Friday, May 12, 2006

Community Oriented Policing

The origins of this story begin with Bob the Cat from Park Citys newspaper the Park Record, this is a tribute, in a small way, to him. (not that he needs it)

To summarize: Bob the Cat was torn to shreds on the Rail Trail by two unleashed dogs on Sept 21, 2001. A full page ad was taken out in the Park Record to find the culprits and the police department was put on high alert. A memorial was built on the corner of the owners property featuring "BOB". Over the following winter and starting into the summer the entire town was in an uproar about unleashed dogs. Now this subject comes up every year, but in May of 2002 a unique program was put into force in the Park City Police Department. The Park Record headlined a story "Have leashes, will travel" in the May 22-24 2002 edition with a photo of the police chief standing near one of the cities police SUV's with a double handful of dog leashes. CNN/AP even carried the story about the police giving out leashes. Even to this day, the well prepared police officer carries a ready supply of leashes.

The rest of the story:
This is one of the first Community Oriented Police projects I never submitted, although it is certainly tongue in cheek. The finished project is reproduced in it's full glory below!

Project Description

Date: May 14, 2002
Department: Police
Title: Dog leash educational program
Type of Item: Discussion
Project Writer: Officer R. King

Analysis: Based on a comprehensive analysis with other officers about the police departments dog leash program, it was left to me to actually put the ideas into writing. The other officers have asked not to be identified and I will do my upmost to carry out their wishes. This project is an ongoing work and I would appreciate any feedback you or administration is able to provide before the final draft.

Topic: To make the "Leash it and Love it" courtesy dog leash program more palatable to the public and still carry an educational message.

Pre Application Survey:
Several possibilities come to mind, The Park Record could certainly provide a public service survey asking the people of Park City to comment and decide some very important issues. Public meetings can be time consuming and fruitless, spreading blame where ever the speaker decides, a well written survey with a limited number of choices for the public could condense the process, and get it on the road to actually doing something about the problem.

It's a well known fact in some circles that praise is a great motivating factor, rather than the fear of apprehension of receiving a citation or reprimand. The idea of praising and rewarding the dog owners with a bonus would be of great benefit to the department and the city as a whole. Dr. Ivan Pavlov, 1904 Nobel Laureate prize winner proved animals motivations can be conditioned and modified though a reward system. The very same holds true for the human animal, public praise in valuing people can do wonders in building a strong police-public relationship and foster a better understanding among the public on the goals of the leash law and education program. The second and third recommendations takes this fact into account.

A community is built around common values, commonly-held standards of acceptable civic behavior, and good communication, among other things. The police department is required to communicate and nurture understanding of the current problem. What better way to do so than to have the public/community acknowledge the problem and participate in the solution (public buy in.)

First Option: Do nothing...
Probably not the most cost effective as public buy in could reimburse the cost of the leashes and brochures. Community is not involved and looks upon the program as a Law Enforcement concern. Very little education value as the current brochures are excellent devices to pick up dog droppings for disposal (pooper scooper). They are made of a heavy card stock and do well for this purpose.

Second Option: Use the existing leashes and brochures as a demonstration program to get community involvement started.
Should be cost effective, local businesses and residents would buy into the program, the businesses could supply local advertising and possible coupons for dog owners appearing at the business with a "leashed" dog. The cost of the leashes and brochures would be absorbed by the businesses and residents wishing to do a good deed for the community. Therefore the public buy in would be greater and possibly transcend the law enforcement function by having the leashes and brochures provided at local establishments as an incentive to "Love your Dog".

The "Love your Pet Bakery" at 605 Main St. Park City, has generously consented to donate "Leash Coupons", these would work similar to the helmet coupons for children the Health Department gave to officers a few years ago. When officers or park hosts see an owner with a dog on a leash they issue a coupon good for a dog biscuit at the bakery. Already during the preliminary analysis the public is beginning to buy in to the concept.

Third Option: Use the existing leashes and brochures as an example of the concern Law Enforcement has for the community and place messages designed to pamper and calm the community on the leashes and brochures.
Could be cost effective, could use a junior member of the Police Department on graveyard shift with a city supplied Sharpie to emblazon the words Park City Police Courtesy Leash on one side and messages such as "Spiro Robertus Sanctus" on the other side. This would serve to mollify certain family members who lost a dear friend to rabid and unleashed dogs on the Rail Trail with the classy and socially proper message "Breath the spirit of Bob divine/holy/pious"
This would serve as a community reminder to upscale Parkites rather than the crude but catchy phrase "What about BOB?" There is also the possibility of BOB's family/guardians providing future inscribed leashes to be handed out on an as needed basis. (Very cost effective)
This raises the possibly of a counter leash being developed, for those that are "anti-cat" or anti-BOB with Latin inscribed messages such as "Nobis freno Cattus" (Be mellow, leash cats) or "Gauisus Evito Cattus" (Be happy, kill cats.)
This approach would provide the best and most community buy in as each faction within the community could have what it wanted and be able to tell the world about it. All factions could design leashes and brochures thereby pleasing everybody at once. The survey of the community would provide the needed donors for the program tools. (Very cost effective)

One officer suggested since Bike Patrol has a lot of contact with the community at various functions, they be utilized extensively as contacts for this educational program.

Rather than Law Enforcement handing out the leashes, and since the majority of the complaints come from the City Park area, we could enlist the aid of the Park Hosts to carry both sets of leashes and brochures.
The Main Street and Old Town area would be well served by utilizing Parking enforcement people, this could fit in well with the job description. and could actually be a positive contact for them, cheering them up immensely, the only drawback is they are limited to a certain area. This could also extend to Main Street utilizing Code Enforcement Officers during Film Fest, Arts Fest and other licensed Master Festivals as well. Self-serve leash posts and brochure stands could be erected at locations throughout the city, that are not served in person. Every city employee that has a chance to meet the public should be trained on the proper response to an unleashed dog, every city vehicle could carry a colorful set of leashes and brochures.

The third option is the most cost effective, has the most public and police buy in, and is certainly the work of many individuals who gave the needed input to make it possible.

Exhibits: See enclosed sample

(A sample leash was enclosed in the envelope)

This is a work of fiction and remains the property of R. King. Any relationship to persons or pets living or dead is entirely coincidental, all names and places are used with literary license by the author.

1 comment:

  1. Ron,

    Well, it didn't take too long (AGAIN)...the recent hysteria regarding dogs and leashes has resulted in an uprising by the populace...after a radio interview last week in which a police lt. stated that the pd would be patrolling for dogs etc..Thursday's council meeting was packed with petition-wielding dogophiles demanding that the police not patrol Round Valley, Sweeney, etc. Today on KPCW, the mayor and Marianne Cone stated categorically that the PD WOULD NOT be patrolling for dogs off leashes, would not be patrolling on the 4wheeler in trail area, and that the city had no problems with dogs off leashes playing frisbee in the city park, running amok in Round Valley, or almost anywhere else for that matter. It was mentioned that off-leash status assists in the "socialization" of mutts, and that we are trying to raise our dogs to be fun-loving, expressive, and self-confident pooches. Certain people had their legs cut out from under them and were thrown to the dogs- literally-when their more aggressive approach to harassing hounds was quickly abandoned, despite earlier protestations that "something had to be done!" Remarked one chastised and chagrined employee, "Next time I start doing something like this- TELL ME TO STOP!!"