June 10, 2020
The City of Woodland Police Department has a strong commitment to community policing and procedural justice. The Department cares about the community members of Woodland for which it serves. We have a strong focus on safety and fostering and maintaining community partnerships. I am providing you with this in-depth email as a starting point for a future discussion on what we currently do, what our plans are for the future, and our efforts to receive community input on what they feel are important areas requiring our focus.
Internally, we have prioritized diversity and have created a culture of equity and inclusion by working to eliminate racial, ethnic, and gender bias in the workplace. We work to recruit and hire a diverse workforce that reflects Woodland in as many ways as possible. We also ensure that our field training program incorporates core values about equity and communicates them to new officers.
We embrace the tenants of 21st Century Policing and have even included it in new supervisor testing processes. We continually strive to ensure the six pillars of this report are incorporated into our daily operations (Building trust & Legitimacy, Policy & Oversight, Technology & Social Media, Community Policing & Crime Reduction, Training & Education, and Officer Wellness & Safety). As an organization, we stress the importance of community relations and have made participation in community events and the Department’s social media a requirement for all specialty assignments.
In addition, we do not support zero tolerance enforcement policies, which mete out automatic and predetermined actions by officers regardless of extenuating circumstances. We promote critical thinking and discretion at the officer level whenever possible.
The Department listened to the community and focused our efforts on assigning officers to geographical hot spots. The City also worked with Yolo County Probation, the District Attorney’s office, and the State Parole office to improve regional communication regarding the specific needs and risks associated with individuals that have harmed the community and need to be reintegrated. The Department currently has mobile video recorders in every patrol car and body-worn cameras deployed with all field personnel. These technological advancements can increase public confidence in the City’s service.
The Department has sought community input through meetings with the Chamber of Commerce, local business owners, realtors, the homeless shelter, Yolo County Mental Health, Housing and Urban Development, and the Woodland City Council. The Department has worked hard to stay connected, involved and interested by meeting the needs and expectations of our unique community. The Department began using Nextdoor.com for virtual neighborhood watch, improved the functionality and two-way communication of our department’s city web page, and launched a Facebook page. We have updated our web page to increase transparency and accountability with our community by publicizing openly all of our current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures, and education and training materials.
The City has worked with the Yolo County Housing Authority to identify areas of economic disparity and has actively sought out partnerships with residents in these areas. The goal of this specific outreach was to improve quality of life for the residents and collaborate on implementing solutions to the specific issues each individual area was experiencing. Existing problem solving tools have continued, such as, building relationships with community members, identifying root causes of problems, seeking partnerships with non-law enforcement entities and utilizing evidence based practices. This provides opportunities for the Woodland community to engage in safe and inclusive conversations with police representatives to identify key issues related to improving police community relations. Through our partnerships, a number of specific problems were eliminated and more importantly community trust has been gained. These successes occurred in both economically and racially diverse neighborhoods within the city.
The City partnered with the Yolo Conflict Resolution Center, a nonprofit community based organization in Yolo County, to develop, create outreach, and facilitate a restorative justice program for juvenile offenders.
We consistently demonstrate legitimacy to the public through a myriad of community based programs and strategies to seek community engagement, address crime, improve quality of life and other community issues and concerns. Some of these community based programs including Neighborhood Court, a Community Corrections Partnership, and hosting the first ever training in Northern California for the Coffee with a Cop program. The Woodland Police Department has worked to remain on the cusp with the dramatic shifts in society, technology, criminal trends, economics and the very definition of “community” relative to law enforcement. Officers of every rank from the Chief of Police on down to our patrol officers reach out to advocacy and community-based organizations. These powerful partners include victims groups, service clubs, support groups, issue groups, advocacy groups, community development corporations, and the faith community.
UNIDOS is a community program that was brought to the Woodland Police Department. UNIDOS is conducted primarily in Spanish and is designed to assist our Hispanic residents. The program’s intention is to open the lines of communication between our Spanish-speaking residents and the police department. We want to be a central resource providing information on important topics while at the same time building trust. We do not want language to be a barrier between members of our community and all of the services that are available.
CITIZEN POLICE ACADEMY
In an effort to better communicate what we do with members of the community we run a Citizen Police Academy every year. The Citizen Police Academy is open to adults, who live or work in the Woodland community. The mission of the Citizen Police Academy is to strengthen community partnerships by offering citizen the opportunity to interact with our professional staff, increase their understanding of police operations and become ambassadors to the community.
Citizen Police Academy Meeting Topics:
- Woodland Police Department overview, history and tour
- Overview of police bureaus and functions
- Recruitment and training
- K-9 overview and demonstration
- Traffic laws, enforcement and motors demonstration
- Tactical driving and traffic stops
- Firearms and Tasers overview
- Defensive tactics and de-escalation techniques
- Intelligence Led-Policing overview
- Shoot and don’t shoot scenarios
- Crime scene investigations
- Homeless Outreach Street Team overview
- Crime Prevention and community engagement programs
Currently, the City of Woodland has thirty-two (32) active Neighborhood Watch groups encompassing in excess of 700 households. Neighborhood Watch meetings provide an excellent venue for officers to interact with community members to identify community problems and to involve these same community members in the process of successfully resolving issues in their neighborhoods. Additionally, officer involvement in the Neighborhood Watch program builds and strengthens relationships between the officers and community members, reinforcing the officers’ feeling of responsibility and accountability to the neighborhood and increases the citizens’ confidence in the Department’s efforts in ensuring their safety.
CRIME FREE MULTI-HOUSING PROGRAM
In 2019, the Woodland Police Department launched our Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. The Crime Free Multi-Housing Program is a state-of-the-art crime prevention program designed to reduce crime, drugs, and gangs on apartment properties. This program was successfully developed at the Mesa Arizona Police Department in 1992. The International Crime Free Multi-Housing Program has spread to nearly 2,000 cities in 48 U.S. States, 5 Canadian Provinces, England, Nigeria, and Puerto Rico, to name a few.
The program consists of three phases that must be completed under the supervision of the local police department. Property managers can become individually certified after completing training in each phase and the property becomes certified upon successful completion of all three phases.
The anticipated benefits are reduced police calls for service, a more stable resident base, and reduced exposure to civil liability.
The three phases of the program are:
Phase I - Management Training (8-Hours) Taught by the Police
- Crime Prevention Theory
- CPTED Theory (Physical Security)
- Benefits of Resident Screening
- Lease Agreements and Eviction Issues
- Crime Free Lease Addendum
- Key Control and Master Key Use
- On-Going Security Management Monitoring and Responding to Criminal Activity
- Gangs, Drugs Activity, and Crime Prevention
- Legal Warnings, Notices & Evictions Working Smarter With the Police Fire and Life Safety Training Community Awareness
Phase II - CPTED - Survey by the Police
- Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Survey (CPTED)
- Minimum door, window, and lock standards compliance inspection
- Minimum exterior lighting standards evaluation
- Key Control procedures evaluation
- Landscape maintenance standards compliance
Phase III - Community Awareness Training
- Annual crime prevention social taught by property management and police
- Community awareness and continuous participation is encouraged
VOLUNTEERS IN POLICING
The City recognized that community members that live and/or work in Woodland have an interest in the community and are a valuable resource for identifying community issues. As a result, there was an intense push to build a robust volunteer program within the police department. In January of 2020, there were thirty-two (32) volunteers, and by June of 2020, the program has expanded to include forty-two (42) community volunteers. Due to COVID-19, the volunteers were unable to serve for approximately 10 weeks, but the program has been restarted and they are assisting in every bureau of the police department.
In 2019, the Police Department launched a new technology platform called SpidrTech. SpidrTech is a customer service platform designed for use by law enforcement. SpidrTech is able to enhance customer service by providing text message updates to certain reporting parties regarding police response time, case numbers, assigned officer’s names and case updates. We have also included customer satisfaction surveys in the SpidrTech text messages. We review these surveys to assess officer’s responses on calls when a supervisor is not physically there to assess them.
The Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program is an evidence-based, national and international gang and violence prevention program that has been building trust between law enforcement and communities for almost 30 years.
G.R.E.A.T. is intended as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership. It is designed for children in the years immediately before the prime ages for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior. The G.R.E.A.T. Program is built around school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curricula. It provides a continuum of components for children and their families.
The G.R.E.A.T. Program has expanded with this new school year. The GREAT Program runs two sessions per school year at both the 4th and 7th grade levels. The first session included Douglass Middle School and 12 elementary schools for a total of 126 individual lessons. The second session included Lee Middle School and the rest of the elementary classes in the Woodland Joint Unified School District. To accomplish teaching these classes, new instructors will be added over the summer. These new instructors will attend a two-week training program to prepare them to teach these classes.
The expansion to 7th grade has been going very well. The teachers and students involved are enjoying the program and it allows more of our officers to engage with students in a conversation rather than an enforcement role. The instruction provided gives students the knowledge to be successful and avoid trouble.