Friday, October 16, 2015

Best Practices in Public Safety

Plainfield is engaged in two initiatives that will address community concerns about police use of force and accountability.  These initiatives, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and body cams, are welcomed by our Police Division because they increase officer safety as well as the safety of our residents.

Lets take CIT first.  This is an evidence based practice that started in Memphis, has spread across the nation and has taken root in Union County.  Plainfield police join officers from other municipalities alongside mental health practitioners and advocates in a week long, 40 hour training program.  Police and mental health stakeholders teach each other what they do so the can better collaborate to handle mental health crises.  Officers completing the course are certified  and become the "go to" people in their departments to respond to mental health crises. The lead agencies are the Prosecutors Office, Linden PD, Trinitas Medical Center and Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services (where I work).  Results are less use of force by police and less police and citizen injuries and deaths resulting from response to crisis calls.  More people dealing with a mental illness are referred for treatment instead of going into the criminal justice system.  Of course, violent offenders have to accept the legal consequences of their actions.  Plainfield sends officers to CIT, which is held at the Police Academy in Scotch Plains three or four times a year.

Body cams are a newer initiative and were well covered by Bernice Paglia's blog.  It is a positive reflection on the Plainfield police that we are participating in the pilot for body cams in Union County.  Credit goes to Mayor Adrian Mapp, Police Director Carl Riley and Union County Prosecutor Grace Park for their leadership.

Crime is down in Plainfield but we are not resting on our laurels. 

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