One on One With… Director Carl Peed
Carl Peed was appointed director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (the COPS Office) in September 2001. With his long service coming to a close in January 2009, he sat down with Dispatch Associate Editor Amy Schapiro to reflect on his time at the COPS Office, the importance of community policing to law enforcement, and his plans for the future.
CP Dispatch: As you reflect back on your leadership of the COPS Office for the past 7 years, what are you most proud of?
Director Peed: The fact that the COPS Office still exists and is going strong, and, I share that accomplishment with the staff who have helped create this legacy. COPS has a good staff who are great advocates for the organization which has allowed me to focus on what we have done with our resources. Another factor is our independence. The way we are organized showed a sense of purpose and I give credit to President Bush for keeping the COPS Office in existence.
What influenced my grant-making strategy was September 11. I began my tenure at the COPS Office 1 week before that tragic day. Following the attacks, I called together a group of law enforcement executives and asked what we should do? They said we should be doing more community policing, that it was more important than ever. That meeting helped influence my grant-making strategy. During my tenure, several important projects and partnerships were established. A few months after September 11, the COPS Office funded the International Association of Chiefs of Police to hold a Criminal Intelligence Sharing Summit which led to the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan. Five years later, we held another summit to discuss the progress made and to set the course for the future. Cooperation among state, local, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies has increased tremendously since a symposium Police Executive Research Forum held as part of a COPS-funded executive session series focused on “Community Policing in a Security Conscious World.”
While partnership is a critical aspect of community policing, the COPS Office also established and enhanced partnerships with other government agencies—most notably with Maureen Baginski and the FBI, when she became the FBI’s first Executive Assistant Director for Intelligence; Ambassador Ted McNamara who leads the Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, Admiral Lee Metcalf at the Office of Global Maritime Situational Awareness, and Under Secretary Charlie Allen at the Department of Homeland Security.
Just as the police listen to their community, the COPS Office did the same thing. We listened to leaders from local law enforcement agencies and organizations and invested in areas like private-public security, less-than-lethal/conducted energy devices, police integrity, problem-solving, and intelligence led policing. Many of these projects have led to publications, including 73 Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, and the dissemination of more than 1 million COPS Office publications.
CP Dispatch: How important do you think the role of community policing is to homeland security?
Director Peed: Community policing is very important to homeland security. Protecting our nation begins in the jurisdictions around this country. Every officer has a role in homeland security.
CP Dispatch: If you were offer advice to law enforcement executives about how best to successful implement community policing what would you tell them?
Director Peed: To succeed, community policing needs to be an organizational philosophy not a program. The best community policing initiatives are the ones that take the umbrella approach. Under the community policing umbrella is a variety of strategies and tactics to address threats to public safety, including broken windows, zero-tolerance, CompStat, hot spots, situational crime prevention, third-party policing, and intelligence-led policing. We have broadened the definition of community policing to focus on crime and social disorder through the delivery of police services that includes aspects of traditional law enforcement, as well as prevention, problem-solving, community engagement, and partnerships. The community policing model balances reactive responses to calls for service with proactive problem-solving centered on the causes of crime and disorder. Community policing requires police and citizens to join together as partners in the course of both identifying and effectively addressing these issues. It also encompasses organizational transformation. When we embrace community policing completely we won’t need the term community policing because that will be good old-fashioned police work.
CP Dispatch: What would you like to see COPS accomplish in the future?
Director Peed: One of the biggest needs is for discretionary funding in spending authority so that the COPS Office can work with law enforcement to address emerging issues. The COPS Office is the best grant-making agency in the Department of Justice. Our funding goes directly to state and local law enforcement. We have provided more than $10 billion through grants to state and local law enforcement and have funded approximately 73 percent of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States.
CP Dispatch: What are your future plans?
Director Peed: In January I will retire from a career in public service, but I plan to stay involved with law enforcement topics and organizations through consulting and advocacy work.
From 2000 until he joined the COPS Office, Carl Peed served as Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As the leader of this statewide agency, Director Peed managed 2,700 employees and a $237 million budget.
As the sheriff of Fairfax County from 1990 to 1999, Director Peed gained national recognition for developing model policies and procedures in criminal justice administration. At the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office, he led a work force of 560 employees and managed a budget of $35 million. During his tenure as sheriff, Director Peed was instrumental in advancing new technologies to the criminal justice system.
Prior to his appointment as sheriff, Director Peed served as chief deputy to the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office. During his 20-year career on the force, he developed several national award-winning programs; and served as a consultant for the National Sheriff's Association, the American Correctional Association, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Director Peed holds a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He has also earned a certificate of Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Virginia. Director Peed served as a member of the Presidential Honor Guard during his service in the U.S. Army at Fort Myer, Virginia from 1970 to 1972.