Community engagement makes policing more understanding of and responsive to local communities through the process of consultation, partnership, and collaboration.
Investing time and resources in community engagement will pay dividends in the future. It can help resolve conflicts, reduce criminal activity, increase mutual trust and communication, and strengthen police-community relations.
Community engagement is consistent with the principles of Procedural Justice and the Guardian mindset.
The Committee recommends the following community engagement actions:
Increase community engagement activities with the Mayor’s Youth Council and consider re-starting the Youth Police Initiative (YPI) program.
The Department is committed to implementing the YPI Program. We have had meetings with The White Plains Youth Bureau and NAFI to discuss logistics. We plan to have the first session in early 2022.
Implement a career-oriented strategy in order to develop a pool of youth who have been
introduced to and engaged in potential careers in law enforcement.
The Department has for years and continues to offer The Explorer Program which is geared towards high school aged children is a yearlong program that meets weekly. Participants are immersed in direct hands on training taught by members of the Police Department. This program gives participants insight into the inner workings of the Police Department.
The Youth Civilian Police Academy is another initiative geared towards teenage community members. It is an 8 week program where participants meet with and learn from members of the Department from each Division. They are given an overview of Department operations. Participants in both programs are given guidance in obtaining careers in law enforcement and encouraged to seek opportunities here in White Plains.
Initiate “positive community reports.”
The Department has, since June 2021, re-initiated positive community reports.
Conduct regular surveys of the youth involved in its community engagement programs to gauge their impact and facilitate changes to improve their effectiveness.
Quality assurance / customer service evaluations will be implemented in the upcoming sessions of both The Explorer Program and The Youth Civilian Academy.
Conduct communitywide surveys about the White Plains Police Department periodically. Provide incentives to encourage participation of residents throughout the city.
We are researching different digital platforms to best implement this recommendation.
Continue to build up the Neighborhood Initiatives Unit by expanding the method and frequency of communications with neighborhood residents.
The Neighborhood Initiatives Unit has more than doubled in size since its inception earlier this year. We are very happy with the performance of the Unit and the positive outcomes from the deployment. We will continue to monitor for effectiveness and will consider adjustment accordingly.
Ensure that new hires, as part of their field training, spend time in communities they are not familiar with in order to increase cultural competency.
All Newly hired White Plains Police Officers are assigned to Field Training upon successful completion of the Police Academy. This is a 12 week program that is state mandated. During this time Officers are assigned with a training Officer in every Sector of the City and at all times of the day and night. They are exposed to the entire community.
Build Shared Value. Police and community work together to build shared value.
The Department has enjoyed long relationships with community organizations.
We have worked collaboratively with community groups and faith based organizations such as Calvary Baptist Church, El Centro Hispano, The Loft LGBTQ Center, My Sister’s Place, and Westchester Jewish Community Services. We rely on these groups to help inform our values, and strategic initiatives. They also provide valuable feedback on outcomes.
The Commissioner of Public Safety also hosts quarterly meetings with an advisory board made up of White Plains Residents representing the entire community.
Appoint a committee that is tasked with following up on the recommendations in this
The Department is eager to work with the Police Reform Committee in this endeavor.