By PIO Ashley Crandell, Antioch Police Department Community Engagement Unit
On May 10, 2023, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a civil rights investigation into the Antioch Police Department. Chief Steven Ford welcomes this investigation and pledges full cooperation with DOJ officials, just as we have done with the joint FBI-Contra Costa DA investigation already taking place. We understand the importance of ensuring our policies, procedures, and practices are in line with expectations of 21st Century Policing.
In furtherance of our commitment toward meaningful reform, the Antioch Police Department is pleased to announce that we have joined other progressive policing agencies across the United States (and globally) in pledging to enhance trust and collaboration between police and the community we serve. The pledge is part of an initiative called the Trust Building Campaign which was started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the world’s largest and most influential professional association for police leaders. In joining the Trust Building Campaign, the Antioch Police Department has pledged to implement 25 key policies and leading practices within a 36-month period.
As we complete the Trust Building Campaign pledge, the Antioch Police Department will prioritize actions encouraging positive community-police partnerships within six focus areas (bias-free policing, use of force, leadership and culture, recruitment, hiring, and retention, victim services, and community relations). These areas and their associated key practices are designed to promote safe, effective interactions, create strategies to prevent and reduce crime, and improve the wellbeing and quality of life for all.
In a world where information is spread so quickly, it is critical, now more than ever, that law enforcement have the trust of the community that they will provide truth, transparency, and justice.
Through the Trust Building Campaign, the IACP is committed to addressing these, and other issues, on a national and international level.
Statement from Chief Steven Ford:
“We are excited to announce this partnership with the IACP Trust Building Campaign. This initiative aligns with our Strategic Plan goals that we have been progressively implementing during our Public Safety Partnership and emphasizes our commitment to advancing public safety practices through community engagement, transparency, and bias-free policing. We look forward to collaborating with our community stakeholders, justice partners, and industry experts to ensure success in meeting the goals of this campaign.”
For more information about the Trust Building Campaign, visit the IACP’s website at https://www.theiacp.org/iacp-trust-building-campaign.
25 Key Policies and Promising Practices
- Establish a policy on bias-free policing.
- Increase transparency and accountability of police use of force. Publish use of force and complaint process policies.
- Provide officers with training and coaching on cultural responsivity.
- Train officers on the unique makeup and needs of their communities based on country of origin, religious and cultural practices, etc. which may conflict with local laws.
- Adopt the elements of the National Consensus Policy on Use of Force into the agency’s policies and procedures. Publish use of force policy
- Provide regular training on the agency’s use of force policy. Training should include scenario-based exercises that incorporate de-escalation techniques.
- Document all use of force beyond handcuffing in agency records. Review these records on an annual basis to identify trends that need to be addressed in policy and training.
- Participate in the National Use of Force database.
- Establish an agency policy or statement that recognizes the sanctity of life and the importance of preserving human life during all encounters. Adopting the IACP Oath of Honor will meet this requirement.
- Participate in accreditation, certification, or credentialing process that has an independent organization that reviews an agency’s policies and procedures.
- Ensure training and policy reflect a culture of equity, diversion, inclusion, accountability, and that promote procedural justice for community members and employees alike.
- Establish an employee wellness program that includes both physical and mental health.
- Conduct a culture assessment of the organization, with steps taken to address areas of concern.
- Provide body armor to officers and require the wearing of soft body armor while on uniformed patrol.
- Embrace the guardian officer rather than the warrior mindset in recruiting and training.
- Establish minimum educational standards or equivalency requirements that can be met by prior life experience. Provide officers with the opportunity for advanced education and training opportunities.
- Verify potential hires with the national decertification database before hiring experienced officers.
- Include measures of problem-solving, trust-building, and cultural responsivity in metrics of officer performance.
- Train officers in Trauma-Informed Responses.
- Train officers on best practices, resources, and tools for communicating with community members who do not speak English or whose ability to communicate is impaired.
- Establish partnerships to provide for mental health, substance abuse, and youth deflection/diversion resources in their community.
- Educate communities on the dynamics of policing and set reasonable expectations for their police. Establish shared expectations of the role police have in the community and solicit review and input from the community on agency policies and procedures.
- Establish a clear and timely complaint process that does not require written or sworn statements to submit. Complaint processes and policies should be accessible to all.
- Conduct a regular recurring survey of the community to measure the level of trust in the police.
- Establish written strategies to engage with youth and marginalized groups in the community to develop positive relationships with police officers and how to interact safely with police.