Col. Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, announced two new community-based initiatives – the Office of Community Engagement and the Community Access to Information Dashboard.
The OCE was established to proactively engage with community members and organizations, and to collaboratively identify and problem-solve local challenges to increase the safety of residents, visitors and law enforcement. Outreach efforts include all segments of communities, including people of diverse faiths, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural traditions, gender and sexual orientation.
OCE is comprised of the Community Affairs Section, which consists of a section commander and 17 Community Affairs Officers and supervisors, and the Heritage Affairs Section, which consists of a section commander and four Heritage Affairs Liaison Officers.
These individuals work with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, legislators and other law enforcement agencies to build positive, proactive relationships with residents and visitors of Pennsylvania. In addition, CAOs are working to develop relationships within underserved communities across the commonwealth, commonly working together with minority groups, mental health advocacy groups and those in need. HALOs focus on educating the public on the role of law enforcement to create stronger relationships and to increase trust within the community, as well as working with local law enforcement agencies to prevent and investigate hate- and bias-related crimes. HALOs also lead the department’s training on implicit bias awareness and de-escalation techniques.
OCE command staff and personnel want to hear the public’s ideas for developing strategies that may be employed to improve police-community relations in Pennsylvania neighborhoods. Visit psp.pa.gov for contact information.
CAID was designed to allow the public to access and search PSP aggregated incident-related data. The goals of this are to provide transparency to the media and public regarding traffic crashes and enforcement, crime and calls for service data; and to provide the communities PSP serves with an ownership stake in their quality of life by demonstrating significant police-related incident trends and some of the mitigation efforts taken to impact those trajectories.
Future enhancements to CAID will include state police commercial vehicle enforcement data, crime data and calls for service. More information is here.
“Pennsylvania State Police personnel are always considering and developing initiatives that will improve the department’s transparency and community engagement,” said Evanchick. “The development of the OCE and CAID assists our department in strengthening in-person community relations and public access to statistical data.”