To provide feedback on the Community Policing Dispatch, e-mail the editorial board at CPDispatch@usdoj.gov.
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
Following the 2012 school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, the Illinois State Police’s Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center (STIC) proposed expanding its already successful information -sharing programs to include school officials and school resource officers. This expansion was supported by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force.
The School Safety Information Sharing Program at Illinois’ STIC is stepping into its fifth year of viability. Though periodic, self-imposed internal reviews have occurred for program effectiveness, this five-year marker encompasses a greater timeframe to discuss deliverables and outcomes for optimal and continued success. It is important to review and analyze past events with continued due diligence for present indicators and future preparedness of the force multiplier: information sharing. The School Intelligence Officer (SIO) is the focal point and conduit who accomplishes these tasks and coordinates program membership.
Violence occurs at schools and campuses across the country. An adept program is necessary to glean intelligence for analysis and purpose-of-use for future response and security approaches. Tracked events and information shared with program members can impact both current and future planning and decision-making. Strategies that are dynamic and attuned to these events build on lessons learned and cultivate adaptable approaches with real-world application that are key to program cogency.
As part of the larger macrocosm that comprises the STIC Public Safety Group, the School Safety Information Sharing Program shares information with other programs to include infrastructure security, fire service, emergency management, cyber security, public health, and disaster intelligence. Shared information demonstrates its merit through proactive approaches that keep partners engaged. A key aspect that opens these silos of sector information is the “mashing” of collective, multi-discipline data. Being a part of these programs provides access to an array of intelligence that would not be available otherwise.
There are two exclusive features to the Illinois STIC program that paint broad strokes over the educational stages palette. The first feature is membership representation from K-12 schools and college campuses. The second feature consists of the types and trends of information shared via the STIC. Both aspects enhance scope and coverage of an information continuum for parties engaged in the program. In return, these members serve as consumers, collaborators, and contributors to a broader multi-discipline continuum.
Target Members for the Program include:
Reasons to Join:
Which Can You Be?
An Interview with Randy Allen, Director of Safety and Security, Ball-Chatham School District
This interview was conducted to capture how information is used by a practitioner/program member during daily operations, the value of the content, and the merits of membership.
Director Allen has a twofold standpoint, since he was first an SRO and now serves as Director of Safety and Security. Perspective and comments included:
Spotlighting Concerns - The Program is Listening
The following issues are examples of the buzz around school and campus safety and security that warrant attentiveness, further discussion, and proposed solutions.
The program has been built around fusion center standards and its viability can be attributed to being a part of this information- sharing body. The program’s sustainability can also be attributed to program partners who share mutual interests in safer students from safer and more secure schools and campuses. The program has the capability to bring the keepers of these undertakings together to comprise a tenacious, steadfast platform.
Challenges ahead include addressing the concerns that are still impacting schools and campuses as listed in Spotlighting Concerns – The Program is Listening. These “matters matter,” and need attention from a program perspective that brings practitioners together for discourse and problem solving. Additionally, the program requires attention for continued growth and successes. One way to evaluate continued growth and success is to conduct an internal gap analysis of program strategies for necessary changes, fine-tuned adjustments, or value-added approaches to information sharing. Another aspect of evaluation is to identify new methods to monitor the pulse of the program and measure the effectiveness of information shared. Pinpointing types of information to share and programmatically observing how all partners are engaged will determine what has been successful for maturity. Continued expansion of membership and timely dissemination of shared information will also allow for program growth.
The Community Policing (CP) model has evolved over time to keep instep with the changing dynamics of today’s communities. Community p olicing in schools is a slice of the bigger CP picture, at large. Authority awareness of the uniform effect, employing non-punitive techniques when acceptable, relating to students, and building relationships are all part of working in a school setting as well. CP also creates an atmosphere where safety and security are required to protect students and safeguard the academic environment, which will, in turn, help the community.
For the School Safety Information Sharing program as a whole, a forum should be convened with other states that have similar programs or no programs at all. The forum would be an opportunity to see what is happening across the country with other state programs, as well as build on the successes of others. It would also a chance to ignite interest and develop programs in states that do not yet have a structure. This will aid in seeking answers, solutions, and commitments to school and campus safety.
1.Montgomery, Rick; Williams, Mara Rose; and Ryan, Kelsey. (2017, December 10). Teen suicides are reaching record highs, forcing schools to ‘break the silence.’ The Kansas City Star. http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article188868759.html, Accessed on 12/18/2017.
2.What is a School Resource Officer? (n.d.). U.S. Department of Justice. https://cops.usdoj.gov/supportingsafeschools, Accessed on 12/18/2017.
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