HARRISBURG, PA — Colonel Robert Evanchick, the commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), announced two new community-based initiatives, the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) and the Community Access to Information Dashboard (CAID).
“Pennsylvania State Police personnel are always considering and developing initiatives that will improve the department’s transparency and community engagement,” said Colonel Evanchick. “The development of the OCE and the CAID assists our department in strengthening in-person community relations and public access to statistical data.”
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, socio-economic 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 (CAOs) and supervisors, and the Heritage Affairs Section, which consists of a section commander and four Heritage Affairs Liaison Officers (HALOs).
CAOs and HALOs work with community leaders, non-profit organizations, legislators, and other law enforcement agencies to build positive, proactive relationships with residents and visitors of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition, CAOs strive 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 are interested in the public’s ideas for developing strategies that may be employed to improve police-community relations in your neighborhood. Contact information is found on the OCE page, visit psp.pa.gov.
CAID was designed to allow the public to access and search PSP aggregated incident-related data. There are two primary goals of the CAID in sharing data with the public. One is to provide transparency to the media and public regarding traffic crash and enforcement, crime, and calls for service data. The second is 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.
“Due to the advancement of technology and current electronic reporting, data can now be collected, analyzed, and displayed utilizing multiple dashboards,” said Colonel Evanchick. “I want to thank all of the personnel who contributed to developing the public dashboard.”
PSP states it is interested in the public’s feedback. The “Contact Us” button located at the top of the CAID, provides the opportunity to submit suggestions for dashboard enhancements. The feedback will be provided to the dashboard development team for consideration.
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