Northglenn presents police strategic plan

Communication, culture and operations department focus for next five years

Luke Zarzecki
lzarzecki@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 7/29/22

Northglenn Police will work on  improving their communication with residents, their internal culture and overall operations as part of the department’s five-year strategic plan, Deputy …

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Northglenn presents police strategic plan

Communication, culture and operations department focus for next five years

Posted

Northglenn Police will work on  improving their communication with residents, their internal culture and overall operations as part of the department’s five-year strategic plan, Deputy Police Chief Randall Darlin told councilors on July 25.

The plan comes as violent crime in Northglenn rose more than 100%, from 109 incidents in 2012 to 285 incidents in 2021, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

As well, Northglenn motor vehicle thefts started to rise in 2019 from 265 to 462 in 2021.

Communication

Darlin noted that community connections are key because the average person doesn’t understand why certain policing policies are in place.

“A lot of policing is a mystery to the public, (collaborating with CCPP) is one of our ways to open up that curtain and show (the public) how we do things,” he said.

To change that, the department plans to collaborate with the Community Co-Production Policing Advisory Board to answer questions the public may have surrounding police practices, such as the city's use of force policies, body cameras and other policies.

The department will hold four ward meetings annually, the chief will submit quarterly articles to the Northglenn Connection, post more frequently on social media, and develop communication public service announcements to help understanding of the NPD and policing in general.

Mayor Pro Tem Jenny Willford challenged Darlin for more communication between the department and the community, such as engaging with young people and faith leaders.

Culture

To improve internal police culture, they plan to host team-building events, enforce positive leadership styles, increase communication and recognize employees.

Mayor Meredith Leighty cheered the department’s focus on establishing a positive culture. She said that the culture will hopefully help improve mental health among officers, to which Willford emphasized the importance of and asked how it fits into the plan.

Darlin said the department has received a grant to fund a service to be able to send officers for team-building programs as needed.

She told Darlin to ask City Manager Geyer or the city council for more funding once the grant runs out.

Another strategy the department will use is a Spousal Academy, which educates police officers’ spouses about the job to learn how to support their loved ones when they are off the clock.

Operations

Officers will receive more training on how to complete a full investigation and provide clear expectations to ensure they are completed properly and improve operations, Darlin said.

The department hired a crime analyst to produce daily crime analytics and make informed decisions on resource allocation. The analytical information will guide the command staff  efforts to use an intelligence-led policing model. Examples of intelligence-led policing could include using data to track repeated motor vehicle thefts.

“Same offenders, similar vehicles, so we can tie those things together,” Darlin said.

Leighty asked if officers be more proactive in the community on slow nights. Darlin said data and analytics can show the department where officers patrol more frequently, such as places with high burglaries.

Past improvements

Since the last strategic plan, the police department added body-worn cameras, in-car cameras, more social media communication, four ward meetings and introduced training regarding crisis intervention and community-oriented policing.

As well, they instituted a Community Co-Production Policing Advisory Board, which includes one resident from each ward. two resident at-large members, one youth at-large member (at least 16 years of age), three designated positions representing community safety, three at-large members from professional community service providers, and one ex-officio, non-voting City Council member.

The board’s goal is to help implement policing policy from community input.

City Councilor Katherine Goff pushed for more, asking how the police department could also partner with the Diversity, Inclusion and Social Equity board.  Darlin said the department plans to check with that board to determine which parts of the city they would redouble their efforts to reach out and contact residents.

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