Here is a brief overview of some of our Community Policing Programs:
Citizen's Police Academy
Introduced in the South Precinct in 1994, the Citizen's Police Academy has now been introduced into each of the six precincts throughout the city. Enrollment in the Academy is open to all citizens and as its popularity has grown so has the waiting list for attending the ten week course.
The Citizen's Police Academy, which is held twice a week for two and a half hours, is led by officer/instructors from different bureaus within the Department. Topics covered include: Gang Awareness, Communications, Vehicle Theft, Crisis Intervention, Sex Crimes/Juvenile Abuse, Patrol Procedures, and Crime Prevention.
As Academy participants become more familiar with the operations of the Memphis Police Department they gain a better understanding of the problems and policies facing Memphis law enforcement officers.
Taking this new understanding a step further, many of the Citizen's Police Academy graduates become Precinct Goodwill Ambassadors. These Goodwill Ambassadors act as liaisons between the police and the community.
In 1999, the first Latin American Citizen's Police Academy was held, graduating 27 Ambassadors.
For information on attending a Citizen's Police Academy contact your local precinct.
Location: DARE/GREAT Office
The Office of Drug Education houses the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) and Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Units. These units consist of specially trained officers who teach school aged children to resist the temptations of taking drugs and joining gangs.
History of the MPD's DARE/GREAT Program
In the fall of 1994, the Memphis Police Department became a participant in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. D.A.R.E., which originated in Los Angeles in 1983, provides a core curriculum of 17 hour-long weekly lessons taught to fifth and sixth graders to strengthen their substance abuse prevention skills.
We began the program by first training and certifying eight of our officers to teach it. Their training consisted of an 80 hour two week session provided at our academy by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which manages the D.A.R.E. program statewide. After training and certification, the eight officers taught the program in nine Memphis City Schools for the first time in the fall of 1994. Over 800 students completed the program that term and received certificates acknowledging their accomplishment.
In the spring of 1995, four of those officers provided D.A.R.E. instruction in nine schools to over 700 students who graduated on May 30, 1995. In the fall, nine officers provided instruction in eleven schools to over 900 students who graduated during the week of December 11-15, 1995. The program will grow again in the 1996 spring semester, as instruction takes place in twenty-two city schools. Later in the year, additional officers will be trained to teach D.A.R.E.
The Memphis Police Department has also undertaken instruction in Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (G.R.E.A.T.). The G.R.E.A.T. program, which originated in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1991, provides a core curriculum of nine hour-long weekly sessions taught to seventh graders to strengthen their skills for coping with the constant pressures associated with street gangs. Under guidelines set up by the G.R.E.A.T. grant all officers will remain in their assigned schools for the full school year. This is also a valuable tool for creating positive rapport with the students within the community.
We began the G.R.E.A.T. program in Memphis in 1995 by initially certifying four officers to teach it. Later, four more officers were certified by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), which manages the program nationwide. In the spring of 1995, six officers taught the program in seven schools to over 1700 students. In the 1995 fall semester, seven officers taught it in eight schools to over 1750 students. During the summer of 1995 six weeklong G.R.E.A.T camps were held for boys and girls.
The G.R.E.A.T. program expanded in the 1996 spring semester, as instruction took place in fourteen city schools, and as additional officers were trained to teach it.
Critical Incident Services
In May of 1996, Former Director Winfrey announced the creation of the Critical Incident Services Program
(CIS) to establish a comprehensive stress management program for Police Services personnel. The CIS program utilizes officers as peer counselors under the auspices of trained psychologists for crisis debriefings.
Debriefing guidelines, both voluntary and mandatory, are being utilized to assist officers and police personnel after a crisis event. Experiences may include a traumatizing scene such as a critical injury or death of a child, accidents involving fatalities, events where an officer has been placed in extreme peril, and any officer involved shooting.
On one occasion the CIS program provided much needed services to several officers during a traumatic and critical event in which a fellow officer was slain in the line of duty.
Since the inception of the CIS program, the Memphis Police Department has responded to inquiries from other law enforcement agencies seeking assistance and information.
Major Sam Cochran is the CIS Coordinator. He can be reached at 901-545-5700.
Leaders of Tomorrow
The Westwood COACT Mentors Program
was created to enhance the thinking ability of the neighborhood children, as well as, promote positive behavior among at-risk children and as a result produce better students that are eager to advance their education rather than participate in criminal activity. Lt. C. Moore is the coordinator of the Westwood COACT Program.
A "LOT" is happening in the Westwood community thanks to the officers of the Westwood COACT office. During a brainstorming session in July, Lt. C. Moore and his officers came up with a mentoring program for at-risk kids that would not only focus on school involvement, but community involvement as well.
Calling their mentoring program "L.O.T." (Leaders of Tomorrow), officers sent out applications via neighborhood watch leaders, churches, and schools and due to the overwhelming response a waiting list for the next L.O.T. session had to be created.
Using the theme: "Together We can Build Positive Futures", youth participating in L.O.T. have gone on field trips to the National Civil Rights Museum, the site of the Underground Railroad, and to K-97 radio station.
Westwood COACT held the 1st Annual Black History competition in 1996 which involved several teams of LOT participants who were quizzed ala "Jeopardy" on their knowledge of Black History. They have also opened up an account at the Credit Union and have a trip planned in the future to the Credit Union to see how a bank operates and to also learn how to open and manage their bank account.
The coordinator of L.O.T. is Lt. Stanley Eason
Juvenile Court Building
The Commission on Missing and Exploited Children (COMEC)
is located in the Juvenile Court building at 616 Adams. This unit is responsible for monitoring the exploitation of children, as well as, tracking the whereabouts of missing children. The Unit also offers programs on child safety and sponsors the Child Fingerprinting/Photo ID Booth at the Mid-South Fair.
Sgt. Len Edwards coordinates the COMEC Program. He can be reached at (901) 527-3784.