When I read the news that "defunding" the police is actually a topic at a Charlotte City Council meeting and that serious consideration is being given to have "violence interrupters" and social workers respond to weapons calls rather than the police, all CP can do is classic face palm.
So how about some intelligent input? The following is unsolicited from an undisclosed source. But what do you think?
This was recently forwarded to CP:
We can no longer demonize proactive policing as being racist.
This is a key factor in us getting this turned around. Currently, a police presence means patrol units taking 3-5 minute rides around a area. Very few traffic stops, very few citizen interactions or officer generated instances.
The idea is people seeing a blue and white car will not do crime out of fear of a fast response to their action. It works for about 2 days before a location goes right back to its original state.
You are going to be told the opposite by command staff but they have not stepped in a patrol car with out units already being present to work these scenes alone or take service calls.
Most approaches revolve around the net theory, fill a location with cops to reduce crime but if those said cops are not taking pro active actions, it means nothing.
A officer pulling over a high number of vehicles verses a officer pulling over the same vehicle a higher number of times is vastly different.
We need to ensure our bias reduction strategies do not hand tie good work from being done, because they currently do.
Another problem is the rate of service call response to that of free time. CMPD has many specialized units, and those units do not always pick the best cases to get involved in to free up divisional time or to push ahead with suspect identification and arrest.
In theory, why do we have crime reduction units that only produce a 1/4th of the work that patrol does?
Either we focus on removing problem causers or we focus on padding our force with units by removing specialized units or de centralizing them and creating mini off shoots to work inside of patrol divisions to supplement officers.
Past that point, how we make contact with both citizen and suspect could change to support how we handle crime.
Basic tools like window tint graders and LPR can help. Window Tint is a limited item under state law.
A lot of people who are involved in criminal acts break the tinting law to hide what is possessed in their vehicle. Units can do pro active work by making legal stops for window tint violations that allow us to focus our efforts on suspicious cars in suspicious locations.
Neighborhoods have been screaming for traffic and drug responses and basic tools like this have been over looked for grandiose strategies that rarely bear long term fruit.
LPR is short hand for license plate readers. I grasp the “big brother” complaints people have about this technology, but once again, instead of a net approach, we need to focus our actions to first reduce crime, and second reduce interactions that bear no fruit.
LPR technology can be both mounted to public property and attached to patrol vehicles. There is a distraction for a unit driving a LPR vehicle as its system produces sounds and alerts about each vehicle it is scanning with louder warning when something like a expired tag, registration warrant, or bolo (be on the look out) comes up.
If we created mini units that worked patrol divisions actively driving around providing patrols while letting LPR scan, we can take pro active actions and give areas the police presence they have asked for.
The last point is officer placement. I am sure you all have heard the complaints of no unit in the city being available.
I have had units clean from Westover in South West Charlotte taking calls for Metro before.
We need to work to keep units working specific square miles, having regular work zones, and staying in them except for instances like vehicles chases, active shooters, and perimeter creation.
We need people that know their work area and know what stands out from the normal, that only comes from familiarity that comes from regular working the area.
CMPD has tried this with community coordinators but in many ways this work has been ineffective.
They do not usually take calls for service or do direct follow up on criminal events, this is passed once again to patrol.
This is a problem because in some cases numbers as low as 5 officers are made to work a full division.
Coordinators, crime reduction units, and traffic cops end up being sent downtown for what are called “event pulls” where divisions give up their officers to provide security for center city.
How can we take officers to guard the panthers but leave neighborhoods with bare bones and call it fair? This has to change and our patrol operations need to reflect where we are.