-Front Page News

Posted on: September 22, 2017

Department of Justice COPS Office Concludes Work with Pasco Police

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has concluded its work with the Pasco Police Department and commended the Department in its efforts to improve community relations.

In a letter dated today, COPS Deputy Director Robert Chapman acknowledged the conclusion of the assistance that the Department requested in May 2015. The help from COPS fell into five main areas: peer-to-peer exchanges, training, community engagement, social media, and recommendations. The PPD has been addressing the recommendations from the COPS office in its “Recommendations on Advancing Community Policing in the Pasco Police Department” released last year; some of the notable items include:

  • The Department has obtained State Accreditation, which provides a review process for agencies to be certified as operating under industry best practices and standards.
  • Implementing social media (Facebook and Twitter) sites that help improve communication with the community, and launching Spanish language versions. The Department’s main Facebook page has over 41,000 “likes”, making it one of the most popular Police pages in the state.
  • Expanding recruitment efforts, focusing on individuals who appreciate serving and reflect diverse communities. The Department encourages bi-lingual applicants, and has created a bi-lingual civil service recruitment list. The Department continues to offer pay bonuses for officers proficient in Spanish. These efforts have increased the bi-lingual staff by 50%, and the Department has increased the number of Hispanic and female officers.
  • Exploring best-practices from police chiefs around the country.
  • The Department has worked with the Pasco Fire Department and local mental health professionals to implement a “Hotspotters” program to bring mental health services to residents in immediate need.
  • The Department is working to deploy body cameras to all patrol officers very soon.
  • The City and Department have been meeting with the ACLU of Washington and local residents on issues around police training and the use of force and recently completed a collaborative update on the Department’s use of force policy.
  • Participating in the Latino Civic Alliance's Community Visioning Project to better connect law enforcement and the community.
  • Expanding Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) to more officers. More than 80% of officers have received post-academy CIT training.
  • The Department was the first agency in the area to implement a citizen academy, and, in 2016, launched a Spanish language-only academy.
  • In conjunction with the COPS office, the Department has started “Coffee with a Cop". "Coffee with a Cop" brings police officers and the community members they serve together in a neutral and casual setting to discuss issues and learn more about each other.

COPS Deputy Director Chapman stated in the letter “…Since May 2015, the PPD has been making great strides to improve the relationship with the community and the communication throughout the agency. The PPD is actively engaging with the community through social media in an impressive manner and becoming a standout agency for its presence…All of these efforts were coordinated, prepared, and executed through the dedication, commitment, and assistance from the personnel at the PPD. The COPS Office has been honored to provide technical assistance support to the PPD, and we commend you on your efforts.”

City Manager Dave Zabell said “The City thanks the DOJ for their valuable assistance which has helped bring the community together since the events of 2015. The Department, along with the community partners, have grown together to better serve all the residents of Pasco.”

The letter from the COPS office can be view via the link below.

Department of Justice COPS Office Letter, 9/21/17
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