The Keizer Police Department and its 42 sworn officers work under the philosophy that applying effective, thoughtful policing activities that engage underlying problems is the best means to decrease crime and disorder.
The main strategy for KPD is problem-oriented policing, in which they identify and analyze the root causes for specific crimes and disorder. After which they apply policing or police-led activities toward a long-term solution. The KPD’s problem-oriented policing strategy incorporates a number of sub-strategies and tactics.
The first, and possibly most noticeable, is community policing, in which they work together and openly communicate with the community. It is an excellent way to increase visibility and enhance the legitimacy of the police in the community, and has been a part of KPD’s strategy since the early-mid 1990s.
“In modern times the term community policing connotes police engagement with community members, as opposed to a withdrawal of discretion and thus a withdrawal from engagement, which occurred in the mid-20th century asa response to corruption, an inevitable vestige of patronage government,” KPD Chief of Police John Teague said.
But on its own, community policing does little to solve and prevent crime. But those relationships that are built through it play a key role. Community policing is essentially just a small part of KPD’s problem-oriented policing strategy.
The three most common crimes that KPD responds to are theft, vandalism and trespassing, and there are a number of other strategies KPD rolls out to prevent them. Place-based policing focuses on high-crime places while offender-based policing focuses on high-crime individuals. Situational crime prevention tries to reduce the opportunities for crime in everyday life.
KPD and Teague recognize that there are still those in the community that don’t trust law enforcement personnel.
“We work hard to develop a culture that treats people well, internally and externally,” Teague said.
The department’s performance standards dictate personal attributes that members should strive to display in fair and impartial policing.
- Conscientiousness – holding oneself accountable to see that necessary things are done correctly
- Courage – Taking the right action at the right time even when the outcome is unknown
- Empathy – Intentionally understanding or striving to understand another person’s experience and perspective
- Helpfulness – Identifying a need and seeing that it’s met
- Humility – Possessing a modest estimation of oneself relative to others
Procedural justice, another part of the KPD’s performance standards, is the codification of the interaction between a person and a person of authority that promotes trust, fairness and legitimacy. The four principles of procedural justice are treating people with dignity and respect, giving people a chance to be heard, conveying trustworthy motives, and making reasonable, informed and transparent decisions.
Procedural justice is a requirement for members both towards the public and internally towards each other, and the performance standards even require the Chief of Police and staff to model and develop a culture of legitimacy and procedural justice in the department.
The department’s biggest need is also often at the heart of many stories surrounding negative police interaction across the country — body cameras.
“The singular resource we do not have but arguably need is body cameras, because there is an increasing expectation that police officers will wear body cameras,” Teague said.
While the initial cost of cameras is not the real obstacle, the data storage and retention costs, on top of data management, is where it gets to be a problem.