Monday, February 27, 2017

Program Brings Kids, Cops Together to Build Relationships, Reduce Conflict

A promising new program is bringing Denver Police and local youth together to build relationships and trust and to decrease potential conflict.

"Bridging the Gap: Kids and Cops" is a program being implemented by the Office of the Independent Monitor through a grant from the Justice Assistance Grant Program administered by the Division of Criminal Justice’s Office of Adult and Juvenile Justice Assistance. 
Photo courtesy of  Kids and Cops

The project consists of two parts: training and relationship building. First, Denver Police officers complete an 8-hour training curriculum addressing youth development, disproportionate minority contact, and de-escalation techniques. The second part of the project focuses on youth/law enforcement relationship-building through a five-hour forum that brings young people and law enforcement together to train, engage and interact. The goal: to establish better relationships -- or at least respect amongst the two groups.

Police learn about youth development, adolescent development and implicit bias as it relates to dealing with youth. Simultaneously, youth participants receive training on their rights and responsibilities when stopped by law enforcement; they also learn about implicit bias. The young people and law enforcement then come together to develop a plan that addresses best practices for youth interacting with law enforcement and for law enforcement interacting with youth.

Since the program launched in 2014, it has arranged 13 forums with 454 youth participants. The forums are powerful tools. The program has already held several events, and evaluations show that the majority of participants leave with a better understanding and respect for one another.

“The most important would be that not all cops are the same. Every cop has a different story to them,” one youth participant reported.

An officer had this to say: “I had several “light bulb moments” during the forum. It was very valuable and exposed me to a different perspective.”

Read other testimonials from participants.

Kids and Cops has trained 85 community leaders in facilitation skills necessary to deliver the curriculum, 20 of which are youth and 80 of which are people of color. The program has trained 173 officers on adolescent development and de-escalation techniques with youth. Organizers estimate that the total number of youth reached through  the forums and workshops is close to 1,000. The program is on track to effectively engage at least 150 community leaders and organizations in 2017.

Program partners are hoping to see long-term benefits from the program, and will be working to measure its effectiveness. The University of Colorado Denver, School of Public Affairs is working with project staff to develop an instrument that will measure longer-term impact on future delinquency for the youth who receive the intervention in comparison to youth similarly situated who do not receive the intervention.

Around the State in 900 Days: Geitl Completes Appraisal of Every Single CDPS Location

If you were to guess how many locations the Department of Public Safety has around this state, what would you say? A few dozen? 75? 100?

Ed Gietl.
You might be surprised to learn that CDPS has 197 locations throughout Colorado -- and CDPS Liability and Risk Manager Ed Gietl has personally appraised every single one.

Over the course of two and a half years, Gietl made his way to each location in order to complete a CDPS facility appraisal. His travels took him as far as Loma in the west, Lamar in the east, Trinidad in the south and Sterling in the north -- as well as everything CDPS in between. At each location, he worked with CDPS members to document and appraise the electronic equipment, facility contents, and, if the building is owned by CDPS, the building itself.

The project, which Gietl began in May 2014 and completed in December 2016, ensures that CDPS and the State Risk Management office have accurate documentation of CDPS assets for insurance purposes. Gietl embarked on the project after the devastating floods of 2013 underscored the importance of having accurate asset documentation in preparation for catastrophic losses such as those caused by floods, tornadoes and fires.

His multi-year project identified a total of $152 million worth of insured value in CDPS assets.

Gietl made good use of his visits to each location: in addition to completing the appraisals, he looked for ways to improve safety and reduce risk and liability at each location. In many cases, he was able to recommend quick and simple fixes that location managers could immediately implement to reduce their risk, such as moving flammable liquids, boxes and ammunition stored too close to electrical or heat sources, or putting padlocks on exterior electrical boxes to deter vandals. In other instances, he provided written support for much-needed safety improvements ranging from replenishing depleted fire extinguishers and fixing maintenance issues that were contributing to icy sidewalks, to addressing rodent and insect infestation.

The Lakewood-based risk assessor also used the visits to build relationships with CDPS members who may not have much contact with CDPS headquarters.

“It’s been really neat. I’ve met so many great CDPS members I otherwise wouldn’t have met,” Gietl said. “I genuinely enjoyed getting to know our employees and talking to them.”

Although the multi-year appraisal project is now complete, Gietl said the work doesn't stop here: now that we have an accurate appraisal for all 197 locations, it's important to keep that information up-to-date. "Our work is not done: we're asking location managers that if they purchase something worth $500 or more or move into or out of current locations, that they notify Logistics or me so that we can update their records as well as State Risk Management's."

Friday, February 24, 2017

Shift to New Credentialing System is in Full Swing Statewide

You may have noticed a new look to your CDPS colleague’s ID badges -- or, indeed, to your own. The Department is well on its way towards implementing badges that are standardized not only across the Department, but aligned with agencies throughout the entire state and many portions of the country. 

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) launched the “Salamander” project in 2014 to deploy a statewide, standardized identification system for first responders and state agencies. In July 2016, we began implementing the system within CDPS. Thus far CBI, DCJ and DHSEM have reached 100% or near-complete deployment of the system; the EDO, DFPC and State Patrol are in various stages of collecting and cleaning up data in preparation for the rollout. 

“The goal is to have a standardized identification system across all levels of government and all levels of response,” said Jeremy Utter, Logistics Section Chief for DHSEM and manager of the project. 

Standardization makes it easier to quickly identify credentialed staff and their roles because all ID badges have a similar look and informational layout. Having all agencies on the same credentialing system makes multi-agency staffing tracking more efficient: anyone from an agency already using Salamander can simply swipe their existing badge to check in or check out of an incident, while those without a Salamander badge can have one printed on-site. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, “it enhances accountability -- not only for safety, but also financial accountability,” Utter said. Individuals working an incident can easily check in and check out via the web-based system, enabling the state or local incident command to track hours contributed and who is currently on the job.

As of Feb. 24, DHSEM has successfully enrolled 14,130 Colorado personnel in the Salamander system, representing about 1,000 agencies. Most of the agencies are local emergency response organizations, including governmental agencies and nonprofits. 

Read more about the New ID badges and their benefits from our initial announcement. 

DHSEM launches database to mobilize private-sector resources during disasters

During the Colorado Emergency Management Conference on Feb. 28, DHSEM and the Colorado Emergency Preparedness Partnership (CEPP) will debut a new platform to help better connect local communities with business-sector resources during disasters.

The new platform is an online database called CO-ASSIST, which stands for Coloradans Available to Assist and Support Incidents Statewide Today. The database enables private businesses to register in advance of disasters to describe what resources and services they offer, along with critical contact information.

DHSEM Logistics Section Chief Jeremy Utter compares the new tool to a more narrow and helpful form of a Google search or phone book directory that will enable local or state emergency managers to quickly locate businesses offering specific capabilities
in Colorado.

DHSEM and CEPP staff worked with various stakeholders to develop a platform that would be user-friendly and meet the needs of both businesses (private sector) and emergency managers (public sector). Businesses will be able to register the resources and services they offer and provide their 24-hour contact information, billing information and geographic service area. They also select a category for the type of service/product available, such as generators, water, sanitation, portable facilities, etc.

“It will help us to find resources faster if these vendors have pre-registered,” Utter explained. Previously, state or local emergency managers looking for specific resources might encounter delays initiating a contract for needed supplies or services because most public business listings only provide a phone number operational during normal business hours. “As we all know, disasters don’t follow a Monday-to-Friday, 8-to-5 schedule.”

The database also speeds things up by providing a known, interested vendors -- an improvement over emergency managers having to search for potential vendors and essentially cold-call them in the midst of a disaster.

CO-ASSIST is separate from and complementary to Help Colorado Now; whereas CO-ASSIST is a business directory of services and products, Help Colorado Now provides information on how to volunteer or donate in response to disasters.

CO-ASSIST is live at https://co-assist.state.co.us/.