Community Policing Initative
RESOLUTION TO FORM THE CECIL COUNTY CITIZENS POLICING ADVISORY BOARD
WHEREAS, the people of Cecil County require that their county government provide police services in the manner calculated to best insure public safety; and
WHEREAS, for the last four decades, cities and law enforcement agencies across the United States have adopted strategies to reduce reliance on 911-response policing and instead utilize approaches known as “Community Oriented Policing,” “Problem Oriented Policing,” or “Community Policing;” and
WHEREAS, the experience of law enforcement agencies which have adopted community policing strategy demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach in both reducing crime levels and increasing public sense of safety; and
WHEREAS, community policing creates a working partnership between the community and the police to analyze neighborhood problems, set priorities, develop strategies, and work together to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods; and
WHEREAS, community policing focuses on issues of ongoing public concern rather than specific incidents as reported; and
WHEREAS, community policing employs a comprehensive countywide inter-departmental approach to solving neighborhood problems; and
WHEREAS, community policing assists in the empowerment of neighborhoods by relying on the organization of people in our communities to identify problems, prioritize concerns, and develop solutions which are implemented through the cooperation and collaboration of neighborhood residents, public employees, and public officials;
NOW THEREFORE, the County Council of Cecil County, Maryland, hereby adopts the following policies for the implementation and institutionalization of community policing:
Section 1 – Title and Philosophy
1.1 This program shall be known as the Community Policing Program of Cecil County.
1.2 Four principles govern the Community Policing Program of Cecil County:
1.2.1 Its purpose is to reduce crime, enhance public safety, and to improve quality of life.
1.2.2 It is a peer level partnership between the community, law enforcement, and other city agencies.
1.2.3 In contrast to the 911 emergency response system, it addresses long term, chronic problems using proactive, collaborative problem solving methods.
1.2.4 It fosters a geographically based crime prevention effort on three levels: at the neighborhood level, the city level, and at the county-wide level.
1.3 Community policing is hereby reaffirmed as the public safety policy and philosophy of Cecil County.
Section 2 – Police Beats
2.1 Police beats shall conform as nearly as possible to the natural boundaries of neighborhoods and communities within the municipalities of Cecil County, taking into account historical neighborhood boundaries, natural boundaries such as streams, artificial boundaries such as major thoroughfares and highways, shopping and commercial districts, and public school attendance areas. The beat boundaries shall be reviewed from time to time to accommodate the natural evolution of population and neighborhood boundaries.
2.2 Each police beat should, to the extent feasible, contain between 1,500 and 3,000 residents.
2.3 Foot Patrol is an efficient and highly effective tool used for deterring and detecting criminal activity. It is a very effective resource for solving crime in certain areas and when utilized as a resource, aids us in achieving our goals by allowing officers to interact with the community and strengthening their relationships in a favorable aspect. This is accomplished by making the officer accessible to the public.
To that end, officers assigned to police beats shall spend at least 25% of their time in the field utilizing foot patrol procedures.
Section 3 – Neighborhood Level Organization
3.1 Neighborhood Councils (also known as Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils or NCPCs) are the neighborhood-level component of the County’s Community Policing Program.
3.2 A Neighborhood Council shall be established and maintained in each police beat.
3.3 Neighborhood Councils shall strive to include representatives of a variety of organizations sensitive to community needs and interests, such as, but not limited to, community organizations, service groups, church organizations, youth groups, labor unions, merchant associations, school parent-teacher organizations, as well as interested members of the community.
3.4 Neighborhood Councils shall meet regularly, as determined by their members, but at least quarterly.
3.5 Meetings of Neighborhood Councils shall be publicly announced.
3.6 All meetings of Neighborhood Councils shall be public. The Neighborhood Services Coordinators and Community Policing Officers shall be directed to attend meetings of the Neighborhood Council. Other county staff shall attend Neighborhood Council meetings when appropriate or as requested.
3.7 Meetings of Neighborhood Councils shall be democratically run, but need not conform strictly to Robert’s Rules of Order.
3.8 The Neighborhood Council will, to the extent safe and reasonable, provide notice of meetings to all addresses in the police beat at least once each year.
3.9 Each Neighborhood Council shall adopt written bylaws to govern the conduct of its meetings. These bylaws must include a requirement for annual elections of any leadership positions, whether they are called officers, steering committee members, or other names. These bylaws shall be available to all residents of the police beat.
3.10 Neighborhood Service Coordinators, police officers assigned to the beat, and employees of other city departments shall meet with Neighborhood Councils to identify neighborhood concerns regarding issues of public health and safety, establish priorities for law enforcement efforts, and develop strategies to resolve public health, safety, neighborhood improvement and revitalization, and other concerns.
3.11 Neighborhood Councils shall cooperate actively with police officers and other public employees and interested individuals and organizations to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods, through such activities as involvement in litter and graffiti abatement, providing supervision for youth recreation activities, and other actions.
3.12 Neighborhood Councils shall be encouraged to establish a community center in each police beat in order to provide a regular place for their meetings and activities, a location for positive interaction between residents and police officers, and a center for the provision of activities and services to residents of that police beat. To the extent possible public facilities, which can accommodate a large range of activities, such as youth recreation and classes for adults, shall be utilized as community centers. The City Council shall solicit the cooperation of the Cecil County School District in making school facilities available for Neighborhood Council meetings without charge to the community.
3.13 An organized group may represent itself as a Neighborhood Council, and therefore representative of the citizens of that beat, only if that group is in compliance with Section 4 of this Resolution and has passed certification by the Community Policing Advisory Board (CPAB).
Section 4 – Countywide Organization
4.1 The Community Policing Advisory Board (CPAB) is a county-wide advocate for community policing, and helps bring the neighborhood groups together as a county-wide voice for community policing.
4.2 The Community Policing Advisory Board (CPAB) shall be comprised of the following seventeen appointees:
4.2.1 Seven members appointed by the Mayor of each of the following municipalities: Elkton, North East, Perryville, Rising Sun, Chesapeake City, Port Deposit, and Cecilton.
4.2.2 One Member appointed by each County Councilperson (total of three appointees).
4.2.3 One Member appointed by the Health Officer of the Cecil County Health Department
4.2.4 One member appointed by the Board of Education of the Cecil County Public Schools.
4.2.5 Seven members who shall be residents of Cecil County who shall be elected at-large in even numbered years for two year terms. Members shall serve no more than three terms.
4.3 The Community Policing Advisory Board shall oversee, monitor, and report at least annually on the implementation of this Resolution and provide recommendations to the County Executive, County Council, Mayors, City Commissioners or Council Members, City Administrators, and the respective heads of Cecil County law enforcement agencies on further steps necessary to carry out its objectives.
4.4 A member selected by the Board shall serve as the Community Policing Advisory Board Chairperson.
4.5 As part of its responsibilities for overseeing and monitoring the implementation of this Resolution, the Community Policing Advisory Board has the authority to establish a process to include documentation for certifying that Neighborhood Councils have been organized and continue to function in compliance with the requirements of this resolution. Should the Board discover that a Neighborhood Council is not in compliance, it has the authority to withdraw certification from that Neighborhood Council and require that it reorganize itself and reapply for certification.
4.6 The Board may hear and mediate disputes relating to a Neighborhood Council’s compliance with this Resolution.
4.7 To facilitate the Community Policing Advisory Board in carrying out its duties, all law enforcement agencies within Cecil County shall consult the Board before implementing policy, operational or organizational changes that will affect the functioning and operation of Community Policing as described in the provisions of this Resolution.
4.8 The County Executive, Cecil County Sheriff, and the respective police chiefs, or their designees, shall attend advisory board meetings and provide the advisory board with all information it deems necessary to carry out its responsibilities.
4.9 The County Council shall provide the Community Policing Advisory Board with sufficient funding for its activities, including attendance at conferences, observation of community policing programs elsewhere in the country, and retaining consultants to assist it with its responsibilities.
4.10 The CPAB, Police Department and County Council will sponsor an annual county-wide Community Policing Summit.
4.11 Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this resolution, the County shall implement a countywide citizen complaint procedure for all civilian complaints involving law enforcement in Cecil County.
4.11.1 The CPAB shall have the authority to review and investigate all civilian complaints filed through the countywide procedure. The CPAB shall have the authority to subpoena any county employee in that process. The CPAB shall issue a written report to the head of the appropriate law enforcement agency with any recommendation for personnel action within thirty (30) days of the completion of the investigation.
4.11.2 If, in the event the CPAB believes that a civilian complaint was not resolved in a satisfactory manner after issuing its report to the head of the appropriate law enforcement agency, the CPAB shall have the authority to make its findings available to the public within thirty (30) days. The names of Cecil County employees named in the findings may be redacted to ensure the privacy of the affected employees.
Section 5 – Neighborhood Services Coordinator
5.1 The CPAB shall assign a Neighborhood Services Coordinator (NSC) to each community policing beat.
5.2 A Neighborhood Services Manager shall be appointed by the CPAB, and shall become a full-time employee of Cecil County. The NSM shall be a Cecil County resident who is not an employee of any law enforcement agency operating within Cecil County, and shall work under the supervision of the CPAB.
5.3 To the extent allowed by law Neighborhood Services Coordinators shall be residents of Cecil County, with a strong preference that they live within the police beat where they are appointed.
5.4 Neighborhood Services Coordinators shall receive sufficient training and supervision to adequately perform their duties.
5.5 The Neighborhood Services Coordinator shall have, but no be limited do, the following duties:
5.5.1 Organization of the Neighborhood Council for that community policing beat.
5.5.2 Assist the leaders of the neighborhood council to develop peer level partnerships with the police to solve problems.
5.5.3 Initiate contact with residents, neighborhood level organizations, merchant and community organizations of the beat for participation in crime prevention and community engagement efforts.
5.5.4 Working with the Neighborhood Council, other residents, police officers and employees of other county agencies and other institutions to establish priorities and develop and implement community policing strategies and other activities to improve the safety and health of the community.
5.6 The Neighborhood Services Manager shall determine the specific duties or job description of the Neighborhood Services Coordinators. The NSM job description shall be available to the public upon request.
Section 6 – Police Staffing
6.1 All Cecil County law enforcement officers shall be trained in the philosophy and practice of community policing and problem solving.
6.2 Law Enforcement Officers assigned to each community policing beat shall be known as Community Police Officers. Community Police Officers shall focus their efforts on problem solving and quality of life improvement on their community policing beat, and shall not be routinely reassigned to 911 patrol or other non-community policing duties.
6.3 The County shall work with the respective municipal police departments to staff each police beat with community police officers, a minimum of one officer per police beat.
6.4 Assignments of Community Police Officers to beats shall be made for terms in accordance with the respective Departments’ policy. As a specialized assignment, they can remain in this assignment for six years with extensions of up to two years as approved by the Chief of Police, or Sheriff. The county will negotiate applicable agreements with employee organizations to allow such six-year assignments.
6.5 Community Police Officers assigned to each beat shall work with any assigned Neighborhood Council and Neighborhood Services Coordinator in that beat to carry out the objectives established by the Neighborhood Council.
6.6 Specialized police units shall be decentralized to the extent possible in order to establish continuity of services and relationships between police department personnel assigned to such units and community residents, community police officers, Neighborhood Councils, and Neighborhood Services Coordinators.
Section 7 – Implementation
7.1 The County Executive or his/her designated agency head(s) shall be primarily responsible for the implementation of this program.
7.2 The implementation of this program shall require the cooperation of all county departments. The County shall establish an interdepartmental coordinating committee to insure the prioritization of community policing programs and activities by all relevant county departments and employees.
7.3 County staff shall work with other public agencies, the nonprofit sector, and the business community to insure the successful implementation of this program.