Message from the Chief of Police
Springettsbury Township Police Department partners with the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center
I am pleased to announce the official partnership between Springettsbury Township Police Department and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Diagnostic Center. As the Chief of Police it is my goal to provide our community the best professional service, develop partnerships by placing deeper roots into the community, and have a strong level of trust between the community and our Department. I believe the best way to accomplish this goal was to reach out to the Diagnostic Center as it has invested heavily in research, data driven solutions and best practices nationally to assist law enforcement. After several months of phone calls and participating in an Intake process in Washington, D.C., we officially partnered with the Diagnostic Center on February 10, 2016.
It is critical our department invests in what works, while remaining fiscally responsible, given our limited personnel and resources. The Diagnostic Center is a technical assistance resource designed to help community leaders use local data to apply what works in criminal justice in their communities. This partnership will help us make decisions based on data and evidence directly related to Springettsbury Township.
Together, our Department and the Diagnostic Center have focused on the following areas:
Procedural Justice Issues: policies and procedures, training, use of force, citizen complaints, internal investigations, and national best practices.
Police-Community Relations: crime issues, fear of crime, and building relationships of trust.
Body Camera Policy Development: Concerns with Pennsylvania wiretap laws, Right-to-Know requests, and guidelines for retention/purging of videos.
Our partnership with the Diagnostic Center began on February 10, 2016 and will undergo the multi-phase process outlined below.
Diagnose Phase (our current phase)
The Diagnostic Center will collect data from community interviews, Uniform Crime Reporting statistics, Record Management System information, Incident Reports, use of force data, citizen complaints, etc.
The Diagnostic Center will review the Department’s policy and training directly and indirectly related to the community, use of force, citizen complaints, Internal Affairs processes, and best practices.
The Diagnostic Center will deliver a final report (expected in September 2016) at the end of the Diagnose Phase. The report will be made public and indicate any gaps or deficiencies found in the Department’s policies and training as well as recommendations to correct those specific issues.
The Department will review the final report delivered at the end of the Diagnose Phase and use it to identify and prioritize which recommendations it would like to implement.
The Diagnostic Center will help us fulfill the recommendations we choose to implement through training, technical assistance with subject matter experts, policy development, and peer exchanges with similar police departments.
The Diagnostic Center will use the data collected to gauge progress and success as we move forward.
As part of the Diagnose Phase, members of the Diagnostic Center visited our Department on March 21- 23, and again this week to observe ride-alongs and conduct interviews. They interviewed members of the Department, the Springettsbury Township Board of Supervisors, and over 50 members of the community ranging from school representatives, business owners/managers, clubs, faith-based organizations, community support groups, the US Attorney, members of the York County District Attorney’s office and residents of Springettsbury Township.
Additionally, as part of the process, we have given them full access to all our policies and procedures, Rules of Conduct, training records, citizen complaints, Internal Affairs, crime and traffic data, calls for service, community programs and any other information deemed pertinent.
Why are we doing this?
I am sure many of you are wondering why we are doing this and why now. There are many reasons why we are doing this, but here are my top reasons. In August 2015, I attended the Global Leadership Summit at a satellite site in York County (PA), and one of the speakers discussed “blind spots.” The importance of the topic hit home with me, and after meeting with other Springettsbury police command members, we made it our mission to identify our organization’s gaps and “blind spots.” Identifying those areas is not an easy task and can only be done through a close internal examination of our practices and with the assistance of others who are subject matter experts. Another reason is the attention we have received in several law suits where the reputation of our Department was being questioned. No one likes their reputation to be questioned. Springettsbury Township Police Department has had a long history of professional and dedicated officers who have served their community in an honorable way. Our respected reputation was forged on the backs of many good leaders and the officers working for the Department. With that being said, we have also had our share of lessons learned and times when we could have handled situations better. Every organization has its struggles but I do not want to use that as an excuse for not being proactive and making changes to keep up with best practices in law enforcement. Through this partnership we are being proactive with identifying our weak points so we can build our reputation, avoid future issues, and reach our goal of being a model agency. Our Department is dedicated to helping our community and other law enforcement agencies. Through this process I plan on being an open book to other police departments so they can learn from our experience. Last but not least, the reason for the partnership is simple – for us it is the right thing to do.
I cannot express enough my appreciation of the Diagnostic Center partnering with us and the investment they are making in our department and our community. I am very excited about this opportunity. To put this opportunity into perspective, we are one of approximately 30 law enforcement agencies in the United States who have partnered with the Diagnostic Center. I believe we have the perfect team to embark and accomplish this endeavor. The goals we have set for ourselves will require a team effort, and everyone in our community is part of the team.
Daniel E. Stump
Chief of Police