2019 ANNUAL REPORT
The National Police Foundation’s mission is to advance policing through innovation and science. We are the oldest nationally-known, nonprofit, nonpartisan, and non- membership-driven organization dedicated to improving America’s most noble profession: policing.
The National Police Foundation (NPF) has been on the cutting edge of police innovation for nearly 50 years since the Ford Foundation established it to reportedly fill the role of “the largest private agency in the nation concerned exclusively with police work” and “assist experiments and pilot programs by police departments seeking to make basic changes in their operations and to upgrade their performance.”
Founding Principles & Core Values
From Our President
Malcolm Gladwell, in his latest book Talking to Strangers, describes our efforts to engage with strangers in various contexts in society. As he puts it, “In all of these cases, the parties involved relied on a set of strategies to translate one another’s word and intentions. And, in each case, something went very wrong.” Gladwell uses case studies to examine the strategies that motivated or guided each interaction and questions their origins and effectiveness. A few of Gladwell’s case studies focus on the strategies often relied upon by police to interact with strangers, highlighting tragic cases where these interactions didn’t go as anyone would hope. He references historical studies that are well known in our field, led by the likes of legendary criminologists George Kelling, Larry Sherman, and David Weisburd. Gladwell points out what we didn’t understand about interacting with strangers through policing and how these studies helped us better understand the dynamics at play. These renowned criminologists and the historical research they each led had something in common that Gladwell didn’t directly mention in his book–they all were affiliated with and conducted research on behalf of the National Police Foundation. There are few better ways of understanding the benefits of an organization’s work than having a five-time bestselling author and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people highlight its work. But there is also some irony in the fact that he does not mention the National Police Foundation specifically. Ironic yet appropriate, given that, as an independent organization, we don’t seek to represent others, and we often don’t seek the recognition perhaps we should or could. Instead, we aim to leverage science and data to make positive change in the ways in which officers and communities come together and to ensure just, fair, and effective outcomes for all– strangers and familiar faces alike. As you review our 2019 Annual Report, we hope that our work to create this change becomes familiar to you and that we can count on you to join us in our pursuit of a stronger and more just democracy. Together, we can define more effective strategies and translations that can improve trust between police and the communities they serve.
President, National Police Foundation
Harnessing the Power of Science to Advance Policing
It is imperative that we seek and rely on scientific evidence to help us understandchallenges and solve problems–without resorting to emotion or political rhetoric. Our growing portfolio of scientific research and experiments continues to be a catalyst forsignificant changes in policing, informing scholars and practitioners alike, and serving as a model for the systematic examination of real-world challenges. Our research also stimulates fact-based dialogue among the police, policymakers, scholars, the public, and the media.That ongoing dialogue contributes to new ideas for research, policy, and practice.
In 2019, we initiated new projects and answered critical questions, including:
DO BODY WORN CAMERAS IMPACT POLICE-VICTIM INTERACTIONS?
Our researchers conducted a study to determine their impact on the quality of information shared by victims and witnesses with police. In 98% of the interactions with officers wearing cameras, victims did not visibly react to being recorded, even when told that they were being filmed. Our study suggests that most victims are not concerned about being recorded during police interviews.
Victim Satisfaction by BWC Presence*
*Victim noticing the camera not accounted for.
WHAT OFFICER TRAINING TOPICS ARE MOST CRITICAL TO THE FIELD?
We developed a national survey of law enforcement agencies to understand the future officer safety training needs of the law enforcement community. Findings indicated that training on contacts with the mentally ill was the most important perceived future training need (in conjunction with active shooter training).
HOW ARE CRISIS RESPONSE MODELS ADAPTED TO SMALL POLICE AGENCIES?
Persistent lack of community-based mental health resources available to people in crisis results in the frequent need for police intervention. We are examining innovative approaches that small law enforcement agencies are using to help communities across the country build and enhance such programs.
ARE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER SUICIDES ON THE RISE?
Findings from a recent National Police Foundation survey of 51 major city law enforcement agencies reveal that 95% of responding agencies tracking suicides have not seen an increase in suicides over the last five years. This figure includes 21% of responding agencies that reported a decrease in the number of suicides over this same time period. Despite the fact that most agencies did not report an increase, suicide remains asignificant and serious concern in the law enforcement community, where stress and exposure to trauma runs high. The survey results suggest that despite our collective efforts to address officer suicide, the problem remains persistent among responding agencies.
Encouraging Responsible Innovation
Technology continues to advance at ever-increasing speed and spawns innovation daily. Many technologies are adaptable and have a variety of uses to improve the efficient and effective delivery of police services. From gun sensor technology to facial recognition tools to unmanned systems, law enforcement leaders are continuously offered new technologies and promises to have urgently needed impact. But how do these innovations actually impact police decision-making and the community? How can we better leverage these advances ethically and responsibly to solve policing problems and community concerns?
In 2019, our innovation-focused efforts included:
IDENTIFYING THE PROMISES & PERILS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES
In partnership with the IJIS Institute and the Center on Policing at Rutgers University, we provided atwo-day executive seminar on current and emerging public safety technologies and the benefits and challenges that such technologies may bring. Police executives and other staff overseeing the selection and implementation of new technologies in law enforcement learned from the valuable lessons of others–both successes and failures.
In September 2019, we issued an open letter to elected officials and policymakers regarding law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology. We believe that facial recognition technology may save lives, improve citizen and officer safety, and deliver justice where wewould otherwise fail. At the same time, we clearly recognize the perilous risks inherent in the use of such technology and its potential for misuse.
Protecting the Protectors and Those They Serve
As of December 11, 2019, 48 officers have died in line of duty firearms deaths in 2019. And after years of declining violent crime rates, the number of violent crime victims, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, has been increasing since 2016.
We are committed to initiatives that will reduce officer injuries and fatalities and improve overall officer wellness. With equivalent urgency, we leverage science and data to improve the safety of those in our communities, many of whom live in fear of crime, violence, and victimization.
In 2019, we continued our work on the following major initiatives:
IMPROVING OFFICER SAFETY THROUGH NEAR MISS ANALYSIS
We continue to expand the capacity of our LEO Near Miss Officer Safety Initiative, encouraging law enforcement personnel to share their near-miss stories and on-the-job lessons learned to prevent fellow officersfrom being injured or killed. Each week we share a Near Miss with an engaged community of officers from over 400 agencies across the country, promoting safety and lessons learned.
UNDERSTANDING INCIDENTS OF MASS VIOLENCE AND AVERTED ATTACKS TO PREVENT FUTURE TRAGEDIES
Our Center for Mass Violence Response Studies has a mission to prepare public safety, government, school, and community leaders to think critically about the challenges posed by mass casualty events and to implement comprehensive response policies and practices. We have developed resources for the field to better prepare local law enforcement for responding to these incidents and are developing new training for law enforcementleaders.
IMPROVING INVESTIGATIONS TO REDUCE GUN CRIME
With support from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Assistance, we continue to operate the Center for Improving Law Enforcement Investigations to reduce violent gun crime. The Center provides training and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies to integrate people, processes, and technology in response to shootings to disrupt gun violence and prevent future criminalactivity.
Strengthening Trust to Keep Communities Safe
Policing without community support and trust is not policing at all. How can police and the communities they serve–particularly those communities most impacted by crime, violence and police responses–improve engagement, collaboration, communications, and trust, to ensure safety?
We have always insisted that our work have practical impact on policing and that the knowledge gained through empirical investigation be applicable outside the “laboratory,” directly informing improvement in the way local police departments work to more effectively serve and protect.
In 2019 we worked more broadly to strengthen police-community trust through a variety of efforts in communities across the country and around the world, including:
BUILDING CAPACITY AND PROMOTING CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT
GATHERING INPUT AND INSIGHTS FROM COMMUNITIES
As agencies face pressures to address allegations of internal and external injustices, we work with police and community leaders to identify, assess, and address these challenges, building capacity for sustainable self-assessment and improvement. For example, we recently began assessing the Portland Police Bureau (PBB) regarding their policies and processes related to policing mass demonstrations and First Amendment assemblies, in order to provide guidance and recommendations for future events.
We are partnering with law enforcement agencies in San Diego (CA), Burlington (VT), Riley County (KS), Madison (WI), and others to conduct surveys to understand community perceptions regarding police effectiveness and professionalism, neighborhood concerns, confidence in the department, willingness to cooperate with the police, andopinions on public safety technologies. These insights can inform law enforcement policies, practices, and resource allocations.
GUIDING POLICE PROFESSIONALIZATION EFFORTS IN MEXICO
Working in partnership with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) and with funding support from the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), we are providing technical assistance to Mexican public safety agencies preparing for accreditation. This process is improving internal policies and procedures, and increasing citizen and officer perceptions of professionalism within participating agencies.
With support from public and private sector funders, and in partnership with local law enforcement and other national nonprofits, we advanced policing through numerous projects and research studies. Major 2019 publications include:
- Planning for the Future: A Primer for Police Leaders on Futures Thinking
- Evaluation of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center
- Officer Involved Shootings: Understanding the Complexities
- Officer Involved Shootings: Incident Executive Summary
- Officer Involved Shootings: Officers/Subjects Executive Summary
- Officer-Involved Shooting Situations, Responses, and Data: An Analysis of Informationfrom Major City Police Agencies
- Recovering and Moving Forward: Lessons Learned and Recommendations Following the Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
- Do Body Cameras Affect the Quality of Victim-Police Interactions in Field Interviews?
- Analysis of 2018 Use of Deadly Force by the Phoenix Police Department
- Building and Managing a Successful Public Safety UAS Program: Practical Guidance and Lessons Learned from the Early Adopter
- Preliminary Report on the Police Foundation’s Averted School Violence Database
- Summary Report of Survey Results: Officer Safety & Wellness and the Impact of New Technology (National Law Enforcement Applied Research & Data Platform)
These and more can be found at https://www.policefoundation.org/publications
Spreading Ideas & Enabling Change
To advance policing through innovation and science, we must ensure that findings and successes are translated into practical guidance for practitioners and policymakers alike. We promote the latest science, innovation, and thought through a variety of means, including:
Ideas in American Policing (IAP)
Police Foundation Fellows
A Look at Our Financials
*Preliminary FY19 End of Year Data
Board of Directors
Karen Freeman Wilson
Dr. David Klinger
George M. Little
Dr. Cynthia Lum
Bernard Melekian, DPPD
James H. Burch, II
*With Jeffrey S. Hydrick, Counsel, Buckley Sandler LLP
George Bohlinger III
Joe Mancias, Jr.
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