With controversial suspect deaths and public protests in Ferguson, MO. and New York fresh in their minds, Texas Police Chiefs representing municipal, school, and college/university law enforcement set a biennial training agenda for top law enforcement officers for Texas agencies.
About 1,000 police chiefs from across Texas will attend the Texas Police Chief Leadership Series (TPCLS) at the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) every two years. Beginning in September, the program will touch on several emerging issues in law enforcement, such as credibility with the community, body cameras, data management, riots and demonstrations, department image, public relations and human resources.
“I feel that with the recent events nationally, policing is at a real crossroads, similar to the way policing changed after 9/11,” said Chief Eric Buske of the Bryan Police Department. “The topics we covered and the agenda we developed in the focus group are going to help prepare Texas chiefs for this upcoming change. It is my belief that community credibility, preparation for demonstrations or disorder, department image, and public relations are going to be key issues that chiefs will need to be on top of in order to successfully lead their departments and provide quality service to their communities.”
“Twenty-three chiefs from across the state helped build the agenda for the week long training program, which will be provided to chiefs from small and medium-sized law enforcement agencies in Texas between Sept. 1, 2015 – Aug. 31, 2017,” says Donna Garcia, Program Coordinator.
Chief Robert MacDonald of the Jasper Police Department said the recommended training will lead chief throughout the state to provide “transparency, accountability and professionalism” in their departments.
The chiefs identified six key issues, including:
- Building credibility and reputations of police departments through policies, supervision and accountability
- Examining the use of body cameras, including the pros and cons of these systems
- Managing data and sharing information from new technology, particularly body cameras, including the hardware and software needs, open records requests, and transparency
- Developing public relations for departments to improve image, such as disseminating messages from the department to provide factual information and utilizing Facebook to present a positive image
- Handling demonstrations and riots, including the use of de-escalation techniques and reducing militarization
- Addressing human resource matters, such as retaining chiefs and recruiting, hiring, retaining, and disciplining.