Reassignment causes hiatus for community policing program
The Alameda Police Department (APD) recently announced that the department would shut down its Community Oriented Policing & Problem Solving (COPPS) unit effective Jan. 1, 2016. APD blamed the closure on “recent retirements” and stated that the department was reassigning Officer Frank Peterson, who ran COPPS, to patrol duty.
According to the announcement Peterson would no longer be able “to coordinate volunteer events, Neighborhood Watch meetings, building tours, ride-alongs, city and community meetings, or community events.”
According to the city’s website Peterson’s responsibilities also included Business Watch, the Citizen’s Academy, Alameda Bike Safety, as well as APD’s social media, including Facebook, NIXLE and Twitter.
For some police departments COPPS goes beyond organizing meetings and ride-alongs. For example Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) states on its website that COPPS is “an organization-wide policing philosophy and management approach that promotes community, government, police partnerships and proactive problem solving to reduce a jurisdiction’s crime and social disorder.”
Tallahassee, Fla., also defines COPPS as a philosophy. “COPPS represents the core of the police response to problems within the neighborhoods,” that city’s website states.
This is not the first time APD closed the unit. Budget cuts in 2005 spelled an end to COPPS.
APD pointed out that the department would “try to accommodate” requests it receives on the COPPS information line at 337-8305 or by email at COPPS@alamedaca.gov. APD said that the department would reopen the COPPS unit “when staffing permits.”