May 20, 2021
What are we Funding in 2021?
The Philadelphia Police Foundation has two primary focus areas for funding this year: 1) Combatting the surge in violent crime and gun violence in the city; 2) Police Accountability and Officer Wellness. Our Board of Directors recently approved over $700,000 in funding initiatives for the Philadelphia Police Department in the first 5 months of 2021. Below are a few ways the Foundation is making an impact to help the Philadelphia Police Department and the city. As always, the generosity of our donors makes these initiatives possible.
Combatting Gun Violence and Reducing Violent Crime
1) Office of Forensic Science – Firearms Examiners Training: The City of Philadelphia is experiencing an unprecedented surge in gun violence. Philadelphia Police Officers removed 4,989 crime guns from the streets in 2020, an increase of 17% over 2019. With the highest level of homicides in two decades happening in Philadelphia in 2020, Firearm Forensics Examiners are more important than ever in order to solve crimes and to prevent recidivist criminals from shooting and killing additional victims.
A firearms examiner is a Forensic scientist who performs operability tests on all recovered firearms, microscopic comparisons of cartridge cases to determine if items have been fired from the same weapon, serial number restorations on obliterated evidence, and other examinations required for investigations and court. The Office of Forensic Science’s mission is to provide scientific and technical services to Philadelphia Police to help investigations identify perpetrators of crime, exonerate the innocent, and establish connections between crimes.
The Firearms Identification Unit has a significant staffing need with currently seven (7) vacancies for firearms examiners (forensic scientists), which is a 32% staffing reduction. While the City has committed to filling these vacancies, the influx of such a large group of trainees presents a logistics problem for the department. Funding will cover the comprehensive training program for each of these newly hired trainees to become qualified firearms examiners. Each examiner must successfully complete an 18-24 month training program to receive qualification in the field of firearms examination.
2) Crime Analysis Training and Strategy – Jerry Ratcliffe is a former British police officer and currently a professor in the Criminal Justice Dept at Temple University who works with police agencies around the world on crime reduction and criminal intelligence strategy. Since moving to the US in 2003, Jerry Ratcliffe has worked with numerous agencies and most closely the Philadelphia Police Department.
Through Reducing Crime™ LLC, Jerry Ratcliffe and selected colleagues provide specialized training courses tailored to crime reduction, problem-solving, and intelligence-led policing for police departments. These informative and engaging training sessions are geared towards practical crime reduction solutions and techniques for mid to senior level police command staff. This three-day program will introduce mid to senior police leadership participants to the key elements of leading successful crime reduction projects. This training is a practical and realistic program framed within a wider discussion of evidence-based policing, and leadership development in modern law enforcement. It is the authorized training program that accompanies the book Reducing Crime: A Companion for Police Leaders. The objective is to dramatically reduce crime in city neighborhoods via data driven approach.
3) Large Format InkJet Printer/Plotter
This equipment will support with proceedings, investigations, large scale photos, crime scene reconstructions, workflows and more. The model purchased is a Canon PROGRAF TA-30 with 36” Stand. This was a critical, unbudgeted equipment need in the Office of Forensic Science.
Officer Wellness and Police Accountability
1) Early intervention and Accountability System – This system will help ensure negative behaviors are identified and addressed and positive behaviors are promoted and celebrated. An early intervention system can help identify those unfit to serve. A law enforcement EIS system is a personnel management tool designed to identify potential individual or group concerns at the earliest possible stage so that intervention and support can be offered in an effort to re-direct performance and behaviors toward organizational goals. The ideal purpose of an EIS is to provide officers with resources and tools in order to prevent disciplinary action, and to promote officer safety, satisfaction and wellness. This software is common among large and small departments throughout the country.
2) Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) – Now more than ever, communities across the country, and the law enforcement agencies that serve those communities, are recognizing that first responders must do a better job intervening when necessary to prevent their colleagues from causing harm or making costly mistakes. Years of academic research and on-the-ground experience has shown us that effective active bystandership can be taught. The Georgetown Innovative Policing Program, partnering with global law firm Sheppard Mullin, has created Project ABLE* (Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement) to prepare officers to successfully intervene to prevent harm and to create a law enforcement culture that supports peer intervention. Project ABLE is a national hub for training, technical assistance, and research, all with the aim of creating a police culture in which officers routinely intervene as necessary to: 1) Prevent misconduct; 2) Avoid police mistakes, and 3) Promote officer health and wellness.
3) Healing Circles – 18 (90 minutes sessions) will take place and are expected to reach more than 500 officers with a safe space for officers to dissect the impacts of COVID-19, national and local civil unrest and overall safety and wellness challenges. The goal of these sessions includes examining norms regarding expectations and perception, building awareness of the changing dynamics and expanding knowledge about culture, demographics and the shifts in trends occurring in the Philadelphia Police Dept. These sessions will also address workplace climate and discuss why a constantly improving climate is needed for ongoing changes and growth mindsets among officers and their direct reports.