For Immediate Release
June 1, 2015
CONTACT: Mary Brandenberger
TAMPA, FLORIDA - The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services last week completed its first site visit with the Tampa Police Department as part of the police department's request for technical assistance.
In May, the Tampa Police Department requested the COPS Office conduct an assessment to identify whether racial disparities exist in its stop data and issuance of tickets, determine the reasons behind any disparities and provide policy recommendations to address such.
The COPS Office has partnered with the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation, the technical assistance provider for the Tampa project and identified Greg Ridgeway, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the M.S. Program in Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, and former acting director of the U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Justice, as the team lead.
The preliminary visit was an opportunity for the assessment team to begin to conduct initial interviews with Tampa Police Department personnel, review stop and ticketing data, assess data availability and gather and review relevant policies and procedures.
The team will return to Tampa in the next month to meet with community members and other stakeholders. “Obtaining community input and feedback is a critical part of our assessment,” said COPS Office Director Ronald Davis.
The project will also examine the policies related to stops and ticketing and provide recommendations for implementing industry best practices and ensuring the police department is engaged in constitutional policing.
The critical response initiative is a grant program within the COPS Office designed to provide immediate assistance to agencies facing crisis. CR-TA has been deployed in jurisdictions such as Ferguson, Mo., Detroit, Mich., Seattle, Wash., New Orleans, La., San Diego, Calif. and Pasco, Wash.
The COPS Office, headed by Director Ronald Davis, is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 126,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance. For additional information about COPS, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.