Friday, March 16, 2012

C-3PO: Civic Protection, Privatization, Policing

This is policing in the 21st Century?
After my last blog I'm fighting the urge to quote the Star Wars droid Threepio: "We're Doomed!"

The story of cooked books in NYPD seems the symptom of a much larger crisis. CompStat is an excellent idea. What went wrong? The opportunity to truly change service delivery was at hand. Did they blow it?

Now the Great Recession has changed the game. Declining budgets. Rapidly changing police roles. Private security filling gaps. Systematic problem-solving lost in the dust. Combat policing on the rise. Community policing on the decline.

Clearly, policing faces the single greatest challenge in a half century.

You can imagine my surprise yesterday when I saw the agenda at the inaugural US version of the International Conference for Police Law Enforcement Executives next month in Seattle. Here's part of the program. Find Waldo...

* Terror sleeper cells
* Internal corruption
* Special interest groups
* Negative press and malicious accusations
* Union non-confidence motions
* High tech cyber crime

What's missing? How about the single greatest challenge in a half century! These conferences are important and necessary for executives. However I do think, respectfully, that our eyes need to be on the prize. This agenda suggests otherwise.

Thomas Cahill said economic crises create "hinges in history". We are not doomed, of course. But we are at such a hinge right now. I have started a LinkedIn discussion group to talk about alternative types of accountability, measuring success and failure, and new models for public safety. Find it here:

Civic Protection in the 21st Century - Policing, Privatization and Public Safety

2 Replies so far - Add your comment

Tim Hegarty said...

i belong to several professional policing organizations, and they do many good things, but if I were to post the "training" agendas of their annual conferences, they would look just like the one you posted. Maybe it's time for a "third party" conference to address the issues you raise.

GSaville said...

Yes, how true. Whenever I attend the Intl Problem Oriented Policing conference I'm impressed the discussion is about real, everyday, street crime - the stuff of policing. Yet whenever I see other police conferences I see agendas like this - internal, unions, non-confidence, dealing with the press, etc.

Obviously something has gone seriously off track.