For Immediate Release
November 10, 2016
CONTACT: Najla Haywood
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - The Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) today announced the launch of an independent and comprehensive assessment of the Fort Pierce Police Department as part of its collaborative reform initiative. The review was requested by Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney after the April 2016 fatal police shooting of Demarcus Semer.
Fort Pierce Chief Russell Killinger of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and Chief Noble Wray, head of the COPS Office Policing Practices and Accountability Initiative joined Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson, City Manager Nick Mimms, and Chief Hobley-Burney to announce the launch of the collaborative reform process.
“With thoughtful consideration of the factors facing the Fort Pierce Police Department and the community at large, the COPS Office is pleased to announce this collaborative assessment,” said Chief Noble Wray. “During this process, we will identify strengths and weaknesses of the Fort Pierce Police Department and recommend opportunities to help the department build and maintain the confidence and trust of the Fort Pierce community.”
“I applaud the leaders of Fort Pierce for requesting the assistance of the COPS Office,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “Building and maintaining strong relationships between the community and law enforcement is extremely important to the citizens of Florida and we look forward to working closely with the COPS Office.”
The Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance is an independent and objective process to help transform law enforcement agencies through an analysis of policies, practices, training, tactics and accountability methods around key issues facing law enforcement today. Using subject matter experts, interviews and direct observations, as well as conducting extensive research and analysis, the COPS Office assists law enforcement agencies in enhancing and improving their policies and procedures, operating systems and professional culture.
The COPS Office will begin its initial assessment of the Fort Pierce Police Department immediately, and upon completion of the assessment phase, the COPS Office will release a report detailing the findings and specific recommendations to achieve best practices in 21st century policing. During the subsequent 18 months, the COPS Office will continue to work with the Fort Pierce Police Department to help implement the recommendations and will release a progress report and final report.
Fort Pierce is the 15th city in the nation to enter into the collaborative reform process.The COPS Office, headed by Director Ronald Davis, 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 approximately 129,000 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