June 17, 2011

What are Neighborhood Portfolio Exercises?

The Santa Cruz Police Department prides itself on focusing on community-oriented policing (COPS). In fact, the Department of Justice has awarded our agency funding based on our success in the COPS model. Within the last few years we've initiated a requirement for new officers (as part of their training program) to complete a community-based problem-solving project.

The Neighborhood Portfolio Exercise (NPE) is an important tool to culminate and gauge the effectiveness of our training program.  The role of the police department has evolved over the years requiring individuals who can engage critical thinking skills outside of traditional “law enforcement” solutions into a “problem solving” approach.  This skill and operational philosophy is taught and emphasized throughout the training program. 

By completing an NPE, trainees actually walk through the process of identifying core issues that lead to problematic behaviors in the community.  The trainee is then challenged to identify critical resources and partnerships that can work collaboratively to address the core issue.  In doing so, the police department forges strong relationships with the community and includes them in the problem solving for long term solutions.

Over the coming days we will be presenting recent NPEs that our new officers completed. All of these projects were the idea of the new officer - and they worked to complete them during the time of their training. We think you'll appreciate how these brand new officers are approaching issues. As always, if you have questions or suggestions you can drop me a line.