Law enforcement is supposed to be the guardian and protector of the communities that they serve. But somewhere along the way, distrust and animosity grew between the communities and law enforcement. Aurora, Colorado was able to bridge this divide through their efforts in establishing community partnerships that go beyond the frontlines. They were able to incorporate this community-centered philosophy from recruitment to policymaking and it has made all the difference with how the Aurora Police Department operates.
To share how the Aurora PD laid down the foundations of their community policing initiatives is Deputy Chief Harry Glidden. He’s been with the Aurora Police Department for 26 years and has served in various roles with the agency. He was a patrol officer and investigator, a sergeant, lieutenant, captain, commander, division chief, and in his current role as Deputy Chief to which he was recently promoted.
Specifics he discussed in this webinar are:
- An overview of Aurora, Colorado, the city’s features, characteristics, and mission statement which are critical to Aurora PD’s approach in policing.
- A look into their history that paved the way to their present-day community policing and partnerships.
- The Police Area Representatives (PAR) Program, a special unit that served as the precursor to their community policing efforts.
- The introduction of problem-oriented and community policing by Chief Jerry Williams, what it achieved, its areas for improvement, and the culture it created in Aurora PD.
- The Rodney King incident in Los Angeles which generated friction between law enforcement and citizens, particularly those from minority communities.
- How Dr. Barbara Shannon-Banister stepped in to foster better relationships between the community and the police through the Aurora Key Community Response Team (AKCRT).
- The AKCRT’s mission to enhance public safety by keeping the public informed on critical events, minimize disturbances, and hold the responders accountable to the community.
- A look into how AKCRT serves as a liaison between the citizens and the police.
- Chief Dan Oates’ effort to augment AKCRT’s contributions to the community by zeroing in on the relationship between the police and Aurora’s African-American community.
- The various group partnership programs implemented in Aurora.
- The Youth Partnership efforts such as the School Resource Officer Program and Teen Academy that establishes the relationship between kids and youth with police officers.
- Adult Partnership programs that provide the citizens with greater participation in police work such as volunteer programs, and review boards.
- Advisory partnerships that seek the opinion and voice of community members when reviewing decisions, policies and best practices.
- Integrating the community partnership approach to entry-level recruits as well as lateral recruits that involve targeting, training, community-immersion activities, and rigorous background check and interviews.
- Options that Aurora PD are considering in furthering their community partnerships to promote transparency in police operations particularly in use of force issues.
The Q&A tackled the following topics:
- Incorporating the essence of community policing in every aspect of police work.
- Measuring law enforcement accountability and attitude changes within the community as a result of community policing.
- Getting buy-in from leadership on citizen-involved investigative or disciplinary boards.
- How the Explorer Program is able to bridge gaps within the community and expose kids to law enforcement work.
- Ways the Aurora PD deals with the diversity of their community members though the Interpreter Program.
- “The training aspect of Aurora’s Police Department during the Academy that included Community Policing in its curriculum.” — David
- “It’s something that’s timely – I’m working on re-vamping our community policing program – so this happened to be of great interest to me. Good topic in general.” — David
- “Excellent presentation.” — Robert
- “I am looking at trying to start a community policing program and was interested to know feedback about starting such a program.” — Joe