Johns Hopkins Gazette: July 7 1997

On Community:
Police Partnership
Receives $1 Million
For New Institute

Karen Fay
Special to The Gazette
Johns Hopkins University, in partnership with local law enforcement agencies and community organizations, has been awarded $1 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to establish the Mid-Atlantic Regional Community Policing Institute.

The partnership includes the Baltimore City Police Department, Maryland State Police, Metropolitan D.C. Police, major county police departments in the Baltimore/Washington area, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the district of Maryland, Citizens Planning and Housing Association, and the Maryland Sheriff's Association.

The institute will serve Maryland, the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Delaware as well as parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

"This project represents a coming together of a group of skilled, concerned police chiefs, sheriffs, community leaders and educators. It's an exciting partnership. Most programs do not have the breadth of community involvement that will be displayed in the Mid-Atlantic Institute," says Sheldon Greenberg, director of the Police Executive Leadership Program offered by the School of Continuing Studies.

The institute will be overseen by a board of directors made up of representatives from Johns Hopkins, law enforcement executives and community leaders throughout the region. It will provide education and training to approximately 3,400 police employees and community leaders during the coming year.

In addition, the institute will support initiatives in community policing, including a regional problem-solving clearinghouse; the Maryland Community Policing Academy; and a yearlong series of workshops, seminars and courses on diverse topics, such as understanding and alleviating community fear and infusing integrity in community policing.

"Strong police leadership ensures the quality of our communities," says Stanley C. Gabor, dean of the School of Continuing Studies. "We are enthusiastic about the opportunity this grant provides us in helping to support and shape new community policing initiatives."

"Law enforcement agencies in the Maryland and D.C. area continue to take the lead--through innovation and experimentation--in improving the quality of police services provided to our communities. This grant represents partnership efforts to expand traditional police service in as many as 12 new areas, such as regional crime analysis and the problem-solving clearinghouse, as well as joint educational programs for police and the public," Greenberg says.

"The joint programs will help to dispel some of the common misper-ceptions about police work for citizens and community leaders and give them the opportunity to learn side by side with law enforcement officers," he explains.

Another aspect of the institute, the regional problem-solving clearinghouse, will allow police officers facing similar problems to help each other without leaving their own jurisdictions. Essentially, the clearinghouse is a database of information on neighborhood crime problems successfully addressed in the region. Police officers enter information into the database on various problems they encounter. Any other officer in the region facing a similar problem simply calls a toll-free number or accesses the clearinghouse on the Internet.

"If a Washington, D.C., officer deals with a vacant house that is a nuisance and public health problem, he or she enters the experience into the database. An officer in Anne Arundel County or southwest Baltimore County who has a similar situation with a vacant house can gain insight into how the D.C. officer dealt successfully with problem," Greenberg says. "The clearinghouse prevents police officers from reinventing the wheel when they get a call for service. It also provides a higher level of interaction among officers throughout the region."

Some 35 sites in 29 states have received more than $33 million in total funding to develop community policing institutes throughout the country.

"The aim of the Justice Department's effort is to forge a national community policing network based on these institutes. Each one is built on a theme or purpose. The theme of the Mid-Atlantic Institute is ethics and integrity in police service," Greenberg says. "As more and more law enforcement agencies have adopted community policing, we have seen crime rates decrease throughout the country," says Joseph E. Brann, director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services in the U.S. Department of Justice. "These regional institutes will be the vanguard for not only perpetuating community policing, but developing it to meet the law enforcement needs of the new millennium."

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