Creating a Safer Upstate Beyond the Shield Workshop – Law Enforcement Outreach Strategies
The first Creating a Safer Upstate – Beyond the Shield Virtual Workshop of 2022 provided an opportunity for Upstate law enforcement agencies to share some of the ways they engage with their local communities.
The law enforcement panelists for the session were Chief Matt Hamby from the City of Greer, Chief Sonny Ledda from the City of Clinton, Chief Ben Ford from the City of Travelers Rest, and Lt. Todd Caron from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. The Community Leaders participating in the conversation will be Inez Morris from the West Greenville Neighborhood Association and Patrena Mims, Executive Director of the Bethlehem Center in Spartanburg’s Highland Neighborhood. Jim Shew from Marsh & McLennan and Keishe Nelson from Michelin coordinated the audience questions during the session.
Coffee with a Cop was a popular activity, along with community meetings, funeral escorts for veterans, and doing “talks” around town for churches and other civic groups. Many agencies offer trainings including active assailant, bus driver active shooter response, active shooter and reunification, and safety trainings for seniors and women. Many Upstate agencies also have citizens academies and do events for kids like trunk or treats, touch a trucks, First Bump Fridays, gun safety, Girls on the Run, summer Camp, and stuff a cruiser to collect school supplies and holidays gifts.
Ten at the Top will host a virtual event in May with Upstate agencies invited to hear from a National Night Out representative about the benefits of registering events this year, with the hope to have all events on the same day to build energy and awareness around community engagement.
Questions from the community involved building trust and relationships between law enforcement and communities. Chief Hamby discussed taking advantage of random opportunities to engage while working in neighborhoods, and the efforts law enforcement makes to incorporate community engagement into their work. COP cards (like baseball cards) were mentioned, and decals for drivers with autism. Many agencies receive training from their local disabilities and special needs boards.
View the slide presentation here, and a recording of the meeting here.
Chief TJ Chaudoin, City of Greenwood (c:864-992-7304)
Chief Howie Thompson, City of Greenville
Dr. Toney Parks, Senior Pastor at Mt. Sinai Baptist, and Chaplain to Greenville City Police
Mayor Terence Roberts, Mayor of Anderson, and Board of Directors Chair of TATT
Keishe Nelson, Credit Manager at Michelin Community Volunteer
Challenges to Hiring, Recruiting, Training
Relying more on communities
Focus on minorities
It’s a competitive market
Develop open dialogue with council persons in each zone
The hiring process takes six months, including:
Nelson Denney Test
PTO training program for 7-8 months
How have they been recruiting
Minority campaigns partnered with Army, Army PAYS program, first black female applicant currently in process, veterans to top of pool
Hiring workshops at convention center, with physical agility test
Hosted African American men ___org) at range
Yard signs in neighborhoods
Find Value Be Valued campaign, hired eight with previous experience
Some of the minimum standards set by state law (an average of 6% of applications received are eligible):
At least 21 years old
High School Diploma or equivalent
SC driver’s license
No driver’s license suspensions
No felonies, crimes of moral turpitude
Good credit history
Studies show that 29% of officers leave within first year of being hired nationally. An additional 40% leave the professional within 5 years. 8-20% stay to reach retirement. According to the SC Academy, in five years, 50% of the class is no longer in law enforcement after graduation.
Creativity is required in retention. Opportunities in Greer are available to:
Work toward being detective
Become a school resource officer
Work toward the K-9 Team or drone team
Participate in cross-training,
Receive private vendor training
Play a role in future planning and be part of a team
Greer offers a cash incentive to current officers to recruit – $500 for new hire plus $500 at end of probation period
College kids from Citizen’s Academy, from Greenville Tech, North Greenville University, Bob Jones, Anderson, and Furman
Develop relationships early, tour, take to lunch, ride alongs
Community Leader Q&A
What is the plan to encourage Latinx population?
Become actively involved in the community to build relationships for the future
Largest growing population in Greenville
Partnered with Hispanic Alliance job fairs
Aside-15% of the department is female
Focusing on all minorities and getting them to apply
How can elected officials help with recruiting and retention?
Bring elected officials along into communities
Focusing on recruiting next generation of hires
Provide leads of interested parties
Invite us to speak even to events you might not think are related
What training has been implemented to counter tragedies?
Outside agency oversight through national accreditation
Increase training budget
Specialize in communication and de-escalation
Review policies to ensure up to date
Repetitive training on simulators
Biased based training
Emotional intelligence training – entire staff
Crisis interventional training by NAMI
What has been learned from open dialogue in communities?
Everyone learns about each other; community understands force, office understands community concerns
New NET Team (neighborhood engagement team)
Goal – promote safety, prevent crime, enhance quality of life, neighborhood led
Every department relies of community support
With removing someone’s freedom comes heavy responsibility, so a high level of trust must be obtained by getting to know each other outside “business” dealings