For Immediate Release
May 10, 2016
CONTACT: Mary Brandenberger
PINE RIDGE, S.D. - The Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) today announced it will provide trauma training, strategic community policing planning, and related training to the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety through its Critical Response Technical Assistance program. This follows the state of emergency declared by Pine Ridge Indian Reservation officials in response to the increase in youth suicide over a 16-month period.
Between December 1, 2014 and March 23, 2015, the Pine Ridge Hospital treated an unprecedented number of patients younger than 19 years old who actively planned, attempted or committed suicide.
Today, the COPS Office technical assistance provider, the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI), began trauma training with the police department. “Armor Your Self: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” is being offered by VCPI and its partner organizations, the Law Enforcement Survival Institute and Copsalive.com.
“The services provided will assist local law enforcement as they deal with the trauma of youth suicides, build community policing practices, and strengthen trust in the community between the police department and the citizens it serves,” said COPS Office Director Ronald Davis. “The services provided by the COPS Office reaffirm the commitment of the Administration and the Department of Justice to our tribal nations.”
The request for assistance came from the Justice Department’s Pine Ridge Working Group following the increase in youth suicides and the state of emergency. The COPS Office will provide the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety the tools to recognize and respond to trauma and provide additional support to youth impacted by trauma. The COPS Office and VCPI will further work with the tribal agency to develop a comprehensive community policing plan that establishes the relationships necessary to combat this challenge, along with strengthening overall community and police relations.
The COPS Office will publish the community policing plan as a model plan for tribal agencies across the country. Officers will also have access to free online community policing training.
The Critical Response Technical Assistance program was designed to provide targeted technical assistance to law enforcement agencies dealing with high-profile events, major incidents or sensitive issues of varying need. Its goal is to institutionalize and operationalize community policing as a core fundamental philosophy for law enforcement agencies engaging their communities. It also aims to build community trust through positive community perception of law enforcement legitimacy and fairness.
The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, the COPS Office 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 127,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training and technical assistance. For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.