An Inaugural Year for the Caruth Police Institute at Dallas

After nearly 3 years of development, the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Police Institute (CPI) at Dallas, Texas, celebrated its first full year of operation at the close of 2009. Funded through an initial $9.5 million grant from the Communities Foundation of Texas, the CPI represents a powerful partnership between the city of Dallas (Dallas Police Department) and the University of North Texas at Dallas, with an additional relationship with the University of Texas at Dallas.

The CPI is located within the Dallas Police Department (DPD) Headquarters Building and is linked to the day-to-day operations of the DPD. The CPI provides the DPD with transformative leadership training and a strong research and analytical capacity to better understand crime and enforcement patterns. The CPI has the following five objectives:

  1. To identify and train a new generation of DPD leaders and develop innovative strategies for sustainable, positive outcomes in fighting crime, preventing victimization, and enhancing DPD core leadership. The Institute integrates the broad expertise of faculty members at the University of North Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at Dallas with DPD’s research and training requirements, thereby increasing capacity for excellent leadership and transformative change throughout the DPD ranks. The single most important accomplishment in 2009 began with the CPI’s first offering of executive training courses; the inaugural Lieutenant’s Leadership Series began in September and continued through February 2010. Twenty-four persons were selected from the 102 possible lieutenants within the department. Courses were held once a month for one week with lectures and instructors focusing on specific themes in policing. Students were expected to read current works on management and leadership, as well as attend lectures from national leaders in policing. Students explored topics ranging from the “politics of policing” to “liability and managing officer behavior” to “responding to contemporary police issues” such as terrorism, organized crime/cartels, and drug trafficking. The Dallas Police Department, through the Caruth Police Institute, has adopted a very unique approach to organizational development. With many departments sending individual officers to national training sites such as the FBI National Academy, PERF’s Senior Management Institute on Policing, and the like, the Dallas initiative attempts to not only develop individuals but also focuses on building cohort teams within the department at each level of supervision and management. In this manner, positive change impacting the entire organizational culture can occur much faster and be much more accepted as a new methodology or best practice in policing. Individual officers still attend national training venues; however, the focus of CPI is building core leadership teams that focus on the unique issues and problems confronting the city of Dallas.
  2. To provide the DPD with the capacity to solve complex problems, implement best policing practices, and evaluate agency performances. This think tank function of the Institute provides a forum for the DPD to solve complex management problems through discussion between police officers and university scholars, bringing to bear information from national best practices. The Institute serves as a laboratory, by comparing and measuring the effects of different crime-fighting approaches and/or strategies, testing innovative solutions to policing problems, and developing a national library on effective, evidence-based practices.
  3. To give direct assistance to other police and criminal justice agencies, particularly in Texas. The Institute provides general consulting and outreach services that enhance the reputation of the university and the Dallas Police Department. Consulting activity includes all forms of management and organizational development as applied to the criminal justice setting. In 2009, the CPI assisted a number of other police agencies throughout Texas, including El Paso, McKinney, Rowlett, North Richland Hills, and Irving.
  4. To showcase the city of Dallas and the DPD on the international level. As such, the Institute hosts international police agencies for training and leadership development when appropriate. In August, the Institute co-hosted the “Crimes Against Children Conference” attended by more than 3,000 international participants in Dallas. The CPI’s executive director conducted a 3-hour lecture on “Child Sex Slavery and International Human Trafficking: The Case of Southeast Asia,” attended by nearly 500 people. Stemming from this work, a strong relationship originally developed in the late 1990s with the country of Thailand continues to provide leadership training to members of the Royal Thai Ministry of Justice. CPI’s international efforts continue to grow with outreach activities planned in Poland, England, and France in 2010. The CPI also will be conducting a study with RAND Corporation, funded through a U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance grant in late 2009, focusing on lessons learned from international police agencies.
  5. To build stronger relationships between the Dallas Police Department and the private sector. Corporate entities are a significant part of the leadership development mission, providing mentoring programs and assistance in training. As the private sector becomes more acquainted with the Dallas Police Department, future partnerships aimed at reducing crime and preventing terrorism will be developed.

The Caruth Police Institute represents the future of American policing. By merging research and applications to better use human and financial resources within the DPD, the CPI aims to produce quality police professionals who understand best practices and the current, in policing. The entire process is aimed at not only improving the overall performance of the DPD but also highlighting the department as a national leader in policing.

Violent crime in Dallas dropped dramatically this past year (2009). An aggressive approach to individual beat policing focused on “guns, drugs, and gangs,” combined with a more strategic coordination among specialized units and a renewed focus on better leadership and training, constant research, and more directed intelligence-led efforts resulted in a murder rate of 13 per 100,000 residents—the lowest in more than 50 years! CPI will supply Dallas with highly trained leaders who will ensure that Dallas remains in the forefront of urban policing.

Indeed, 2009 truly marked the beginning of a new era for policing in Dallas. New and exciting projects are already underway for 2010 as the CPI begins to fulfill its primary mission statement:

To fulfill the complex research, educational, and leadership development needs of the Dallas Police Department; thereby enhancing public safety and better serving the community of Dallas and all of North Texas