Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Rebirth in policing - PBL Conference 2016

Ancient Greece is the birthplace of modern democracy and among its most powerful legends was the Phoenix, the mythical bird that upon death regenerates in the ashes of its predecessor. The Phoenix represents the fall of a failed society and its rise into something greater.

The state of our democracy and the Phoenix came to mind this week while reflecting on the turbulence in policing. Some of that turbulence shows up in this blog over the past 5 years in
Yet the history of policing has shown, like the Phoenix, it can arise anew. For example, Problem-Oriented Policing and community policing in the 1980s arose from the abuses of the 1960s. If there was ever a time for a police Phoenix, this is it.

The 2016 Conference of the Police Society for Problem-Based Learning is the best place to find it. The PBL group has been creating new ways forward for a decade, such as emotional intelligence training, new field training, and upgraded academy training.

This year’s conference theme Warriors, Guardians, Problem-Solvers - Defining Roles Through PBL  seizes on the central recommendation of President Obama’s Task Force Report on 21st Century Policing to transform police warriors to community guardians. Seven years ago this was the same theme recommended by educator and legal specialist Gerry Cleveland in his 2009 blog, Neighborhood Safety - The Guardian and the Vanguard.


Retired Boston police commissioner Edward F. Davis will keynote the event. Commissioner Davis is not only a leader in alternative policing models, he is also well versed in responding to crisis. He was top cop during the Boston Marathon terror attack.

Says the conference brochure: “Police tactics are under a microscope. There are many causes for this turbulent climate but at the top of the list is police training and how police leaders and trainers respond. The focus of our conference is to provide some answers for trainers and leaders that will clarify police roles in the 21st Century.”

Answers like that certainly sound like the beginning of an authentic Phoenix-rebirth.