Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ICP Supports MIDD

Islanders for Collaborative Policing Statement in Support of a County Tax
January 22, 2013

Islanders for Collaborative Policing strongly supports a new county tax to improve services for the mentally ill and chemically dependent. We also support a City Council resolution, considered on January 23, expressing Bainbridge approval for this measure.

The Mentally Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) tax will benefit the mentally impaired and their families. But the new tax will also benefit our police officers, and improve the quality of local policing. Mental illness and chemical dependency create complicated crisis situations, and yet we, as a community, expect our officers to handle these situations with few resources, limited information, and, until recently (and at least for some of our officers) woefully inadequate training. MIDD revenues will strengthen the local system of mental health services, and, in doing so, reduce the occurrence of crisis situations. (Police involvement usually indicates that no treatment is taking place, or that treatment is failing.) When crisis situations occur, MIDD funding will give officers a better mental health system to work with and more resources in the field. MIDD revenues, we hope, will also be used to fund crisis intervention training. Increased funding for officer training in the city’s 2013 budget is a good start. MIDD funds will, potentially, expand training opportunities and insure consistency of service throughout the county. It is well worth thinking about how officers in neighboring jurisdictions are trained since they frequently assist Bainbridge officers.

One final thought. Islanders for Collaborative Policing thinks police accountability and scrutiny are important. But support of our officers is important, too. We approve of the MIDD tax because it reflects our commitment to our officers, and our desire to help them perform their job in a safe, humane, and effective way. Mental impairment is a community issue, not just a policing issue. We are happy to pay a one tenth of a one percent tax to encourage a more holistic effort.

Related link: Kitsap Judges speak out in support of a Kitsap MIDD tax.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to Pick a Chief

Strategic Government Resources is conducting the search for our new police chief. In response to their request for input, ICP makes the following recommendations. We favor chief candidates who:

  1. Have a track record of building trust and good will within their organizations and in their communities. Strong, ethical and objective leadership is essential.
  2. Will embrace a collaborative policing model—that is—one with meaningful citizen involvement (be it through working relationships with local professionals, partnerships with schools and families, or community conversations and forums). 
  3. Accept and appreciate civilian oversight, such as in the form of a civilian complaint board or ombudsman, since these build confidence in policing.
  4. Have experience with the Memphis Model, and/or other best practices for working fairly and effectively with the mentally ill and their families.
  5. Understand the importance of strategic planning, and the importance of aligning department goals with those of the community.
  6. Have experience with proactive and targeted officer recruitment. We need a long-term strategy for attracting high quality officers, whose qualifications match the specific needs of Bainbridge Island.
  7. Understand the importance accurate data and regular data collection, as well as the need to keep local residents apprised of that information.
  8. Have local knowledge and regional contacts, and the demonstrated ability to develop strategic relationships.
  9. Have an understanding of, and preferably experience with, communities similar to Bainbridge Island. We have relatively little crime and expect high standards for our public officials. A different kind of leadership is needed here than in other places.
Link to our letter here.