Sacramento P.D. Incorporates Training with Private-Sector Businesses

The Sacramento, California, Police Department focuses considerable attention on the professional training of its officers – and some of that training involves such private-sector business entities as Target, Nugget Markets, and Sutter Health. The department has partnered with those companies, and others, to incorporate lessons in how to make the police department a better place to work – and one that also provides high-quality “customer service.”

Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel started the program when he took over the department in 2008. About once a year, the department invites representatives from large companies that are well known for their customer service. “We have a motto around here: ‘Treat your employees right and they will treat the customers right’,” said Sergeant Jerry Camous, the department’s in-service field training supervisor.

Investments in employees – which Camous noted can be difficult to make because of budget cuts – include improved training opportunities, counseling for help because of the stress of the job, and the recognition of successful job performance. “Typically in law enforcement that does not happen,” he said. “In law enforcement, you only hear about the negatives.”

In addition to the focus on customer service within the department, Sacramento’s continuing emphasis on education goes well beyond the state’s mandatory requirements. California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training requires, for example, that police officers and dispatchers complete 24 hours of continuing professional training every two years. In addition, the commission requires four hours of training in each of three major operational areas: arrest and control; driving; and the use of firearms.

Sacramento officers, though, according to Camous, participate in a minimum of 98 hours of training every two years, including 18 hours of hands-on emergency vehicle operations training as well as special courses on how to deal with disabled people, the use of defensive tactics, and the investigation of domestic violence. The department also not only conducts 4 to 10 hours of annual handgun training but also schedules quarterly qualifications in that important skill.

According to Camous, cuts to the department’s budget have made it more difficult to send officers outside the department for training. However, the department received an $8.1 million federal grant in September to rehire 25 officers. Those officers were among the 42 who had been laid off in July to avoid a budget deficit. “A lot of them [the officers who had been laid off] have been snatched up by other agencies because of our reputation,” Camous said.

The police department’s emphasis on professional training could be paying off for the city in other ways. Somewhat surprisingly, crime has actually dropped despite the recent cutbacks in the police department. According to department data, in fact, the city’s crime rate has decreased significantly over the past four years. Violent crimes dropped from 5,128 in 2007, for example, to 4,110 in 2010; and property crimes dropped from 26,111 to 20,148 during the same time frame.

Domestic Preparedness

Domestic Preparedness



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