Local leaders responsible for the performance of this police department knew that they needed to bring a fresh perspective to policing – and a stronger, more effective approach to engaging with local communities. They asked their police chief and his command team to work with Hillard Heintze over a period of several months to define areas for improvement and place the department on a path toward positive change.
The Hillard Heintze Solution
The goal of the examination was to improve the department’s policies, training, and operations as they relate to use of force and interactions with citizens, taking into account national standards, best practices, current and emerging research and community expectations. The Hillard Heintze assessment and advisory team spent several weeks on the ground.
“We had five objectives,” explains CEO Arnette Heintze. “The first was to institute a policing strategy to improve community engagement and sustain organizational change at all levels of the department. The second and third were to improve training and policies as they relate to use of force and interactions with citizens.” Chief Operating Officer Ken Bouche picks it up from there. “We were also intent upon improving the quality and transparency of deadly force investigations from both a criminal and administrative standpoint. And finally,” he adds, “our team was acutely focused on increasing communications that build community relationships and trust with the department.”
Impact on the Client
Together with our counterparts within the department, we were focused intensively on achieving the same outcomes: (1) fewer citizen complaints; (2) fewer use of force incidents; (3) increased transparency of use of force investigations leading to greater trust and public confidence in how complaints are investigated; (4) institutionalization of community policing throughout policies, training and operations; and (5) improved communications with the community. While it’s still too early to measure the results, we were successful in helping to position the agency to achieve them.
Unplugged: The Project Manager's Post-Engagement Perspective
“We established a strong working relationship with the department. That doesn’t surprise me at all. When you bring the right people to the table – and you have a reasonably common understanding of what you aim to achieve together – then everyone brings their best to the effort.”