Tallahassee Police Department: Improving Public Safety

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By: James Buechele
July 10, 2014

"The support will be there because this is what the community wants," said Tallahassee resident Mariah Williams.

She's lived on the corner of Colorado and Alabama Streets since 1977. She's seen her fair share of violence and drug dealing on her street and welcomes TPD's new five-point plan.

"Well I think the ball has started rolling and I think if we keep pushing forward, it will get there. It will get there."

Pastor Rudy Ferguson is part of the leadership council on gun violence. He says both city and community leaders need to make a united front against crime.

"I think it's an awesome beginning, a positive beginning to combat gun violence and any other criminal activities," said Ferguson.

Ferguson hopes to gain support from local leaders to improve the John G. Reilly Park. He says by adding more picnic tables and other features the park can become a destination for families instead of a liability.

"This park can symbolize unity. It can bring together people. It can also say to those who don't mean any good for our community that it won't be tolerated."

And as plans unfold, Williams says has only one goal in mind for the city of Tallahassee.

"I just want it to be a safer community."

By: Lanetra Bennett
July 10, 2014

The Tallahassee Police Chief has unveiled a five point plan to curb gun violence, and he's enlisting the help of the community.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo has been on the job now for a little more than six months. He says the initial evaluation period is over. He's heard the public outcry and input on recent violence in the community, and now he's leading a new charge in putting a stop to the violence.
"We don't need violence. We don't need more guns." Says, Tallahassee resident Wilson Barnes.

What Tallahassee needs, Police Chief Michael DeLeo says, is a long-term strategy. That's what he and other leaders have come up with.

The first of the five-point plan is addressing the ongoing challenges related to gun violence. A Community Leadership Council on Gun Violence has been formed to do that.

Barnes is one of the community members on the council to give ideas on community safety.

Barnes says, "It's a multi-faceted problem: educational skills, alcohol and drugs, some subcultural things in terms of gang violence. So, we have a lot of factors involved."

Six additional positions with the police department are approved to establish a Community Oriented Policing Squad and a Violent Crime Response Team. Chief DeLeo says, "It's going to be based on crime analysis and current data trends. If we're having one area that's having issues of armed robberies, that's where that squd's going to be working. They're not going to be a wait and see type unit. They're gong to be going out where we;re having problems right now."

Rounding out the five-point plan is a strategic plan, culture of procedural justice, and an Independent Policy Review.
The Independent Policy Review will assess use of force, internal affairs investigations and complaint resolution, confidential informants, and field training.

The first meeting the Community Leaderhip Council on Gun Violence is July 23rd.

News Release: TPD
July 10, 2014

Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo today shared a Five Point Plan for the Tallahassee Police Department, intended to lead towards a long-term strategy to enhance public safety in the community. They are as follows:

1. Community Leadership Council on Gun Violence
To address the ongoing challenges related to gun violence, we are working to create a Community Leadership Council. The Council will help identify programs, solutions and initiatives as part of a comprehensive community plan to address gun violence to include social, educational, neighborhood, business, religious and criminal justice perspectives. Their efforts will include reviewing research, offering feedback from a personal perspective, identifying resources, hearing community input, and crafting potential solutions. Once a plan is in place the council’s task will be to assist with program implementation and act as community advocates for reducing gun violence. Members of the Council are:

  • Wilson Barnes - Citizen/community advocate

  • Reggie Bouthilier - Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Government Liaison

  • Buck Chambers - Frenchtown business owner

  • Jack Campbell - Representing State Attorney Willie Meggs

  • Edward Clark - FAMU/FSU Researcher

  • Nancy Daniels - Public Defender for Second Judicial Circuit

  • Rudy Ferguson - Pastor New Birth Tabernacle

  • Captain Steve Harrelson - Representing Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell

  • Annie Harris - Frenchtown neighborhood representative/former educator

  • Betsy Henderson - Realtor/southside redevelopment

  • Pam Hightower - Leon County School administrator/former Bond Elementary School principal

  • Eva Mannings - Neighborhood leader/educator/mentor

  • Pamela Marsh - U.S. Attorney for Northern District of Florida

  • Heather Mitchell - United Way

  • Gloria Pugh - Southside business owner

  • Tynetta Rollins - Volunteer service provider/advocate for youth

2. Community Oriented Policing Squad / Violent Crime Response Team
TPD’s goal is to confront violent crime from a long term perspective, building relationships within city neighborhoods, as well as having the ability to aggressively address criminal activity wherever it occurs in the City. Two months ago a newly formed Community Policing Squad was deployed on Tallahassee’s south side to focus on building community partnerships and restoring a quality of life that has been lost because of protracted criminal activity. These officers ride bikes and walk throughout the neighborhood and are easily accessible to residents.

Through leadership from City Commissioners and the City Manager a significant step is being taken to address violence in Tallahassee. As part of the current budget process, the Commission has approved six additional police officer positions for Fiscal Year 2015 to help in the effort to reduce overall violence. The six additional positions will be used to create a Violent Crime Response Team, charged with confronting violence and targeting criminals throughout Tallahassee.

3. Strategic Plan
With these operational changes in place, the next step is development of a strategic plan that establishes direction and expected outcomes for all department activities. Development of the plan will involve representation of TPD members throughout all units and ranks, as well as critical input from community representatives. The plan will address operational priorities to include reducing overall crime in our community, identification of key areas for allocation of resources, and goals for personnel and organizational development.

4. Culture of Procedural Justice
A component of the strategic plan will include training and activities that cultivate a sense of respect and trust between all residents and TPD. Using a model of procedural justice the actions will be guided by fundamental fairness when dealing with people and the neutral application of legal principles. Department policies and procedures will be created and modified to follow community standards, ensure process transparency and consistency with best practices embraced by professional law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S.

5. Independent Policy Review
Included in our effort to align department policies with national best practices, TPD has contracted with the Police Executive Research Forum to review the department’s critical policies, procedures, and related training curricula. The detailed review will include several critical areas:

  • Use of force

  • Report writing

  • Internal affairs investigations/complaint resolution

  • High-risk operations

  • Special investigations and confidential informants

  • Field training program

The assessment will identify and document the department’s strengths and weaknesses relevant to critical policy areas. In addition, an assessment, to include member interviews and on-site reviews, will be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the department’s policy implementation training.

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