Pillar 2: Policy and Oversight
NC4 has introduced a blog series titled “21st Century Policing: A 6-part Blog Series”, to share with our readers. This blog series introduces each of the six pillars identified by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the basis of each pillar. This post is the second blog in this series.
By Mary O’Connor
Assistant Chief (retired), Tampa PD
Subject Matter Expert, NC4 Street Smart®
Pillar 2 of the 6 referred to in the 21st Century Policing Report is “Policy and Oversight.” In this pillar, the task force recommends that the policies and oversight mechanisms present in local, state, and federal police agencies reflect community values, are transparent, and specifically that members of the community are not subject to disparate policing practices. Community policing, after all, is built on trust and relationships, and disparate consequences as a result of police action can cause distrust in the community.
Utilizing methods that reduce any disparity that may exist and developing greater transparency within the agency increases its credibility, resulting in improved relations between the agency and all participants in the community, private sector, intelligence community, and public government.
A police force that is most efficient with its resources, and coordinates with local councils, housing authorities, and health and education departments reflects the values of its community members.
This pillar also describes the task force’s recommendations to address discrimination in policing, use of force, internal and civilian oversight, and mass demonstrations.
NC4 Street Smart® contributes to the success of the police agencies that are taking steps to reduce any disparate policing in their agencies. The solution essentially eliminates indiscriminate policing activities and gives officers a real-time tool that they can use to have a surgical focus on key offenses and key offenders. Street Smart increases officers’ situational awareness based on the geography they patrol on a daily basis, and enables access to real-time data, which increases their accuracy to pinpoint crimes and patterns. The de-randomization that occurs and increased accuracy and awareness not only keeps the officers safe and gets crimes solved faster, it also has the tremendous benefit of the community feeling secure in their neighborhoods, and fosters trust in their police department.
Lastly, this targeted approach officers take to their daily policing assists in the internal oversight recommendation, as supervisors and administrators know that their officers are focusing on what’s currently important to the community.
An example of this surgical focus in action was the red grid strategy employed by the Tampa Police Department over the last several years. A grid (small area of geography aligned with a community) became “red” – and a subsequent area of attention, if it had a benchmarked number of part one crimes in a month. This attention, in essence, made the city smaller and allowed for “Zownership” – officers knowing their crimes, offenders, citizens, and other problems all at the same time. This constant awareness, now facilitated with the use of Street Smart, continues to bring crime reduction equity and relationship building to communities in Tampa, and across the United States.
The author of this blog series, Mary O'Connor, is a recently retired Assistant Chief from the Tampa Police Department (TPD). She spent 20 years with the TPD working her way through the ranks and has experience in most areas of the department including Patrol Commander, Detective Commander, Field Training Officer, Narcotics Officer, Economic Crimes Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Major, and Deputy Chief. She also serves as a special advisor to the board of NAWLEE (National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives). Mary was instrumental in the end-user design of Street Smart and is the subject matter expert on the solution.
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