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Forums

We bring you and your colleagues together to work on the leading challenges confronting the law enforcement field. At our forums, we work collectively to identify root causes, develop solutions and initiate the partnerships needed to be successful. Take a look at the forums below to see the key issues we've been working on in 2016.

21st Century Policing as an Effective Risk Management Tool
December 7, 2016 • Washington, DC

When President Obama established the Task Force on 21st Century Policing he asked the Task Force to identify best practices and offer recommendations on how policing practices can promote effective crime reduction – also a goal of risk management – while building public trust. As part of the Department of Justice's ongoing efforts to advance the recommendations of the Task Force, the COPS Office is bringing together city and county attorneys, municipal insurance pools, city and county managers, and national criminal justice stakeholders to discuss the critical relationship between risk management and 21st Century Policing.

Youth and Police: Finding Common Ground Forum
October 5, 2016 • Howard University

The COPS Office and Howard University hosted the “Youth and Police: Finding Common Ground” forum on October 5, 2016 at Howard University as part of Community Policing Week. Law enforcement executives, supervisors, and line officers were joined by undergraduate and graduate students from Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Participants had candid discussions on many topics ranging from how police define "resistance" to police legitimacy to recruitment and retention. Following the meeting between students and law enforcement, there was a Town Hall with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in which students asked the Attorney General questions. A summary of the forum discussions and outcomes will be made available, please check back soon.

Law Enforcement and Canine Encounters Forum
September 21, 2016 • Washington, DC

The COPS Office, in partnership with Strategic Applications International (SAI), hosted the “Law Enforcement and Canine Encounters” forum on September 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. The forum was an opportunity for law enforcement, animal control organizations, and subject matter experts to discuss best practices and effective communication strategies to ensure the safety of officers and the public during canine encounters.

The forum focused on effective strategies for the proper handling of canine-related encounters to ensure safety of officers, the public, and dogs during every call for service. Participants reiterated that it is essential for law enforcement to communicate effectively with the public to maintain trust and transparency, partner with animal control and advocacy groups for resources, and use non-lethal strategies for canine encounters.

The COPS Office partners with National Sheriff's Association (NSA) on law enforcement encounters with canines and animal abuse, and John Thompson (Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of NSA and the founder of the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse) provided information about their work to counter animal abuse in the country.

COPS Office Director Davis closed the forum by discussing the importance of law enforcement in making informed decisions that lead to positive results in all community interactions.

Highlights:
  • Officer David Gomez and Chief Jeff Lavey of the Meridian Police Department (ID) presented their work on canine encounters training and discussed the body camera footage of Officer Gomez effectively handling an encounter with two aggressive canines.
  • Jim Crosby of the National Coalition on Violence Against Animals and a retired police lieutenant, conducted a midday presentation on canine encounters with law enforcement. Crosby described the new place of animals as families members and stressed the importance of risk management in canine encounters as an investment in community trust and legitimacy for law enforcement.

For additional information about the topic, please see The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters

Hiring for the 21st Century Law Enforcement Officer
September 13, 2016 • Washington, DC

On September 13, the COPS Office, in partnership with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), hosted the “Hiring for the 21st Century Law Enforcement Officer” forum to discuss the hiring policies and practices that will ensure candidates have the skills and qualifications necessary to be a 21st Century law enforcement officer. The discussion, which included law enforcement executives and staff, academia, advocates and subject matter experts, covered physical and psychological screening, assessment practices, comprehensive background investigations, educational requirements, issues that impact the selection process, and policies and procedures that support the hiring and retention of the best qualified officers.

Highlights:
  • COPS Office Director Ronald L. Davis emphasized diversity and hiring individuals with a commitment to civil service, and strong communication skills.
  • Major Dawn Layman, President of the National Association of Women in Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE), stressed grass roots efforts in hiring officers and deputies and explained that “women in law enforcement only represent 12-13% and less than 2% are in positions of Chief or Sheriff.”
  • Speaker Ronald Honberg of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) discussed the exposure to trauma that front line officers face daily and stated that “very few understand the day-to-day challenge of law enforcement.”
  • Law enforcement executives, including Major James Handley of the Baltimore Police Department (MD) and Assistant Chief Robert Contee III of DC Metropolitan Police Department, described efforts to hire residents who have knowledge and understanding of local communities.
Law Enforcement Recruitment in the 21st Century
August 31, 2016 • Washington, DC

The COPS Office, in partnership with Strategic Applications International (SAI), hosted the “Law Enforcement Recruitment in the 21st Century” Forum on August 31, 2016 in Washington DC. The forum was an opportunity for law enforcement executives, community leaders and advocates, civil rights organizations, researchers, and subject matter experts to strategize and identify the most successful best practices for attracting diverse applicants to serve in law enforcement.

Neil Eggleston, White House Counsel, provided opening remarks about the ongoing commitment of the Obama Administration to law enforcement and policing in the 21st century. Forum participants affirmed that diversity in the workforce has far reaching positive implications on recruitment, retention, competitiveness, innovation, and problem-solving in law enforcement. For many communities, having a police department or sheriff's office that reflects the diversity of their community is an important part to building trust and strengthening relationships.

Dr. Elsie Scott, Director of the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center at Howard University, presented information on a Howard University research project on diversity in law enforcement and Jose Lopez, Lead Organizer of Make the Road New York and Member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, stressed that law enforcement is one component of a public safety network that works to make our communities safe and secure.

LGBTQ Forum
July 21, 2016 • Washington, DC

The "Gender, Sexuality, and 21st Century Policing: Protecting the Rights of the LGBTQ + People" Forum was hosted by the COPS office on July 21, 2016 in Washington, DC and included police executives, subject matter experts, and advocates from across the country. Participants discussed specific strategies and best practices for collaboration between law enforcement and the LGBTQ + community, as well as the barriers and challenges related to interaction with law enforcement and issues of bias and implicit bias. Speakers at the forum included Karol Mason, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, Vanita Gupta, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, and Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Esq., White House Advisor on Violence Against Women.

For information on law enforcement response to LGBTQ + Crimes and Victimization, please see Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: A roundtable discussion.

Opioid Forum
April 27, 2016 • Washington, DC

The “Law Enforcement and Public Health: Successful Partnerships in Addressing Opioid Use Forum” was hosted by the COPS office, in partnership with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), in Washington, DC on April 27, 2016. The forum included advocates, civil rights organizations, public health agencies, law enforcement executive and academia. Participants discussed partnerships for treatment and recovery; the use of naloxone deployment programs and best practices to mitigate injection drug use; and improving access to data and intelligence between law enforcement and public health services.

ONDCP Director Michael Botticelli and COPS Director Ronald L. Davis highlighted the partnership between their agencies to facilitate efforts to address opioid use in this country.

Rank and File Forum
April 22, 2016 • Washington, DC

Attorney General Loretta Lynch with participants
at the Rank & File Forum

Over 40 officers representing police departments and sheriff’s offices from across the country attended the “Rank and File Forum” held by the COPS Office, in partnership with Strategic Applications International (SAI), on April 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Discussions focused on officer safety and wellness, community and police relationships, and strategies for implementing the recommendations outlined in the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates made opening remarks at the forum and Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General discussed the work of the Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch gave closing remarks for the event and had an opportunity to take questions and engage with officers around the issues of officer safety and wellness as well as community engagement. Attorney General Lynch remarked “[The DOJ] really needs to hear from [those of you on the front lines everyday], those of you actively engaged in community policing, about...how it is going, but also what you need from us, what does help.”

Mass Demonstrations Forum
April 7, 2016 • Washington, DC

Police officers and executives, community advocates and academia came together with the COPS Office and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) on April 7, 2016 in Washington, DC to discuss “The Police Response to Mass Demonstrations.” The event focused on the changing nature of civil protests and the shifting philosophies that motivate protestors, as well as how best to adjust police responses to mass demonstrations.

Guest speaker Paul Monteiro, Acting Director, Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS) discussed the role and mission of CRS in facilitating solutions for community conflicts. Forum participants also addressed a number of issues including: the nature of civil protests; training and preparation for demonstrations; social media and communication; accountability and transparency; and promising practices for law enforcement agencies to adopt in their response to mass demonstrations.

A report on this is convening is forthcoming.

21st Century Policing in Post and Academy Training Forum
March 21, 2016 • Washington, DC

The COPS Office, the International Association of Directors for Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST), and Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) organizations came together to discuss the development of national training goals that support the recommendations of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The discussions explored the role of training in changing the culture of policing.

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston provided the keynote speech, noting that “The state POSTs are in a unique position to play the part of change agents by taking the Task Force's action items and incorporating them as fundamental components of basic recruit and in-service officer training.”