Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ICP Hosts Poulsbo PD's Dave Shurick: What's a Crisis Intervention Officer?

On October 28, ICP's mental health working group hosted Poulsbo Officer Dave Shurick, who explained his work as a crisis intervention officer.

A few highlights from the meeting:

-Local NAMI representatives are eager to work with the BIPD to create and support a crisis intervention officer position. They invited BIPD officers--and members of the interested public--to participate in the 12-week family to family class being held in Silverdale February 1-April 19 (Contact Jeanette for details at jcrerecich@yahoo.com).

-Bainbridge Chief Hamner welcomes input about the creation of a crisis intervention officer and BIPD mental health efforts. His email is mhamner@bainbridgewa.gov and direct line 206 780 4686.

-Officer Shurick stressed the importance of identifying himself as a crisis intervention officer when interacting with people in psychological distress. "My badge disappears," he said, and people open up, at least to some extent. He also stressed the importance of follow up conversations with people who he's dealt with in crisis. "People want you to come talk to them when they are normal." Officer Shurick sees great value in building ongoing, positive relationships with people with mental health issues.

-Both Officer Shurick and Poulsbo officer Lee Wheeler feel there is a pressing need for better information sharing, among first responders, about people with mental and behavioral problems. This will increase the safety of those suffering from disorders--and the safety of officers. 

-Finally, Officer Shurick and Chief Hamner reminded us about the importance of appropriate expectations. Local police efforts in places like Bainbridge and Poulsbo will not eliminate violent outcomes or behavior, or get all people with illness into treatment. But it was clear from Officer Shurick's presentation there is a lot more we can do in Kitsap County to improve the current situation.

Link to Officer Shurick's power point presentation here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

(Around) 100 days in: Chief Hamner updates Council on Police Reform Efforts

On October 16, Chief Hamner reported to City Council on BIPD reform efforts, and his personal goals for the department. The written report is full of confounding detail--what one would expect following dozens and dozens of LEMAP and Pendleton report recommendations--but his verbal presentation was short and clear. The Chief wants friendly, service-orientated policing, he wants better mental health response (related article here), and he's putting a high premium on officer training and evaluation. He also wants to report quarterly, to Council, about BIPD operations. He's amenable to a civilian police commission that plays a role in the complaint process, but only after officers are trained in new policies and procedures.

What the chief did not say to council, but did tell the Civil Service Commission last week, is that he likes Criminal Justice Training Commission executive director Sue Rahr's distinction between "warrior" cops and "guardians," and the CJTC's new interest in producing the latter. The possibility was raised, with the Commission, that we could actually seek out "guardian" types during the officer interview process.

On Summer of 2012, an ICP citizen's committee recommended seven steps to improve BIPD/community relations: (1) a public commitment, by the BIPD, to a more collaborative, community-oriented style of policing, (2) clear department goals and objectives in a strategic plan, (3) crisis intervention training and the establishment of crisis intervention personnel, (4) regular reporting to city council on policing issues, (5) civilian oversight, (6) improved youth/officer relations and (7) more bike and foot patrol.

Glad that we're all in agreement.