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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

December 2020 | Volume 13 | Issue 12

American law enforcement is a profession that continually evolves while adhering to the core mission of advancing public safety and the rule of law. New technology has made its way into the field, and departments have continued to identify innovative approaches to problems. The coronavirus pandemic has made policing even more difficult, but law enforcement officers and deputies have risen to the challenge. This month’s edition of the Dispatch highlights a few of the advances made in these areas.

Strategies for Agency Health During a Pandemic, Providing Care and Resources to the Homeless Population During COVID-19, and COVID-19 Lessons Learned for Correctional/Detention Facilities each provides information that can be of support as the country faces an increased threat from the virus this winter. Specifically, these articles showcase strategies used by various departments to help officers and deputies adapt to policing during this time. The strategies shared were identified by the National Sherriffs’ Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Metropolitan Nashville (Tennessee) Police Department under the COPS Office’s Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC).

Substance abuse continues to plague communities throughout the country. Improving the capacity of departments to implement new measures to combat illicit drug use is therefore an ongoing focus of the COPS Office, and Operation Helping Hand Takes Substance Abuse Services on the Road features an innovative approach implemented by Cumberland County, New Jersey, that provides direct personal intervention to substance abusers who have been unresponsive to treatment.

Sharing the Solutions: Police Partnerships, Homelessness, and Public Health details a joint effort by police and courts to more effectively respond to the public health needs of homeless populations. The Center for Court Innovation initiated this work in partnership with the COPS Office.

How to Fly Your Drone When It’s Thirty Below offers guidance from the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Police Department on how departments can continue to benefit from the advantages of unmanned aircraft systems during poor atmospheric conditions.

American law enforcement continues to evolve and develop increased capacity to serve and protect. During my tenure at the COPS Office, I have been witness to gains made in every aspect of the law enforcement profession, and I am pleased to have been part of driving these advances. Moreover, I am confident that the outstanding men and women who wear the badge will find new and effective methods for ensuring public safety and helping communities and individuals realize their full potential.


Phil Keith
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

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