The Madison Police Department's longstanding reputation as a pioneer in community policing carries with it a tradition of innovation and a commitment to continuous improvement. We strive to identify trust gaps and challenges to our service mission in order to uphold our stated promise and to put into daily action its ideological underpinnings. In this ongoing effort, the Department seeks to establish new and strengthen existing community outreach initiatives aimed at building relationships with those whom we serve.
In 2014, MPD applied for and received grant funding to establish MPD's Community Outreach and Resource Education (CORE) team, which at the time of award was slated to begin in June of 2016. The CORE team – now officially in action with the installation of two officers and one sergeant earlier this month – will focus on centralized coordination of our various community-policing strategies and in ensuring consistent program facilitation throughout the city. Working collaboratively with district resources and partner agencies such as Centro Hispano, Urban League, MMSD, MSCR, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and others, CORE team objectives include initiatives that seek to break down barriers between youth and police; to create better understanding – particularly in communities of color – regarding the role and limitations of police; to reduce racial disparities reflected in our arrest rates; create and expand programs to divert youth from the criminal justice system (restorative justice, community courts, etc.); and to enlist parents, educators, advocates, and community leaders to promote wrap-around support for youth throughout their growth and development. CORE coordination will hopefully better connect all officers to available resources and opportunities, and establish structured assessment and evaluation of our various outreach programs, cultivate broader community reach, and minimize the potential for some of our challenged youth to "fall through the cracks."
Given that MPD has dedicated resources to establish connections with youth at the elementary school level (Safety Education Officers) and at the high school level (Education Resource Officers), a primary focus for the CORE team will be to fill the identified gap that exists in our officer resources dedicated to middle-school-aged youth. As such, CORE officers will work with youth in schools, community centers, and neighborhoods; take part in youth activities organized by other agencies such as our current partnership with the YMCA and their summer "Friday Nights at the Y" initiative; recruit youth for MPD's Youth Academies and our Explorer Post program; refer youth to community courts, restorative justice, and other alternative programs. In addition, the CORE team will partner with our Amigos en Azul officers, Mental Health Officers, District Community Policing Teams (CPT), Neighborhood Officers, Crime Prevention Officer, and Gang Officers, to collectively work toward improving relationships, building trust, educating the community about police practices, exploring, examining and evaluating outreach programming, and addressing wherever possible the racial and cultural disparities often perpetuated by the criminal justice system.
Overseen by the Captain of Community Outreach, the CORE team currently consists of two officers and one sergeant, but will be expanded through a second and subsequent grant award to provide an additional three officers in June of 2017. We are excited about this latest addition to MPD's Community Outreach section and the opportunity it affords us to expand our commitment to fair and impartial policing while further cultivating trust-based relationships with all members of the community.
If you have questions about the CORE team, please contact Captain Kristen Roman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was authored by Captain Kristen Roman.