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Reno Police Department’s COP+: A Model for Rebuilding Community Trust

In 1980, the State of Nevada passed a new property tax cap law that affected the City of Reno greatly. The drop in tax income led to a decrease in public service. The police department suffered through years of personnel and equipment reductions. At the same time, population was rising. The situation led to a serious situation. Image of police was very poor in the community. Police had to fix their relations with the community. The Reno Police Department saw the increasing popularity of Community Oriented Policing in many cities and came up with its own model. Called Community Oriented Policing-Plus (COP+), designed to fix their bad community image and raise support for the financially affected organization.

Reno Police Department’s (RPD) COP+ program was a complete reorganization and new management style. Each employee, from a clerk to the chief of police, had to take 40-hour COP+ training. Because of the financial and political issues facing the department, there was no time to implement the program gradually. It was an immediate department-wide application to achieve the program’s goals and to win back the community. COP+ training stressed police/community relations as the most important element. It gave officers increased discretionary authority to carry out their additional responsibilities. They issued each officer a resource manual listing government and social agencies that could help in solving problems.

Neighborhood Advisory Groups improved police/community relations. The department formed a series of community groups representing neighborhoods to meet with police officials regularly. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss their problems and solutions. Through the years, the Advisor Group system expanded and now has specialized advisory groups that meet directly with the chief of police. They are Media Advisory Group, Citizen Advisory Group, and Professional Advisory.

They have added the Quality Assurance section within the department to conduct internal and external surveys to measure community satisfaction. QA conducts two major Community Attitude and Confidence surveys and 24 mini-surveys a year. They conducted twice the main survey a year. Every six months, the QA survey 700-800 random residents. The survey helps the department understand the community’s attitude toward the police. They discuss each survey with executive staff and they share the results with department members, city council, and the Advisory Groups. A division runs the mini-surveys to see how well people evaluate their operation.

Both services, the Neighborhood Advisory Groups and the Quality Assurance contributed to the improvement of the Reno PD and measuring community’s satisfaction.

Learn more Reno Police Department’s Community Oriented Policing-Plus

Cover Photo FB @RenoPoliceDepartment

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