To View a map of Community Policing Neighborhoods Click Here
Green Bay is fortunate to be one of the few police departments in the State of Wisconsin to have a team of officers dedicated specifically to neighborhoods. The concept of Community Oriented Policing (COP), sometimes referred to as neighborhood policing, has gained local acceptance since its inception here in 1995. With just 5 officers at the onset of this experiment, the philosophy of COP has grown citywide with 18 officers and now 4 crime prevention staff added to our team. The City is divided into 10 community policing districts, each with one or two officers assigned to them.
Community Officers seek to improve the quality of life for our citizens. These officers are assigned to a specific area of the city and are not typically dispatch to calls for service but rather, work on long term problems. Working the same part of the city gives the officers an opportunity to gain familiarity, ownership, and establish relationships with citizens in their neighborhoods. We have found that citizens, who may not otherwise report a crime or suspicious activity, are more willing to do so if they know a police officer personally.
Community officers employ several strategies to tackle crime and social disorder. One of these strategies is often referred to as Problem Oriented Policing (POP). POP employs the use of data analysis to identify trends and better understand the dynamics of problems. Data analysis assists us in identifying patterns and the underlying causes of repeat calls for service. Once the root causes are identified, the community officer looks for ways to solve the problem or reduce the harm caused by the problem.
The philosophies of COP and POP have evolved from theory to widely accepted philosophies in the law enforcement profession. By combining the two philosophies, Green Bay has discovered an effective formula of policing that promotes community involvement and attacks the root causes of crime. In 2010 the GBPD trained all of its officers in COP and POP. Green Bay is has been recognized both statewide and nationally as leaders, receiving the Herman Goldstein Award in 1999 and the Sir Robert Peel Award in 2009.
Our management team has placed emphasis on building community relationships by promoting community engagement. Part of this strategy includes more traditional and interactive patrol methods such as foot and bicycle patrol. Community policing is not just old wine in new bottles, it’s based on building partnerships with members of the community, conducting thoughtful research, and tackling problems that are most important to the citizens we serve. Community officers partner with neighborhood residents and businesses to identify their priorities and involve them in the solution to the problems.
Neighborhood Response Team
While Community officers work on long term problems in their respective districts, we identified a need for a mobile team of officers that could be assigned to special projects and focus on specific problems. In 2009, the Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) was added which includes three officers and a canine trained to locate illegal drugs. In 2010 the NRT was increased to 6 officers. The NRT compliments the work being done at the neighborhood level by the CP’s. NRT has made a significant impact on troubled areas of the city. For example, the NRT worked in the Imperial Lane neighborhood to address community concerns of social disorder and graffiti. The NRT forwarded over 100 housing code violations to city inspectors, made arrangements for graffiti to be cleaned up, and mobilized city crews to clean up debris and garbage.
Community Service Interns
Community Service Interns (CSI’s) works cooperatively with the Parks Department, Planning Department and Police Department to provide neighborhood based public services such as directing residents to proper resources, educating individuals/groups on various issues/ordinances, and providing other community outreach support to the residents as required. CSI’s work closely with Green Bay’s neighborhood associations and provide a conduit to city services. CSI’s are typically criminal justice students and the CSI’s program serves as an excellent opportunity to develop leaders. You will see the CSI’s at nearly every city sponsored event.
Community Policing Centers
Community Policing Centers serve as both office space and public meeting places where police can connect more closely with citizens in their neighborhoods. There are currently two community policing centers in Green Bay; 882 Shawano Ave. and 315 S. Baird St. In early February 2011 a third Community Policing Center, Olde North will open at 807 N. Irwin Avenue. A fourth center will open in the Imperial Lane neighborhood summer of 2011. The Joanne’s and Olde North Centers share space with agents from the department of corrections. These partnerships improve the communication between police and probation agents, increasing the accountability of persons released back into the community.
The WOW! Awards
In 2010 a new initiative was developed to recognize officers for providing outstanding customer service. The WOW! Awards began in the U.K. as a way to “catch people doing things right”. The Green Bay Police Department is the first police agency in the United States to join WOW! and now several other police departments are signing on. What makes WOW! unique is that employees are nominated by members of the public. The process serves not only as recognition for a job well done but promotes the police department’s vision of providing outstanding customer service. To date, 27 employees have received WOW! awards for providing outstanding customer service. To nominate an employee or to see recent nominations visit the Green Bay Police Department’s website at www.gbpolice.org .
Green Bay remains a leader in the state of Wisconsin for its nuisance abatement program as an effective strategy in combating illegal drugs and other nuisance activity. The term public nuisance generally refers to disruptive behavior that negatively impacts a neighborhood. Research shows that many crimes and social disorder are in some way linked to illegal drug activity. Community officers work directly with landlords to notify them when problems erupt. Under city ordinance, problem tenants can be cited for maintaining a public nuisance. In cases where drug activity has been identified, community officers work with landlords to give them the information and help they need to quickly evict these tenants. In rare cases where the property owner is uncooperative, the landlord can be billed for police services once certain criteria are met. Community officers work closely with our crime analyst to detect problems before they get out of hand and to work quickly to resolve them. See our Crime Analyst section for more information about nuisance abatement and other initiatives.
Highlights of 2010
Alcohol Compliance Checks
In 2010 we partnered with educators to survey young people to determine where they were getting alcohol. Using this information we developed a new strategy in addressing the issue of underage drinking called RED card/GREEN card initiative. The project was developed in partnership with the traffic enforcement unit, recognizing that underage drinking increases the odds of young people becoming involved in alcohol related traffic crashes. Compliance checks are conducted with underage volunteers and police officers. Licensees who pass the check are issue a GREEN card praising them for their success. Licensees who fail are issued a RED card with an order to attend a city council meeting to explain what went wrong. The response has been positive and our compliance rate has been steadily climbing.
The Green Bay Police Department received grants from the Department of Transportation and a local organization, Partners in Youth. These grants have helped us to fund these initiatives and also helped to fund a research project so that we can better understand these complex issues. This research will help us formulate more effective strategies in dealing with alcohol related issues.
Graffiti cases solved
Citizens reported a rash of graffiti complaints in 2010. Most of the graffiti was either spray painted or drawn on buildings with markers. A community policing officer developed information in the neighborhood she worked which led to a breakthrough in the case. The officer was able to identify and arrest 10 individuals involved in the vandalism, clearing over 50 cases. The arrests were the direct result of the working relationship the officer had with members of the community.
Criminal Gang House Shut Down
In August Community Officers shut down a criminal gang house at 716 S. Ashland Avenue, on the city’s west side. People who lived at the house were involved in a number of violent gang related crimes throughout the city including a robbery and home invasion. The residence was ordered vacated by the Brown County Circuit Court following a legal action filed by the Green Bay’s City Attorney. Community Officers partnered with patrol officers, the Gang task Force (GTF), and neighborhood residents to gather the information needed to shut down the problem residence. This is the first time in Green Bay history that such an approach was used to close a criminal gang house. The residents face multiple felony charges and the house has been vacated. Peace and order has been restored to the neighborhood.
Crime and Social Disorder Drop in a Downtown Neighborhood
Green Bay Police partnered with citizens in a downtown neighborhood to improve their quality of life through a project called, “Clean Sweep”. The purpose of Project Clean Sweep was to come up with a systematic approach in dealing with neighborhood drug houses that went beyond the traditional methods of policing. This project focused on the Navarino and Joanne’s Neighborhoods located on the near east side of Green Bay. The approach included some traditional policing strategies such as identification of drug activity, active dealers, gaining intelligence on each location and then obtaining a drug search warrant.
Project Clean Sweep focused not only on the underlying causes of social disorder; it employed a new strategy of community engagement which kept residents informed, generated citizen tips, and restored peace and order. Police calls dropped 13% and progress continues. A citizen survey showed that 70% of the residents in the neighborhood felt their quality of life improved since the project began. The Officers received an award from the Crime Prevention Foundation of Brown County.
Zero Tolerance Enforcement
The strategies of problem solving and community engagement are not soft on crime. Community officers regularly engage in what is often called traditional law enforcement. For example, one officer working the Imperial Lane neighborhood stopped a vehicle for having illegal window tint, a relatively minor traffic infraction. Through good old fashioned police work and instinct, the officer discovered the vehicle was being used to smuggle drugs and recovered over $7,000 of cocaine.
Problem Bar Shut Down
One of Green Bay’s most troubled bars, Vicenzi’s, was located downtown. Problems emanating from this establishment drew a disproportionate amount police resource from the rest of the city. Problems included fights, violent assaults, thefts and a variety of liquor license violations. Citizens mobilized and attended public hearings. Community officers partnering with patrol officers and detectives conducted numerous investigations and attempted to resolve problems with the bar owner. Crime analysis played a key role in getting the attention of city officials. A lengthy investigation and legal battle ensued and the bar owner eventually surrendered his liquor license following his arrest on charges of bribing witnesses. The bar was closed on November 18, 2010 and behavior problems in downtown have been dramatically reduced. This case serves as yet another example of partnerships between community officers, detectives, patrol officers and citizens to reach a solution to a community problem.
Seizure of Synthetic Drugs
K2 or “spice” has become a popular intoxicating drug, especially among young people. K2 has been marketed as incense however it contains ingredients that have the same intoxicating effects as marijuana. Despite its label stating, “Not intended for human consumption”, K2 is smoked, much the same way as marijuana. We also learned that the drug was finding its way into our schools. Laws regulating K2 are yet to be enacted by our state legislature however; the City of Green Bay passed an ordinance banning the substance in December of 2010. About a week after the ordinance was passed, NRT officers seized of over $65,000 of K2. The action of the NRT in seizing these drugs has greatly reduced the availability of K2 to our youth.
Prescription Drug Drop-off Program
On April 19th we launched a prescription drug collection program. The disposal of unused medications poses a complex problem faced by nearly everyone who has ever received them. Unused medications in the home pose a health and safety risks for a variety of reasons. Medications that are not safely stored can be accessible to children and may result in accidental poisonings. Controlled substances such as OxyContin and Hydrocodone are commonly abused and may fall into the wrong hands. From the time we started the project we have recovered over 2,000 lbs of medications. We make sure these medications are properly destroyed in the most environmentally sound manner. The project is an example of yet another partnership between the police and members for the community. With the help of donations and volunteers, the project has been an overwhelming success.