so [problem-solving] becomes a way of life." The captains also rely heavily on their crime analysis personnel to produce regular reports which provide call for service data. This information helps the captains decide where to deploy their NPU units and/or where to establish a POP project with patrol officers. Although each captain is responsible for their own division, they do not hesitate to assist their peers. In contrast to the early 1980s when there was a great deal of internal in-fighting between commanders, the three division captains have built a relationship based on trust and respect. "One of the first things that [Chief] Munger did was started forming what would be a future team. We've known each other for just about a quarter of a century. We don't always agree [about] everything, but we certainly get along and we respect each other for the job that we do," Velez said.
In addition to their internal responsibilities, the Captains spend significant time interacting with local residents. Each captain has an answering machine and a pager number which citizens call. "If there's a problem, people call my number at work and at the end of the message is my pager number," Capt. Ownbey said. "Most people use it if we have a problem in the division that the lieutenant hasn't handled." The captains also attend community meetings, and meet regularly with their citizen advisory committees and block watch groups. In a recent effort to facilitate relationships with residents in his division, Capt. Velez instituted a program whereby each patrol sergeant within the Sand Creek Division was assigned to a neighborhood. The sergeant was responsible for acting as a liaison between the neighborhood and the division.
I want [the sergeants] to know what's going on in their respective area. The types of crimes, any pattern crimes, etc. More importantly, I want them to meet with the local associations at least once a month. I've asked them to become the direct liaisons between their communities and the division. They're sergeants, so I've told them if... [for example] they hear of a traffic problem on Murray Boulevard... they have the authority to come back and assign a couple of officers on their shift, or on any other shift, to a directed activity and run some radar.
Capt. Bayens, whose command doesn't have as many distinct neighborhoods, is considering a similar program in which he would assign a sergeant to meet with functional organizations such as the schools or shopping centers.
The three substation captains are held accountable by Chief Kramer and Deputy Chief for Patrol Dan Shull for the performance of their commands, and are expected to keep within the basic deployment parameters which PROS establishes. But, as long as they keep Deputy Chief Shull informed, they are allowed to make staffing adjustments if it will help solve a particular problem. "The PROS model tells us basically what our deployment should be, but we can modify it if we see fit," Capt. Bayens said. "We have relative [freedom] at running our own divisions. Obviously we've got to get calls for service answered, and take care of officer safety. We have parameters of that nature, but within those we can deploy the officers as we see fit."
The responsibilities of lieutenants have not changed dramatically during the past 10 years. Most lieutenants serve as patrol shift commanders. As a shift commander the lieutenant is responsible for performing all of the day-to-day administrative tasks associated with a tour of duty. These include scheduling shifts and training, handling discipline, and fielding citizens calls. However, Lieutenants have been given the discretion to manage the personnel on their shift in order to focus on particular problems. "If we have a problem in an area, I can shield certain officers from calls for service and let them just work on the problem," Lt. Ron Gibson explained. "It was made very clear to me by my captain that it was my shift to do with as I see fit... He's never questioned why I pulled people off to work specific problems for the whole shift." Lt. Richard Resling has used this discretionary authority to pull officers out of their cars and put them into foot patrol duties in the shopping districts during the Christmas season. "We were seeing an increase in property crimes. Purse snatchings, vehicle break-ins, shoplifting. So I put a two-man beat-officer team down there," Resling said. "It was very well received by the merchants because of the visibility and the shoppers because the officers are saying hi and talking to people."
Yet, as their job is currently constructed, lieutenants have scant ability to actually work with officers and sergeants on specific projects. During their shifts, Lieutenants are physically situated in a room within the substation were they answer citizen calls. While Resling would like to work more as a field commander of operations, which would entail working closely with personnel in the field and meeting regularly with citizen groups, instead he spends a great deal of time tied to the phone. "The shift commander has always been glued to this desk and glued to this phone and we just always did it that way," Resling said. "Ninety percent of these calls are just for information. Can I carry a gun in my car? What's the rule on this, what's the law on that? Where can I get my driver's license?" Deputy Chief for Patrol Shull agrees that Lieutenants should not be primarily used to answer phones. Furthermore, Shull believes that because Lieutenants are tied to the phone, they haven't been fully utilized in the problem-oriented approach. "I think the lieutenants got somewhat accidentally left behind [in the switch to problem-oriented policing] because they're chained to that phone. They can't get away from the phone so they can't get out there and see what the cops and sergeants are doing with POP," Shull said. "I [also] want to get my lieutenants away from the darn desk because it's just ridiculous to pay a middle manager to answer the phone."
During the summer of 1997 Shull and several of the lieutenants developed a proposal to change the shift lieutenant's responsibilities. At the core of the new plan, which was implemented in October, 1997, was the creation of a help-desk, staffed by officers, who would answer the phone calls that come in during the shift. While some calls, due to their potentially sensitive nature, could still be forwarded to lieutenants via beepers or cell-phones, Shull said that, "99% of the calls that come into a commander could be handled by any officer." The goal of the plan was for lieutenants to have time to work more closely with their sergeants and officers, as well as interact with community members. "I want the day and swing lieutenants to start attending community meetings, and POP project meetings where officers are meeting with different possible collaborators," Shull said.
Sergeants in the CSPD are still responsible for the front-line supervision of officers. However, in addition to such traditional responsibilities as evaluating officers, they are now expected to assist officers who are working on problem-solving projects. "I expect sergeants to sort of `run block' for the cops. In essence, when the officers come up against a barrier, I want the sergeant to be able to clear the way," Deputy Chief Shull said. Sgt. Lonnie Spanswick believes that his role is to act as a motivator and facilitator for his officers. "I need to make my [officers] feel like they can come talk to me if they have a problem or a concern... And I try to be out on the street as much as I can. A lot of times I'll show up on calls, but I'll sit back and let the officers know that I'm available for them, but yet I'm not putting any pressure on them," Sgt. Spanswick said.
Several officers confirmed that their sergeants offered several different types of assistance. In some cases, it was a matter of simply encouraging officers to work on problem-oriented projects and allowing them to take themselves off the radio for a block of time to work on a specific project. In other situations, the sergeants are an important resource for officers working on projects. In this resource capacity, Sgt. Spanswick coordinates his division's POP projects which means that he maintains a database of all POP projects. This database does not simply serve a recordkeeping function. Many officers and sergeants will consult Spanswick when they are about to begin a new project. "They'll come and say, `can I talk to you about this burglary problem in my sector. I've been thinking about doing this, what do you think?' Or, they will ask me, `where can I go to get some more information," Spanswick said. "I am able to say to them, `I'll check this resource or check that resource.' Or I'll say, `we had a problem like that two years ago' and we'll go into the database and bring up the project and say, `here's what these officers did. This is what worked and this what didn't work. Try this."
Beyond offering advice about specific projects, in general Spanswick seeks to support the problem-oriented approach by emphasizing results, in the form of problems solved, rather than telling his officers to simply gather statistics.
I told the officers that I wasn't going to care so much about the ticket writing. But on the other side of that I said, `if you can show me where you in one month write one ticket, but you have affected the traffic problem in your sector that's all you need to do. If you can show me a reduction in people running a red light or a reduction in accidents without writing tickets, that's great... I don't want them writing tickets just for the sake of writing tickets. I don't want them sitting on a stop sign in a neighborhood that doesn't really have a problem stop sign and writing up people for just rolling through it. They need to be at... a high accident intersection... [I want them] to write a few tickets there this month, and then monitor it next month and see if... the accident rate has been reduced. If you can show those kind of positive results than you know what you are doing is right.
Not every officer is equally enthusiastic about taking on POP projects. When Lt. Arthur Sapp was a patrol sergeant, he addressed this challenge by giving these officers easy projects to solve at first. "I'd give the officers a simple project at first. One that I knew could be solved rather quickly and would have a successful conclusion if they put some effort into it and if they were given the time to do it," Sapp said. "I would call down to dispatch and say, `these officers are going to be working on this project and they are not to receive any calls that are not priority ones.' I would do that maybe once or twice a week and let the officers do their thing and write the program up so they could see the entire model and follow it through. I would check up on them weekly to see if they were having any problems and if they needed other resources available to them." An example of one of these simple projects, Sapp said, was a local supermarket which would often leave shopping carts sitting in their parking lot at night. Some of the carts were then stolen by young people in the neighborhood. "The carts usually wound up eight or nine blocks away in a residential area. The kids would start using them for go-carts and would ram them into cars, so [the first problem of stolen shopping carts] leads to other problems... which can include kids getting hit by cars. Something that started out very simply, can turn very tragically wrong." In this case, the problem was solved when the officers contacted the local supermarket and discussed the situation. The supermarket agreed to establish a routine program of collecting the carts and returning them to the store.
While many sergeants are supportive of problem-oriented policing, over time it became clear, McElderry said, that some supervisors were having difficulty conceptualizing their new role as facilitators. McElderry acknowledged that the problem-solving program did not initially address the challenges facing front-line supervisors. "What we did not pay enough attention to... and who it caused a lot of stress on, was the supervisors, our sergeants out there. We did not spend a lot of time redefining their roles," McElderry said. "Our training had a lot to do with the philosophies of problem-solving, but the idea of how do you supervise problem-solving, and what tools are needed had not really been addressed. I think there was a lot of apprehension amongst the supervisors that were saying, `hey I'm still going to be just as responsible, but the people I'm supervising are going out there doing their own thing, so where does that leave me?" In order to address this challenge, the department designed a new training program for sergeants which was administered in the fall of 1997. This new training focused significant attention on the practical skills that a supervisor needs to be effective in a problem-oriented environment. Instead of reinventing the wheel, the department drew on the experiences of sergeants who had successfully adapted the problem-oriented approach into their supervision. In addition to panel discussions with these supervisors in which they discussed their strategies, the training addressed such issues as the importance of fully analyzing crime patterns before designing solutions, the best ways to work with community organizations, and the different information resources which can help facilitate projects.
Residents now report emergencies via an Enhanced 911 (E-911) system, which displays the caller's address and phone number on the operator's computer screen. As part of this switch to an E-911 system, which occurred during the early 1990s, the entire 911 system was placed under the Department's command, and the Complaint Clerk position was eliminated. Now, an Emergency Response Technician (ERT) answers the 911 call and directly transfers the call to a dispatcher at the appropriate agency (police, fire, ambulance), who dispatches emergency personnel to the call. In 1996, Deputy Chief McElderry, who was transferred from Patrol to Operations Support, and Capt. Robert Kean, who was also transferred from the Falcon Division to become commander of the information services division, which included E-911, discussed ways in which dispatch could better support problem-oriented policing. When they were both in patrol, McElderry came to rely on Kean's ability to conceptualize and implement the problem-oriented philosophy. "[Capt. Kean] is one of those people in the organization who makes things happen," McElderry said. "[And] we were looking for opportunities to expand problem-oriented policing outside of patrol... and a real obvious partner was communications... because they were such an integral part in terms of time management of the patrol officers."
McElderry and Kean had several goals for what would become a new pilot program. First, they wanted to determine if there were certain types of calls that the ERTs could handle directly over the phone without dispatching officers. At the same time, they wanted to instill in the dispatchers the idea that while sending officers to calls was important, there are times when it's more productive to hold some less critical calls and allow officers to work on problems. "As we brainstormed, we talked about the idea that the [ERTs] talk to many more people than the average patrol officer, and if there was a way to handle certain requests on the phone and save an officer response," McElderry said. With this thought in mind, a pilot project was developed surrounding one specific type of call - noise complaints. This problem was deemed suitable for a ERT response because so many of the noise complaints had gone on for an extended period, or ceased on their own, by the time an officer actually appeared on the scene. Under the pilot project, when noise complaints were recieved, ERT's tried to ascertain from the caller, or from other sources, what specific address the noise was being generated from. The ERT would then call the offender and let him/er know that the police department was getting complaints about noise, and if they didn't quiet down an officer would be dispatched. (In some cases, where a complaint was coming from an apartment building, and it was difficult to determine who exactly was making the noise, officers were subsequently dispatched on POP projects to contact the management and alert them that the department had been receiving noise related complaints.) In order to judge the effectiveness of the program, the ERT would phone the complainant back and ask if the problem was still ongoing. To compensate for the fact that ERTs were spending more time talking on the phone, their schedules were altered so that more ERTs were assigned during particularly high call periods. After the program was implemented, the department determined that in about 10% of the calls, the problem was eliminated. Given that this reduction rate, the program was taken department wide in 1997.
Dispatchers were also given training about the problem-oriented approach. "We told them to be aware that it's up to the officer, with the supervisor's approval, to take themselves out of answering calls for a period of time," McElderry said. "But when [an officer is not answering calls] we wanted the dispatchers to know what the officers were doing so that if there is a priority one call they can be interrupted, but if it is a priority two or three, the dispatchers will hold it or give it to someone else." At the same time dispatchers began expanding the use of premise history files which they would run off the CAD system when an officer was dispatched to a specific location. Previously these checks would reveal hazards at a specific location. Now, using information provided by patrol, if an address is the site of a POP project, that information will be automatically noted and provided to the responding officer.
One of the most important ways that the CSPD has operationalized its problem-oriented approach is through the academy training that all new recruits receive. There are several different components to this training. First, the recruits receive 12 hours of classroom training about the theory and practice of problem-oriented/community policing. As part of this classroom component, trainees are given real problems _ a specific drug house, vandalism in a park, an intersection with a high number of traffic accidents _ and asked to apply the SARA model, in which personnel scan, analyze, respond, and assess their responses, to the specific problem. As part of this problem-solving training, trainees are also given a specific sector within the city and asked to compile a profile of the area. This profile includes such information as the names, addresses, owners, and phone numbers of the businesses in the area; the location of schools or apartment complexes along with contact people. Using this information as a starting point, trainees then interview community members about any problems they may be having in the area. This information is updated by every academy class and the reports are kept in the substations so that officers can learn about potential resources or problems that may affect a possible POP project.
Recruits are also trained in developing and maintaining community partnerships with other agencies and with neighborhood groups. Obstacles to effective partnerships, and ways to overcome these obstacles, are discussed and, among the specific skill taught in this course, officers are trained to organize and conduct a neighborhood meeting. Trainees are also given instruction in crime-prevention techniques including Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). Beyond this formal curriculum, the training staff realized that the SARA problem-solving model could be incorporated into other training areas. "We got to thinking that that SARA comes into play in a lot of different areas. So we show the recruits that problem-oriented policing is not just one little area of their work. It interrelates with a lot other things," explained Lt. Arthur Sapp, who directs the academy.
An example of this broader approach to problem-solving was the training session about motor-vehicle pursuits. Academy instructors would drive a 'suspects' car and the trainees, driving a patrol car were 'dispatched' to a scene. "They have to scan... what's going on here? They have to analyze, what will I do? And then, what's the response going to be," Officer Michael Ruggieri, an academy instructor, explained. "What we found with emergency driving, which we focus a lot on because of the liability issue, is that you don't ever catch the person unless they decide to stop, or they crash. So officers have to constantly assess what they're doing in the vehicle. [After our problem-oriented training] we found a lot of the officers appropriately not chasing to begin with or calling off the chase when it got too dangerous." In order to further inculcate the problem-solving approach into the training experience, trainees are divided into six teams and each team is assigned a leader. The leader is expected to discuss with his/er team any problems, such as questions about a specific class, the group is having and bring those problems to the instructors. "These are simple problems for us, but major problems for them because they have never experienced them before," Sapp said. "When they bring their problems to us we say, 'that's nice, what are you going to do about it? They have to come up with an answer or a suggestion."
Two of the most important changes in the department during the past 10 years have been the pursuit of outside funding through grants, and working in partnership with outside agencies. In the area of domestic violence both of these trends are powerfully illustrated. During the past 11 years the department has received numerous grants which have helped it improve its response to domestic violence. At the same time, the department has forged important relationships with numerous criminal justice and human service agencies during that time which have resulted in a coordinated response to this crime.
One of the first outside grants which the department received during the mid-80s was a federal grant to serve as a replication site for the Minneapolis domestic violence experiment. Under this federally funded study, several cities agreed to test the hypothesis that arresting offenders on domestic violence offenses reduces the chance that they would become recidivist offenders. For many in the command staff, the grant provided an opportunity to improve the department's response to domestic violence. "[Domestic violence] was something that both Chief Munger and Chief Kramer and a number of staff members recognized as something that had really been given short shrift," one department member said.
When the department received the replication grant, state laws did not require arrests in most domestic violence cases and officers had a great deal of discretion in these matters. While felony cases required arrests, in misdemeanor cases officers could only make arrests if the victim signed a complaint or a third party actually witnessed the event. If a victim wanted a restraining order, they were required to go through the court system. Not only did the law make it difficult for officers to take action but some were personally unwilling to see domestic violence as a crime. In 1986 Janet Kerr, currently the Associate Director with the Center for Prevention of Domestic Violence, was a graduate student working as an intern with the non-profit organization which provides victims of domestic violence with advocacy, counseling and safe houses. Kerr's first interaction with a Colorado Springs police officer was not positive.
One night I was working at the safe house, this was maybe my second or third shift, and there was a client there whose face and neck were all cut up. Her husband had taken her by the hair and smashed her face through a plate glass window. An officer had come to the safe house that day to take her back to her home to get her personal belongings...As soon as she got into the police car with him, he looked at her and said, `what did you do to deserve that?' That was my first sense of the police department. [The Center did not have] a wonderful relationship with the department at that point. It was very much an us against them mentality.
Some police officers showed greater understanding and sensitivity of the issues around domestic violence. Detective, then officer, Howard Black was very engaged with the issue, spending time in his off-hours conducting training sessions at local colleges and working with local community organizations. "I could never understand domestic violence... We continued to go back to the same homes. Why [did we have] to do that?," Black asked. Given his interest in the issue, Black was chosen to serve as the liaison between the department and the researchers on the grant. Under the terms of study's protocols, assuming that the victim was not in imminent danger, officers were given one of four randomly selected treatments on domestic violence calls. They could either arrest the offender and hold him/er overnight; arrest the offender and release him/er after processing; warn the offender not to engage in the same behavior or risk future arrest; or provide an emergency protection order for the victim.
Having to follow rigidly proscribed patterns frustrated some officers, but the project provided an opportunity to better educate and train the department about the issue. Separate training sessions were developed for the officers, and Black made a point of using his position as a liaison to constantly reinforce the message to the department that domestic violence was a critical issue. Whenever Black sent out general memos about the project, he would include educational material about such issues as the cycle of domestic violence. He also presented particularly effective officers with plaques and certificates. "I was trying to change the officer's attitudes and [send the message] that what they were doing in this area was very, very important," Black said. Also during this time, the department began developing a new relationship with the Center for Prevention of Domestic Violence. Police training sessions included center staff, and center advocates were used to contact victims and collect data as part of the study. "At that point we started developing a better relationship with the police, there started to be more collaboration," Kerr said.
When the project ended in 1989, Black helped code and prepare the data for what became a 1600-plus case sample. The results revealed that of the four treatments, arresting and holding the batterer was only slightly more effective in reducing recidivism rates. This demonstrated to Black that a single-agency approach to domestic violence was not sufficient: Black believed that multiple organizations, working collaboratively, were needed to tackle this problem in a "seamless system" approach. "It doesn't matter if we are doing everything right with one agency, or one part of the system, if the rest of the system is not working. An arrest doesn't mean anything if we are not holding them accountable through the rest of the system," Black said. "By the rest of the system I mean the prosecutors and the courts and, quite frankly, the community... But it has to be this entire system and you have to have partnerships [because] if you don't have those partnerships, I think we all just spin our wheels."
Although Black was transferred to an intelligence unit after the project ended, the department as a whole maintained a commitment to the issue and, under Kramer, formed a multi-agency coalition with the district attorney and the center. The coalition tasked itself with designing a set of domestic violence response protocols for the law enforcement community. Among the changes to the police department's policies included: creating pro-arrest policies (soon afterwards the state changed the law and required mandatory arrest of perpetrators when probable cause existed, even if the victims did not sign a complaint); utilizing emergency protective orders to protect victims; and creating a new "Domestic Violence Summons and Complaint" form which would be filled out in all domestic violence cases. This four-copy form included a 72-hour restraining order, and provided copies to the defendant, the victim, and the prosecutor. On the back of the victim's copy included information about available support services. Also as a result of these meetings, the District Attorney agreed to prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence with, or without, the victim's cooperation.
Not only did this coalition make some tangible policy changes, and continue to build better relations between agencies, but over time Kerr also started noticing better police response to domestic violence calls. "We were starting to hear more encouraging stories. There were still some problems, particularly with some of the officers who have been out there for a long time," Kerr said. "But the newer officer, the ones who were being trained initially in the pro-arrest policy, were certainly more open to it and had a much better response. They seemed much more concerned with the victim, than just going into the house to calm the situation."
While department was making strides, Kramer still felt that there was more to that could be done to address domestic violence which resulted in 15,000 - 20,000 calls for service per year. During 1996 Kramer scheduled a meeting with the District Attorney and the Director for the Center for the Prevention of Domestic Violence where he expressed his concerns and suggested that a new approach was needed.
My concern was that as it started to evolve, the only one being held accountable for not doing what needed to be done were the police officers... All we were doing was warehousing people and processing paperwork, but it we started looking at recidivism and the effectiveness of what was happening in the system it was totally ineffectual. So I told them that I was going to pursue a different avenue, I wasn't sure what it was going to be, but it would hold everybody in the continuum of the system more accountable for assuring that they're making a contribution to solve the problem.
While Kramer wasn't sure what direction this new program would take, he knew that Det. Howard Black would be the right person to lead the effort. Not only was Det. Black knowledgeable about the issue, but he had already developed strong relationships with the advocate community and the other agencies. "We were in a meeting with the Chief of Police and the Assistant District Attorney, and we were talking about the fact that other jurisdictions have domestic violence officers," Kerr recalled. "Howard had always been our contact. We knew he had an investment in the issue and in our agency. We specifically asked, `wouldn't Detective Black be the perfect person for this assignment?"
Soon after, Kramer called Black into his office and asked him to take a new position - Domestic Violence Coordinator. While Kramer offered broad guidance, he tasked Black with actually designing a new program. "I said, `Howard I want you to take a month to think about this, talk to officers, talk to people in the community. But I want to do something different," Kramer said. "What we're doing now isn't working. I want something that is innovative, creative, and that [involves multiple agencies]. I don't want a situation where we are just doing something different by ourselves." Black was very excited about his new assignment and was eager to implement his vision of a "seamless system" approach that he had been thinking about since the replication study ended.
After meetings with the District Attorney and the Center, Black developed and implemented a new program which would target offenders with the highest risk for lethality: those who already had a history of recidivism or who had engaged in behavior, like stalking, which were warning signs of potentially lethal intentions. Although his salary was covered by the police department, Black worked with a team from the center and the district attorneys office and wrote a proposal, which was subsequently awarded, for a federal grant from the COPS office to fund additional positions - a deputy district attorney, a detective, and a secretary - for what would become a new multi-agency unit: The Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team (DVERT).
Black convinced numerous city and county agencies to become part of the project including: the Colorado Springs Police Department, the County District Attorney, the Center for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the County Human Services Agency, the Humane Society of Pikes Peak, Pikes Peak Legal Services, the Children's Advocacy Center, the University of Colorado, and six other smaller police agencies. DVERT pooled resources from all of the above agencies to create a two-pronged response. First, the program had a proactive component. This component allowed all of the agencies to identify the batterers who should be included in the program. Each agency researched its respective databases to determine criminal, prosecution, advocate, restraining order, and human services histories and then nominated cases. A formal DVERT Team, which includes Black, a Deputy District Attorney, and an Advocate Coordinator and advocates from the Center, a Training Coordinator, and a detective and police officer from the department, would then take all of the referred cases and make determinations about which individuals were most at-risk of lethality. (Other than Black, the police personnel are rotated through the program on a 100-day basis). In order to determine which cases had the highest probability of being lethal, the team combined their professional judgment with commonly accepted indicators such as history of domestic violence, multiple law-enforcement interventions, stalking behavior, threats to kill, access to weapons, and recent losses such as separation and divorce.
Once someone becomes a DVERT client, several things immediately happen. First, the names of the victim and the perpetrator are hazarded in the department's CAD system so that the DVERT Team is automatically notified if officers respond to an incident involving these individuals. Next, a detective and an advocate will visit the household and introduce themselves. The victim would be told about the range of advocacy and social service programs available to them, and an advocate would call the victim on a weekly basis to check up on the situation The perpetrator, after being offered counseling programs, is given a warning. "[I tell them that] this isn't a program that one can volunteer for, but they have a choice. If they choose not to be inappropriate in their behavior, they never have to see us again," Black said. "But if they are inappropriate that's when the reactive modality kicks in." As part of this reactive modality, if the police respond to any further incidents involving the perpetrator, DVERT sends a team made up of a Deputy District Attorney, a Detective, a victim advocate, and a human services case worker to the scene. The advocate and case worker counsel the victim, while the detective and district attorney immediately begin putting together the strongest possible investigation they can against the perpetrator. "They are going to do a very careful investigation of what's happened so that we can do everything we can do to enhance the prosecution of the incident," Kerr explained.
In this vein, the DVERT team works closely with judges to set very high bail amounts on DVERT clients who commit further actions. "The standard bond for domestic violence is $800. If you are a DVERT client you can be sure that you're bond is going to be a heck of a lot higher," Black said. "If we can demonstrate the potential for high-risk, we'll usually have bails of $30-50,000. In one case we had a guy in on a $240,000 bond." In general, once a DVERT client has initiated this reactive response, the team uses every means possible to contain his/er behavior. Kerr tells the story of one DVERT client who was re-arrested.
We were able to get him to do some jail time, rather than bond out. While he was in jail he continued to violate the restraining order, first by trying to call her... Of course all of those calls are monitored, so there's evidence available, and we charged him with violating the restraining order on every single one of those calls... Then he started writing her letters and we charged with him with violating the restraining order... So we just kept on charging him.
While the DVERT Team always follows-up when needed, in many cases they found that after the first encounter with the detective and the advocate, the perpetrator did not commit a subsequent offense and that DVERT clients had very low recidivist rates. According to Black's preliminary figures, during the past year and a half, there have been approximately 180-90 clients in the program, and in only 20 cases, roughly 10%, were subsequent arrests made. This has allowed the program to increase its client base from 25 when it began in mid-1996, to 125 by the summer of 1997. Although researchers from Colorado State University are conducting a formal evaluation of the DVERT program, Black and Kerr have several theories about why it appears to have been successful. "In most cases the initial visit is all it has taken, which has been a huge surprise to us," Kerr said. "I hope the research will help [answer why]. But one of the things that we know about perpetrators and perpetrator treatment is that containment is essential. I believe that the tight containment, the knowledge that the whole system is really paying attention makes a huge difference." Black believes that following through on the promise of a severe response if perpetrators commit new crimes has been an important component, and that this message has gone out to what Black terms the `perpetrator network.' According to District Attorney Doug Miles, the quality of the cases that are brought against perpetrators has improved. "We know our cases better. We have a better understanding of the dynamics of these cases and the underlying relationships. We are better equipped to explain these dynamics to judges and juries," Miles said. "Because we're better able to prepare our cases, we're seeing defendants accept more of our offers once they realize the quality of the cases we have against them. And we're seeing more significant legal consequences - higher bonds, enhanced sentences, supervised probation, more monitoring. We are closing the cracks these perpetrators used to slip through."6
In 1996 DVERT was the first place winner in the National League of Cities Innovations in Policing contest. However, personnel acknowledge that working so closely together has, at times, been a challenge. "It has been an ongoing challenge because you are dealing with personalities," Black said. "I think it was actually easier pulling the systems together. Now that we are actually in this environment with 16, 17 people coming in here with completely different work cultures, with completely different missions, and trying to get these folks to see the world through each other's eyes." The agency's recent history of collaboration, Kerr said, helped ease the transition. "I think one of the reasons we've been so successful is that we had this history leading up to DVERT of the agencies coming together as a coalition.," Kerr said. "There were already people in the system who had met each other, developed a relationship and there was already some trust. I think that gave us a huge advantage."
One of the ways that Black has tried to foster an environment where people talk with each other and not at each other, is to allow the field personnel, the officers, DAs, and advocates to meet about cases without supervisors in the room. "The hardest part of my job is trying to [create an environment] where the advocate has the same power as the cop or the prosecutor," Black said. "You have the sense of entitlement sometimes being in prosecution and law enforcement, and advocates end up at the lowest end of the totem pole. Quite frankly, the advocates and the case workers are the two most important parts of the system. It is critical that they have the same power as the cop or the prosecutor when we talk about what to do [with the families]." Another important decision was to rotate officers into the program, rather than permanently assign them to the post. Moving officers into the program, Black believed, would create a wider number of officers throughout the department who were committed to the issue. "It's a pain to manage because you are constantly having someone new coming in, but the benefits have been great," Black said. In one case, an officer returned to patrol and began designing problem-oriented policing projects centered around domestic violence.
One of the results of the constant inter-agency interaction, Black said, is that individuals are starting to think outside their respective agency boxes. "The other day one of the victim advocates said, `I'm starting to talk like a cop' and a cop said `I'm starting to think like an advocate.' I don't even know what I am anymore. I don't know whether I'm a cop, a prosecutor, an advocate, or a caseworker," Black said. Kerr has noticed that having officers and advocates work together has allowed for important interactions. "Part of what's nice about having advocates go out with the detectives on the scene is that they can interact with the officers who have initially responded. When officers say things like, `you know I've been to this house six times and I just don't know why she doesn't leave him,' it gives the advocate an opportunity to do some educating about some of the dynamics [of domestic violence]. We've found that the officers are pretty open to that," Kerr said. For Deputy Chief Dan Shull, DVERT is an important way in which the department has implemented community and problem-oriented policing. "We were able to bring so many stakeholders together to the table. We're getting input from all of the relevant agencies in order to get a clearer picture of what is occurring in this area and to discuss the best approach for intervention. That's community policing," Shull said. "Secondly, for each case that DVERT adds to its case load, the same stakeholders problem-solve that case respective to its specific needs. That's problem-oriented policing."7
While the idea for this program predated the COPS grant, the federal money has been critical in allowing it to grow and develop. As was previous described, the first grant allowed a dedicated detective, secretary, and district attorney to be assigned to the program. A second grant, which was received from the Violence Against Women Act, allowed DVERT to hire an advocate supervisor and four new advocates to only work on DVERT cases. In addition, this grant will allow the team to purchase more cameras, including a video camera, to help with evidence gathering. "The DVERT concept was something we had well before the COPS money was available, but we were able to develop the program forward because of the COPS money," Black said. Not only did federal grants help operationalize DVERT, but combined with the partnerships with other agencies, has made domestic violence one of the agency's highest organizational priorities.
Relations between the department and citizens have improved during the past decade. "I was in a restaurant last week and the waitress came over and said, `somebody paid for your dinner.' Well, I have no idea who did that, but that kind of thing never happened before. That was non-existent," Sgt. Spanswick reported. Minister Promise Lee, Executive Director of the Hillside Neighborhood Association, has watched this relationship evolve since he returned to the Hillside neighborhood, one of Colorado Springs most racially diverse, in the mid 1980s. "There was a lot of dope selling, a lot of gang banging, a lot of violent crimes, people were living inside their homes in fear," Lee said. At the same time, Lee said, the officers who patrolled the neighborhood rarely interacted with the residents and at times they, "bullied people." Around this time Lee began the multi-service neighborhood association which sought to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for local residents. Among the Association's early accomplishments, they persuaded the police department, then under Chief Munger, to assign officers to work more closely with the neighborhood. What subsequently developed, Lee said, resulted in an improved relationship primarily between officers and residents and secondarily between residents and the department as a whole.
They [the officers] began coming to our meetings and seeing what our concerns were. They asked the neighborhood residents if we were willing to back them if they began to shut down the crack houses. The officers began to [shut the crack houses] but when they had downtime they would develop relationships with the [residents]... by doing things like sitting with neighbors on porches and drinking lemonade. When it came time to discuss resources with the city we were able to take these same police officers in and say, `we need to upgrade a street light, or we need to remove some [public] telephones because they are perpetuating drug trafficking.' [The officers] were able to advocate for us... [Then] some of the officers began to volunteer during their off-time to work security at some of our social events, like teen gatherings... After the neighborhood was cleaned up a little bit [the first officers] left, but there is still an officer, Rhonda Williams, assigned to our neighborhood. Her job is to check in with the association every day, whether it be in person or by phone, to make sure that everything is going well... Sometimes she will come in during her lunch break and sit in the office... The police officers have really become part of the neighborhood... and they have restored some confidence in the department.
While there have still been individual incidents in which officers have behaved inappropriately towards residents, Lee finds that the department has been willing to step in and take the necessary corrective action. "[Chief Kramer] has maintained an open door policy. There have been some officers who have been wrong and they've been reprimanded. He's never made the statement that 'everybody in my police department is okay.' He's taken interest and time to educate his officers on the issue of being sensitive," Lee said. Not only has the relationship between the department and the community improved, but in 1997 the neighborhood was the recipient of an All-America City Award from the National Civic League for its work on improving the area and helping to reduce crime.
Another important component of the department's community interaction comes from the volunteer program, which has been expanded under Kramer. At the end of 1996, the CSPD opened two volunteer-staffed service centers in Colorado Springs, within two separate Walmart stores. Walmart itself provided the impetus for the program when it requested that substations, manned by police officers, be placed on their premises. Although this was not possible, given staffing levels, Kramer agreed to staff the centers with volunteers. The centers provide citizens with general information or specific police related forms. "Our aim is to... give the public another point of contact with the department. Maybe one that is less threatening," explained Ruth Myers, the department's Coordinator of Volunteers. Each station is staffed by approximately 20 volunteers, who find themselves handling a wide-range of situations. "People come in to get literature. If they need [immediate police] assistance we can call officers and get assistance. If we don't have immediate answers to their questions, we can call dispatch or the different divisions to find the answers," explained Pat Jackson who volunteers at one of the substations. In addition to the new centers, a handicapped enforcement unit was established under Kramer. This unit trains volunteers, many of whom are themselves handicapped, to write tickets to vehicles who are illegally parked in handicapped parking spaces.
In 1996, 336 volunteers worked more than 43,000 hours on all of the various projects. Myers believes that the volunteers play an important role in the department's commitment to community policing. "By working here, getting a feel for the department, knowing what is going on, knowing how the department operates, the volunteers carry [that information] back out to the community," Myers said. "I think that it also... says [that] this department is willing to go a step further to help people in the community, beyond what officers are trained to do or have the time to do."
While real improvements have been seen, there is a sense among some in the department and the community that there is still some distance between the two. "I don't think we've informed [the community] enough. I mean they see the little things we do, the neighborhood projects that get on the front page because they won an award... but overall the public as far as them seeing us do this on a daily basis and the efforts that we have made... I don't think they realize that," one department member said.
The department's most recent attempt to gauge the resident's attitudes about the CSPD was the 1996 citizen survey.8 In comparison with the 1994 survey, the most recent results revealed that more citizens felt safer.
76% strongly agreed or agreed that they felt safe walking on their block.
84% strongly agreed or agreed that they felt safe walking on their block.
75% strongly agreed or agreed that they felt safe in their home at night.
81% strongly agreed or agreed that they felt safe in their home at night.
At the same time, while the majority of respondents said that there was a good relationship between the CSPD and the community.
72% strongly agreed or agreed that there is a good relationship between the CSPD and the community.
63% strongly agreed or agreed that there is a good relationship between the CSPD and the community.
Another survey, conducted in 1997 by the University of Colorado, which measured citizen's crime victimization, fear, and perceptions of police, revealed that overall, citizens had a positive view of law enforcement and a high perception of safety. The survey, which was last conducted in 1978, asked residents to use a scale to rank their responses.
1978 City Mean
1996 City Mean
How good a job is being done by your local law enforcement agency? (4=excelllent; 1=poor)
Most law enforcement officers can be trusted.
Question Not Asked
Generally, how safe is your neighborhhod?
Throughout the past 12 years, the department has enjoyed a strong relationship with City Hall. The city managers and the council members have, for the most part, supported Chief Munger and Chief Kramer's efforts at changing the department. From a fiscal perspective, the department has consistently received approximately 30% of the city's general budget and the department's budget share in 1996 was approximately $47 million. Following the growth in Colorado Springs' population during the last 10 years, the department has increased its total number of sworn personnel by 35% from 391 in 1986 to 512 in 1997 and its civilian personnel by 30% from 172 in 1986 to 227 in 1997. However, since 1986 the population has grown by almost 30% from approximately 260,000 people in 1986 to approximately 340,000 people in 1987. As a result, the ratio of CSPD employees per 1000 citizens has relatively stable at approximately 1.5 officers and .60 civilians.
Towards the end of 1996 Colorado Springs hired a new City Manager, James Mullen. When Mullen came to Colorado Springs he heard positive reports about the department. "Most of the people that I talked to had a very high opinion of the police department. They had a lot of confidence in them and a good feeling about the safety of living in Colorado Springs," Mullen said. However, Mullen has reserved judgment about the department's community policing program. While Mullen said he isn't philosophically opposed to community policing, he has pushed the department to demonstrate measurable outcomes, which can be tied to the budget process through a pay for performance system. "I think it's incumbent on me to make sure we're getting our money's worth out of them, and I don't know any other way to do that than to make sure I understand exactly what they're doing," Mullen said.
Kramer said he doesn't have any problems with the questions Mullen is asking, but he acknowledges that in some areas it may be challenging to produce clear outcome measures. "I don't have any with him wanting to see measurable results... He's asking questions not much different than I would have been asking if I was in his position and that is, `I respect what you are doing but prove to me that its effective," Kramer said. "[However], you get into a fuzzy area with some of the things that we do in the area of prevention... such as the DARE program... because prevention is one of those soft issues. We know intellectually and inherently that investing time and money in kids at an earlier age can't help but pay off for them in the end. But that's the soft stuff that that the numbers crunchers have a hard time reconciling." In general, Kramer believes that effectively measuring community policing is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the department. "[Measuring the effectiveness of community policing is extremely important] because of the direction that our Council wants to go with pay for performance and tying community based policing into measured outcomes so that the pay for performance will be meaningful," Kramer said. "Yeah, we can use standard measures like the number of tickets written, etc. But I don't think its really in the community's best interest to evaluate an officer's pay based soley upon those kind of indexes." With this in mind, the department is currently considering how best to meet these new objectives.
Some department members are concerned that the end-result of this process, however, will be the elimination of some current programs. "Take the crime prevention officer, for example, who goes into a business and says, `if you guys put up some more lights here you wouldn't give illegitimate users an opportunity to hide and ply their trade without being seen... It's education that benefits the entire community, but how can you possibly measure a crime that never occurred [as a result of the education]?" asked Sgt. Robert Driscoll. "Or, in our division we had 40 requests for police officers to come to neighborhood watch meetings during National Night Out. The [citizens] just wanted to see a police officer there. They want their kids to see the police car. It's good will. It's difficult to measure that sort of thing, but it reinforces what we do in the schools with DARE when an officer is there in a positive way and not looking to arrest anybody or chew them out."
1 Lorne C. Kramer and Pat McElderry, "Total Problem Oriented Policing," Colorado Springs Police Department, 1984. P. i-iii.
2 Ibid., p. 34.
3 Ibid., p. 39-42.
4 Ibid., p. ii.
6 Cynthia Zupanec, " The Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team," Colorado Springs Police Department. P, 12-13.
8 This marked the 4th citizen satisfaction survey conducted by the department. The first three were conducted in 1994, 1992, and 1991. In the 1996 survey, 2265 surveys were mailed to households randomly selected by an outside consultant. The department received 541 surveys back, for a response rate of 23.8%.
9 "Survey of Citizen Fear in El Paso County: Crime Victimization, Fear, and Perceptions of Police," Draft Report. Richard Dukes, University of Colorado, June 30, 1997.