Collaborative Reform Initiative
City of St. Anthony and Department of Justice Continue to Work Together on Targeted Technical Assistance
January 10, 2018
The Department of Justice (DOJ) previously announced changes to the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance (CRI-TA) to align the program with the principles outlined by the Attorney General in support of local law enforcement and the original intent of the authorizing statute. The changes were made effective September 15, 2017 and will provide targeted assistance directly to local law enforcement based on their identified needs and requests.
The City of St. Anthony and the St. Anthony Police Department remain committed to maintaining a partnership with the COPS Office that will allow us the ability to receive targeted technical assistance resources related to the Collaborative Reform goals and objectives, which were originally identified by the COPS Office during the initial assessment phase of the process.
The City of St. Anthony has been working with the DOJ in creating a Work Plan of tailored, targeted technical assistance based largely on their assessment and community input which preceded the release of our goals and objectives, adopted March 23rd, 2017. We anticipate the Work Plan will be released this winter and will be posted on our website.
At the beginning of the CRI-TA process, we agreed that participation in the CRI-TA program would not preclude any future investigations into the patterns and practices of our police department by the DOJ Criminal or Civil Rights Division. We are encouraged that to date, we have not been made aware of any issues related to the patterns and practices of this law enforcement agency that require an investigation.
Recently completed technical assistance in the areas of Fair and Impartial Policing and Procedural Justice have been very well received by the police department and our staff. Through this work we have been moved to create a broader awareness of these principles in order to enhance community trust and legitimacy. We are focused on improving community-oriented policing practices, transparency, professionalism, accountability, and public trust, taking into account national standards, promising practices, current and emerging research, and community expectations.
We greatly appreciate the technical assistance this collaboration has provided. We eagerly await the final draft of the Technical Assistance Work Plan so that we may continue working on our stated goals and objectives.
City of St. Anthony Selected to Participate in Department of Justice's Collaborative Reform Initiative
The City is pleased to announce that it has been selected for participation in the United States Department of Justice's Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance (CRI-TA). CRI-TA is focused on helping cities find and implement ways to improve trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve by providing a means to achieve organizational transformation. The City requested this assistance with the goal of furthering continuous improvement within our policing efforts and citizen engagement process. In other words, the City is open to having national experts tell us what is working and what can be improved in implementing community oriented policing.
The CRI-TA uses assessment and technical assistance providers to coordinate the work through the involvement of subject matter experts, interviews, data and records analysis, research and analysis, and direct observations. The mayor, city council and staff are excited to begin this multi-year process of identifying issues and enhancing the relationships within our community. One of our fundamental goals is to create systems that are sustainable and able to become embedded within the fabric of our community.
St. Anthony's Role
The City has taken this step voluntarily. It is only the 16th city in the nation to be selected for inclusion in the program. The St. Anthony Police Department will be the smallest department nationwide to participate. According to Justice Department officials, approximately 75% of police departments across the nation are the size of St. Anthony's force of 23 officers. It is hoped that this process will not only bring positive change to our City, but serve as a best practices model for similarly-sized agencies across the country.
Goals and Objectives
The Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) developed a goal and objectives document specific to SAPD that outlines the issues to be addressed through the assessment: vehicle and pedestrian stops; community policing practices; recruitment, hiring, and promotional practices; and accountability.
The goal and objectives were developed through the information from the three listening sessions and engagement with a variety of stakeholders including the St. Anthony Police Department, the community, and government stakeholders as part of the site initiation phase. The COPS Office feels that these objectives represent the most pressing issues heard and observed. Each of these objectives are of critical importance and can have significant long-term value to St. Anthony, Falcon Heights, and Lauderdale, as well as policing nationally. The goal and objectives will be the roadmap for the Collaborative Reform assessment. The COPS Office will continually review these objectives to ensure they are meeting the needs of the department and the communities, and assess if something needs to be added or broadened based on the work.