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A Tale of Two Police Departments :. oPD Vs. csPD. Introduction. Are all police departments “created” equal? If they are different, how can you tell? What makes one department “better” than another. What About These Two Cities?.

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Are all police departments “created” equal?

If they are different,

how can you tell?

What makes one department

“better” than another.

what about these two cities
What About These Two Cities?

The Omaha Police Department (OPD) and the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) are often used as comparable cities for labor negotiations.

But, are they comparable? Is one department

contemporary and the other


Let’s take a look.

what contemporary policing is not
What Contemporary Policing Is Not
  • Noinvestment in technology or infrastructure
  • Employs random dragnets or indiscriminate sweeps
  • Poor relationship with community
  • Poor or non-existent datacollection
  • Us vs. Them
what contemporary policing is
What Contemporary Policing Is
  • Changes with the


  • Practices pro-active


  • Uses community policing strategies. www.cops.usdoj.gov/
  • Develops “problem oriented policing.” www.popcenter.org
smart police departments
Smart Police Departments
  • COP and POP utilize partnerships between police AND the community.
  • Department utilizes civilians.
  • Technology gives them accurate data

to analyze trends and

patterns of crime.

  • The policing manner

is respectful.

how to compare opd to cspd
How To Compare OPD to CSPD*


Population: 408,958 428,277

Area: 131 sq. miles 194 sq. miles

Police Dept: OPD CSPD

Sworn 786 688

Non-sworn 205 = 991 309 = 997

911 Calls 229,933 295,517

Budget $98,765,052. $85,989,131

* All data based on comparison of 2010 OPD Annual Report and 2010 CSPD Annual Report

contemporary policing relies on pop
Contemporary Policing Relies on “POP”

Herman Goldstein developed “Problem Oriented Policing” in 1979, focusing on analytical responses to crime.

The Center for POP opened in 2001.

POP is now the standard for policing.

what is pop
What is POP?

Old-fashioned policing does not solve the root problem of crime or community problems; POP addresses root problem;

Individual police officers have a wealth of

under utilized community knowledge

and ideas on how to solve immediate


Community needs to be involved in solving


Analytical problem-solving model, monitored with rigorous data collection.

compare crime solving at opd and cspd
Compare Crime-solving AT OPD And CSPD

OPD: Problem – gun violence.

OPD: Solution – more random patrols,

more police presence,

more random traffic stops,

little community




ineffective policing.

now look at cspd
Now Look At CSPD
  • CSPD: Problem – any community problem (homelessness, downtown crime, car theft, metal theft, etc.).
  • CSPD: Solution - District Sgt. identifies problem,

enlists two officers and meets with

stakeholders in community,

brainstorm solutions.

  • District Sgt. develops response,

implements solution, measures


  • Successful POP projects rewarded by promotions

solidifying this important department value.

compare opd to cspd
Compare OPD to CSPD
  • OPD still uses random patrols and response time.
  • CSPD is well-trained,

well-educated, well-staffed,

and well-organized. It is forward

thinking, problem solving, innovative,

and pro-active. The use of both

COPS and POP strategies and tactics

is widespread. CSPD engages with

COPS and POP strategies.

what do the differences look like
What Do The Differences Look Like

OPD has little useful or available information to draw comparisons – it is a closed, opaque department. No data.

OPD does not do department-wide surveys, so we do not know their courtesy rating – it does not effectively use community policing strategies. No feedback.

OPD uses little or no social media, electronic, or digital technology to communicate with the public. No connection.

opd is an out of date department
OPD Is An Out-of-Date Department

OPD’s community outreach, education, or partnering are minimal.

OPD’s volunteer services are not converted into savings.

OPD has NO POP projects or strategies in play.

compare opd to cspd1
Compare OPD to CSPD

CSPD is a dynamic part of the community – the department is welcome and a part of all community events.

CSPD has a 94% courtesy rating based on community surveys.

CSPD utilizes civilians and non-sworn officers.

cspd is a smart police department
CSPD Is A Smart Police Department

CSPD widely uses volunteers – in 2010, 352 volunteers contributed 47,396 hours of work valued at $959,754.61.

CSPD is on Facebook and Twitter, has an award-winning webpage, and has libraries of helpful PSA’s videos and information to provide the community.

CSPD has hundreds of successful POP projects.

cspd provides and partners with a multitude of community services and providers
CSPD Provides and Partners With A Multitude Of Community Services And Providers

Bicycle Registration / Document Valuables

Business Watch

Child Occupant Protection Program

Citizen Advisory Committees

Citizens Academy

Crime Prevention

Crime Stoppers

Drive Smart

DUI Enforcement

Explorer (Cadets) Program


Identity Theft

Impound / Vehicle Auction

Internet Crimes Against Children

Lock & Pocket Your Keys

Neighborhood Watch

Parent Resources

Property / Evidence

Refuse To Be A Victim

Ride Friendly Program

Senior Victim Assistance Team (SVAT)

Special Events

Suspicious Activity

Victim Advocacy Unit

Victim Advocacy Unit - Espanol


Mission Statement

"Our mission is to promote the quality of life in Colorado Springs by providing police serviceswith integrity and a spirit of excellence, in partnership with our Community."

Department Values

We believe that we (the Police) derive our powers from the people we serve. We will never tolerate the abuse of our police powers. We recognize that our personal conduct, both on and off duty, is inseparable from the professional reputation of the Police Department. We are committed to protecting the constitutional rights of all individuals. We view the people of our community as our customers who deserve our concern, care, and attention.

We support an organizational climate of mutual trust, and respect for one another. We encourage the pursuit of higher education by our employees. We are committed to contributing to the advancement of the Police profession.

cspd police operations what works
CSPD Police Operations – What Works

Civilians: CSPD has wisely allowed many expensive sworn officers to retire and have replaced

them with as many civilian and

non-sworn officers as safely possible.

CSPD has a civilian Commander in

charge of Management Services,

numerous civilian employees,

and non-sworn officers.

For instance:

the use of more non sworn officers
The Use Of More Non-Sworn Officers

Community Service Officer Program

Community Service Officers (CSOs) are specially trained, non-sworn personnel who perform some non-critical duties.

CSOs handle primarily cold calls that do not involve viable suspect information or injuries.

CSOs free up a significant amount of time for sworn personnel to respond to high priority.

CSOs result in a cost savings to the department and the City of Colorado Springs.

cso officers and cruiser
CSO Officers and Cruiser

CSO cruisers and officers are distinctively identified by the cruiser markings and uniform. Also note a Code Enforce-

ment unit and a regular cruiser denoting

the various assignments.

here s how pop works at cspd
Here’s How POP Works At CSPD

POP Projects: Downtown Area Response Team (DART)

In response to increasing gang activity and violence in 2009 in the downtown area (DTA), a pilot project was initiated with a sergeant and two police officers.

dart is pop in action
DART Is POP In Action

The Sergeant and Officers conducted over 150 community contactscreating relationships with the bar owners, managers, bouncers, and bartenders.

CSPD hosted monthly multidimensional meetings with stakeholders in the downtown clubs like cab companies, non-profit entities, and military personnel.

Planning sessions were held to create a new vision for the success of downtown.

The downtown officers also enlisted the help of the Fort Carson Department of Emergency Services.

dart project expands
DART Project Expands
  • The Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division recognized CSPD officers at the quarterly awards ceremony at Fort Carson.
  • And the Colorado Springs Police Department was nationally recognized by receiving the 2010 International Association

of Chiefs

of Police-DynCorp International

Civilian Law Enforcement

Military Cooperation Award.

another award winning policing program
Another Award Winning Policing Program

The DART Project, nationally recognized by an IACP Award, partnered CSPD with downtown merchants and military command to make downtown Colorado Springs safer:

another cspd pop project
Another CSPD POP Project

Homeless Outreach Team (HOT)

Since June 2008, the City of Colorado Springs experienced a dramatic increase in the number of homeless camps on public land adjacent to recreational trails and creek beds. The number of homeless individuals living in tents swelled to over 500.

homeless outreach team hot
Homeless Outreach Team (HOT)
  • HOT consisted of three officers.
  • HOT coordinated efforts among advocacy groups, shelters, and service providers to get services to the homeless community.
  • RESULTS: most of the homeless camp areas have been cleaned up and no arrests have been made for “homelessness.”
  • HOT helped non-profits shelter 304 families and helped 176 individuals to reunite with families out-of-state.
cspd improves the quality of life
CSPD Improves The Quality of Life

HOT documented 155 people becoming employed and self-sufficient. HOT has made 3,585 outreach contacts and 82,968 referrals.

HOT participated in 44

clean-ups of vacant camps with

Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful,

a local non-profit


HOT has made 57 felony and

168 misdemeanor arrests.

cspd wins prestigious international award
CSPD Wins Prestigious International Award

HOT won the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing 2010 International Herman Goldstein Award For Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing and the Colorado Springs City Council recognized their efforts with a Resolution of Appreciation.

t he list of innovations goes on in other units
The List of Innovations Goes On In Other Units

Grants, Planning & Research Unit:

- In 2010, alone, applied for 31 grants and received $2.6 million and administered 50 grants;

- Conducted and provided research on numerous topics, including using

Civilian Investigators in

the Internal Affairs Unit

and how to operate a

Public Safety Volunteer


cspd monitors accountability
CSPD Monitors Accountability

Internal Affairs Unit:

- In 2010, conducted 299 Level I complaints, down from 305 in 2009 and 346 in 2008. Level I complaints are more informal, can only result in a 2-year reprimand, and may be resolved by mediation;

- In 2010, this unit conducted 23 Level II investigations. These are more serious matters and may result in termination. These investigations have been sustained at a rate of nearly 90% in recent years;

- In 2010, this unit also tracked department-wide awards: 723 awards were given to sworn personnel and 72 awards were given to civilian personnel.

more cspd accomplishments
More CSPD Accomplishments

Communications Center:

- The 911 Communications Center was re-accredited by its accrediting agency, IAED;

- CSPD’s Communication Center was the 18th in the world to be awarded the highest distinction from the IAED for Medical Priority Dispatch.

cspd emphasizes training
CSPD Emphasizes Training

Training Unit:

- In 2010, this unit provided 40 in service sessions where 575 sworn personnel were in attendance;

- Topics covered included: American CPR, Emotionally Disturbed Persons, Excited Delirium, PTSD, Tasers, Photo Line-Ups, Show-Ups, Handcuffing, Control Holds and Takedowns;

- In 2010, this unit also conducted 8 hours of in- service training for civilian personnel. This training focused on customer service, communications, and leadership.

and more units report in
And More Units Report In

These examples only scratch the surface of the level of achievement CSPD’s Annual Report recounts in nearly 70 pages. Many of the other traditional units like, Gang, Graffiti, Robbery, DUI etc., likewise have similar accomplishments to report. See, below.

and more units report in this single year
And More Units Report In This Single Year

Grants, Planning and Research

Internal Affairs

Training Academy

Public Information Office

Social Media

Citizens’ Academy

Explorer Program

Communications Center

Community Service Officer Program

Crime Prevention Officer

GangNet Unit

License Plate Reader Unit

Liquor Enforcement

Property Crimes Unit

Traffic Unit

Downtown Area

Response Team (DART)

Homeless Outreach Team (HOT)

Copper Thefts Unit

Burglary Pattern Unit

Drugs and Counterfeit Money Unit

Guns, Drugs, and Human

Trafficking Unit

Sex Offenders Unit

Aggravated Robbery and Stolen Vehicles Unit

Guns and Money from Robbery Unit

Crowd Control Team

DUI Checkpoint

Digital Voice Recorders

for Patrol Officers Report

Financial Crimes Unit

COCCA Case Unit

Fort Carson Soldier Arrested for Ponzi Scam Report

Pawn Unit

The Colorado Internet Crimes

Against Children (ICAC) Task Force

Computer Forensic Unit

and more units
And More Units . . .

Homicide/Assault Unit

The Robbery Unit

Victim Advocacy Unit

Crime Stoppers

Strategic Information Center

Metro Crime Laboratory

Family Crimes Unit

Volunteer Services

Evidence Unit

Records & Identification Section

Liquor Enforcement Unit

Special Enforcement Unit

Undercover Narcotics Operations

Public Safety Event Unit

Seizure/Forfeiture Unit

Protective Security Section

Airport Police Unit

Marshals Unit

Photo Enforcement

Tactical Operations Section

Unit Canine Unit (K-9)

Colorado Springs

Regional Explosives Unit

COMMIT (Community Impact Team)

Code Enforcement Unit

Graffiti Removal Program

Parking Enforcement Unit (PEU)

Handicap Parking

Enforcement Unit

Motorcycle Unit

Special Events Coordinator

Major Accident Unit (MAU)

Civilian Military Policing Collaborative

facilities fleet and capitol improvements
Facilities, Fleet, and Capitol Improvements

With all of these examples of excellence, what about the condition of equipment, facilities, technology etc. at CSPD. Take a look:

final checklist
Final Checklist


Community Policing Yes No

Good Community Relations Yes No

Up-to-Date Technology Yes No

Modern Facilities Yes No

40 Hours In-service Per Year Yes No

Expansive Civilian Personnel Yes No

Volunteer Savings Captured Yes No

Effective Internal Affairs Yes No

Implements POP Projects Yes No

Transparent and Accountable Yes No

Award-winning Yes No


CSPD polices a slightly larger population than OPD does.

And patrols nearly 60 more square miles than OPD.

CSPD answers nearly 65,000 more calls for service than OPD.

CSPD employs over 100 more civilian personnel and nearly 100 fewer sworn officers than OPD.

CSPD’s facilities, fleets, technology, and equipment are modern and up-to-date.

CSPD’s training far exceeds OPD.

CSPD partners with its community and uses both COPS and POP strategies.

CSPD has award winning services.


questions and actions
Questions And Actions

Why doesn’t OPD resemble CSPD?

Are more police departments like OPD or CSPD?

What about the departments in OPD’s labor array?

If we are quantitatively compared to other departments, then why isn’t there a qualitative comparison too?

Is Omaha getting the policing it is paying for?

If not, why not?

Where do we go from here?

suggested readings
Suggested Readings







Nashville Report

Pasadena Report

more readings of interest
More Readings of Interest

Portland Report

New Orleans Police Report

Police Discipline Report

PERF Report

http://lincoln.ne.gov/city/police/documents.htm See, Lincoln Police Department Five Year Strategic Plan

about the author
About The Author

Tristan Bonn is an attorney and an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice at Buena Vista University in Iowa. She has a B.A. from the University of Arizona, a Masters in History from the University of Colorado, and a J.D. from Creighton University.

From 2001 through 2006, she was the first and only Police Auditor for the City of Omaha. She was fired by Mayor Fahey for releasing a report critical of the Omaha Police Department.

Currently, she speaks frequently about smart policing and civilian oversight.