Top Cops Going Back To School

To learn how to deliver an “inoculation” against the disease of crime, lieutenants and other police supervisors from across the country will soon start coming to a New Haven “Command College” for “medical rounds.”

John DeCarlo (pictured), former Branford police chief and current associate professor at the University of New Haven (UNH), laid out that extended metaphor Tuesday afternoon after a press conference on the third floor of police headquarters.

DeCarlo met there with New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, top brass from the city police department, and UNH staffers to announce the creation of a new “Command College” for police supervisors.

With the help of a $350,000 federal grant, UNH is working with Yale and the city on a new leadership and crime-fighting training program there for top cops from around the country. DeCarlo and others predicted the first-of-its-kind program will become a new national model for advanced training of police leaders.

The Command College will run a two-week summer program open to cops with the rank of lieutenant and above, DeCarlo said. Cops will apply to participate and will be admitted according to criteria including the crime rate in their area. Each one will be on a full scholarship and will have to pay only for their travel expenses.

The grant will pay for the college to run once per year for two years, training 50 cops. DeCarlo said he hopes to make it a self-sustaining program. If the grant-funding runs out, the college could break even by charging students for food and lodging during their stay, DeCarlo said.

For a fortnight of intensive training, cops will attend classes at UNH during the day, learning from Yale and UNH professors about the latest research findings on crime prevention. For example, DeCarlo said, cops might spend a day discussing “police legitimacy” with Yale Law School’s Tracey Meares. They would learn theories of how and why people choose to obey or break the law, and how police can shape their relationships with the communities they serve in order to build a culture of law-abiding.

In the evenings, students at the Command College will head to the New Haven police department, which will serve as a “laboratory” for the top cops to learn about ideas in practice. They will look at real crimes, real situations confronting New Haven cops, and discuss the application of research on the day-to-day work of policing.

DeCarlo compared the whole experience to a medical residency: It will be an immersive experience that combines theory with practice. The evening conversations will be like “medical rounds,” a sharing of ideas about the problem at hand.

Extending the medical metaphor, DeCarlo said that crime can be thought of as a social disease. Community policing is one of the main tools that New Haven has been using to combat the disease. DeCarlo said community policing will be used as the overarching “rubric” within which Command College will “wrap” other styles of policing: Problem-oriented, hot-spot, and order maintenance.

Community policing will be the “coating on the pill” of anti-crime “inoculation,” DeCarlo said.

“New Haven is proud to be the clinical home for this,” Mayor DeStefano (pictured with UNH criminal justice Dean Mario Thomas Gaboury) said during the press conference.

Chief Dean Esserman called the Command College “New Haven’s West Point” to train the profession’s elite. All four assistant chiefs took part in the pilot of the Command College, where Esserman was an instructor.

The college will “create a new breed of scholar practitioners,” DeCarlo said. The school will “shepherd the policing profession to its next evolutionary step,” he said.

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posted by: tomago on December 19, 2012  10:44am

A “command college” in one of the most dangerous cities in the United States…one that has failed for decades to curb crime? A city that has a revolving door for police chiefs because no one wants this train-wreck on their resume?

What’s next, a rehab center run by Lindsay Lohan? Couples therapy by John Edwards? How about a charm school run by the Kardashians? Get people jobs, Mr Mayor, crime will go down. Destefano has lost his mind.

posted by: Long Time NH Resident on December 19, 2012  9:26pm

Maybe they could teach them how to enforce traffic laws and how to speak with the public in a polite, yet authoritative way without being physical first.