Community Oriented Policing With a Metro PD – An FM Immersion by David Reynolds

Friday, April 17th, 2015


By David Reynolds, CFM, FMP
David is FMCC STAG Member as FMCC Podcast & Multimedia Coordinator on 17 April 2015.

FM focus on security, incident response, emergency preparedness, business continuity, and local community relationships has steadily broadened and sharpened in recent years.  Whereas an “in-service”, walk-through visit by the fire department and familiarity of local police with facility security personnel, hazards, and vulnerabilities have long been expected of FMs, knowledge of police and fire, and the public emergency incident management capabilities, are now formally part of the FM body of knowledge and practice.

When as an FM consultant, I responded to a recent RFP for emergency preparedness and business continuity planning, I realized that my view of the scope, organization, strategies, and objectives of a modern metro police force (PD) needed an update.  At about the same time, the Community Oriented Policing (COPs) program in my city had openings for Citizens Police Academy, a 6 day part time program of intensive coverage of PD operations, from patrol, to social and community work, to the 911 call center, to SWAT and bomb squad, and a great deal more.

Every locale adopting Community Oriented Policing does so in its own way, responsive to needs, circumstances, and culture.  Jackson, Mississippi (U.S.) is a center of state government, with concentrations of medical, business, technical, industrial, and transportation activities and facilities. City population is 175, 000, with about 360,000 more in nearby communities.  Commanders, managers, officers and staff at all levels and functions are approachable and helpful, sharing names, cell phone numbers, and guidance about other city government functions, contacts, services, and functions.

Was it worth the time and effort? I think so, and recommend that other FMs take the opportunity, if available.  A few highlights pertinent to FM follow. The principles and issues would be similar in many cities and countries.

  • Location of officers – officers patrol alone in automobiles, organized in beats and precincts, but often cross divisions to cover one another for safety, or in situations such as public events or disturbances that require multiple officers. This should not lead to delay in an emergency, but can slow response in non-urgent situations. Some officers patrol only for specific effects: traffic safety, say, or retail shopping, or in neighborhoods with recent crimes, so routine presence of police varies from day to day.
  • Tactical communication – Police are dispatched by radio from the 911 call center, by car-to-car calling, or by their own initiative when the encounter something while on patrol. PD tactical communication with institutional security forces (for example, industrial, state government, medical or college campuses), and with surrounding county, state, and local forces, fire, and incident command center… varies widely, but direct radio voice connection is often provided. All officers have at least one cell phone.
  • Incident response – Bomb squad, SWAT (special weapons and tactics), K-9 (dogs used in substance detection) convene as needed, often using specially trained officers released from other, more routine duties.
  • Operations documentation – all dispatches of officers give rise to at least a logged incident and, if even minimal action required, a case number and report. The report accumulates further information if the initial incident calls for follow-up, for example a burglary investigation, or prosecution for a crime against persons. Reports are available on request.
  • PD scope – Patrol and the 911 call center are only part of PD scope. There are also investigative functions specializing in different types of crime: murders and assaults for example, burglary, destruction of property, selling drugs, prostitution, etc. Others are community relations, training (a large, ongoing effort and expense), and charity sponsored youth recreation. Officers often contract separately for security details when off duty (though in uniform and with PD vehicle), or may be summoned to court.
  • Code enforcement officials – (not building permits per se, but property occupancy, cleanliness, abandonment, parking, and animal control) may share space, services with the PD.

And yes, we received an explosives demonstration and firearms instruction. My military training, now long past, proved effective still.

Blogger Biography:

David Reynolds, MS, FMP, CFM

David Reynolds is an FM consultant based in Mississippi, in the U.S. His involvement in FM arose out of work in engineering, operations, and related information technology. He has a lifelong interest in how people experience the built environment. He began consulting in offshore oil field and inland marine transportation during the 1990s, building teams that streamlined and transformed production processes. He has continued in technical operations and project management roles since, concentrating exclusively in FM since joining IFMA in 2002. He earned the CFM in 2014.

Helping FMs to gauge, interpret, and take action in order to make processes reliable, productive, and resilient is the mission of FM-CONSULT-CREATE, his consultancy.
He focuses on FM as organizations adopt asset management principles and practices following ISO 55000, where clear, visible, interactive, maintainable, process and risk models, data, and measurements can better frame FM in organizational strategies and objectives.

Pro bono work includes construction, maintenance, safety, and health. David is also a member of the IFMA Environmental Health and Safety Council.

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