WSW: New Ideas On Policing Coming To Kalamazoo
The search for new ideas on policing recently brought the online news service Bridge to Kalamazoo.
Derringer says Bridge tries to find solutions that both sides can agree on. She says it’s been a very violent summer that has not led to people finding common ground. Derringer says Kalamazoo’s plan to implement a program called Operation Ceasefire got their attention.
The word gang isn’t used because Derringer says a lot of gun crime is committed by loosely affiliated groups of people who hang out with each other, not necessarily formal gangs. Police bring them in for a sit down, and tell them it won’t be tolerated. Help is offered from a team of social service specialists – work training, education, drug treatment. But Derringer says if they resist, the police vow to come down on whole group. She says the final act is when community members are brought in to speak about the consequences of gun violence.
$300,000 covers the cost of the program for three years. But Derringer says this is a grim time for municipal governments, so finding the funding can be difficult. Kalamazoo was able to get the money from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation.
Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Haldey told Bridge that he is optimistic about the program in Kalamazoo. Derringer says Hadley believes that policing is a different game than it was in the last generation. Haldey says police need better training to cover things like communication, implicit bias training, and emotional intelligence.
Derringer says Operation Ceasefire has a good track record in the cities where it’s been tried. But she says it does require resources and commitment to make it work. Since help is offered to stop violence acts, Derringer says “If you don’t deliver on that promise, you run the risk of estranging them from any help done the road.”