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Overview of East Palo Alto’s Community Policing Efforts
Over the past few years, the City has successfully implemented the basic tenets of community-policing. Through the “Three Cs” – City Leadership, Collaboration and Community – police and community relations have improved and we have achieved dramatic crime and violence reductions. 

In fact, many of our efforts and programs now serve as national models and industry best-practices, including the parole-reentry program, the East Palo Alto Crime Reduction Task Force, the use of ShotSpotter technology, the Police Chaplains, the Gang Resistance, Education and Training (GREAT) program, the Graffiti Arts Project (GAP), Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN), “Make the Call” Television Show, the Unity March and Rally, and the “Live in Peace” movement, to name just a few. 

We’ve made progress, but crime is still too high and many of the root causes that create crime remain. If we are to achieve the City Council’s goal to further reduce crime and violence we must use our past successes as the foundation to evolve our future community-policing efforts to the next level – Advance Community Policing (ACP). 

ACP requires the police, community and city government, to engage in more strategic partnerships (also known as community-based governance) and implement comprehensive, multi-disciplinary strategies that attack all facets and causes of crime. To accomplish this goal, we must make advancements in the following key areas:

To accomplish this goal, we must make advancements in the following key areas: 

  1. Service-Provider Network (SPN) – establish a formal citywide network of community and faith-based organizations to strategically align their services and coordinate their efforts to prevent redundancy, eliminate unnecessary competition, and find ways to serve as many people as possible through referrals and partnering strategies.
  2. Police Department Capacity – enhance the capacity of the Police Department to become more proactive rather than reactive and enhance its accountability to the community. Ensure there is sufficient staffing to expand policing services beyond responding to 911 calls. 
  3. Intelligence-Gathering – improve our capacity to gather, analyze, share and use intelligence to prevent crimes and guide the Department and the community in determining priorities for corrective action (also known as “intelligence-led policing”). 
  4. Technology – obtain advanced-technology to increase organizational efficiency, eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and capture and manage the data necessary to develop, implement and evaluate crime-reduction programs.
  5. Predictive Analysis – use forecasting, similar to the way businesses anticipate market conditions or trends, to identify the precursors to crime and deploy all of our resources to prevent crime and victimization.
  6. Research & Planning – use research to assess, evaluate, and refine the ongoing operations of the police to insure effectiveness and accountability. Effective policing requires research-based (and evidence-based) operations and programs. 
  7. Problem-Oriented Policing – use the SARA (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment) model to develop non-traditional responses that extend beyond the police to solve problems. The goal is to find a cure for crime instead of merely treating (or responding) to the symptoms. 
  8. Forensic Science – increase our use of forensic science to increase case investigation clearance rates; especially with regards to unsolved murder cases, sexual assaults, and property crimes (which appear to be increasing during the recession). 
  9. Adult and Youth Reentry – expand our current reentry program to include youth and formerly incarcerated persons not on parole or probation. Build a supportive community and family network (Service-Provider Network) for all persons returning to the community from incarceration. 
  10. Private-Public Partnerships – establish partnerships with the private sector – as they have a significant stake in public safety – to obtain alternative funding and in-kind services to overcome the financial crisis that affect local governments. 

This list is not meant to be all inclusive. Nor does it suggest that there are no successful efforts in these areas. It does suggest that, despite the progress made, we must make even greater advances in these areas to further reduce crime and violence in our community.