Kirkwood Police Address Community Concerns
In the past several weeks we have witnessed thousands of Americans take to the streets to protest police violence. Organizations and leaders are calling for transformational change within police departments aimed at improving community interactions and ensuring accountability in policing and public safety.
Recently, inquiries have been directed toward the Kirkwood PD with regard to the “8 can’t wait” campaign, which is a series of use-of-force policies/principles recommended by the group “Campaign Zero”, to improve police use-of-force outcomes and community safety. The question raised is how the Kirkwood Police Department’s policies and training align with the recommendations. They are described below:
1. Ban chokeholds and strangleholds.
2. Require de-escalation
3. Require warning before shooting
4. Exhaust all other means before shooting
5. Duty to intervene and stop excessive force by other officers
6. Ban shooting at moving vehicles
7. Require use-of-force continuum
8. Require comprehensive reporting each time an officer uses force
The Kirkwood Police Department has, for a number of years, incorporated in its general orders, procedures, and training all eight of the Campaign Zero recommendations. Kirkwood Police Department is committed to continuous improvement, and to ensuring that use-of-force policies and practices reflect national best practices in law enforcement as set forth through the department’s accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
The Kirkwood Police Department received its CALEA accreditation in May 2019. This means that the department has been recognized for meeting a set of rigorous standards regarding procedures, practices, policies and community involvement, to name a few. The process for the recognition took approximately three years and is reviewed on a yearly basis. The department is committed to the goal of always adhering to the most up to date best practices. This includes a constant reviewing of policies, practices and procedures. It also includes comprehensive de-escalation training in an advanced, interactive simulator which allows officers to practice in real-world scenarios.
The Department invests in all three of these along with the most important, Community Involvement. The Kirkwood Police Department, through its Community Service Bureau, has an extensive outreach program with the citizens of Kirkwood in order to foster positive relations. The Community Service Bureau uses officers assigned to the Patrol Division so officers and citizens can become familiar with each other. These programs extend through the residential, business, and service community.
Kirkwood Police conducts home and business security assessments; safety presentations to banks, places of worship, assisted living facilities, and realtors. The department also maintains a partnership with the library for their Read Attack program; participates in Safety Town at the Magic House and is a liaison to the Meacham Park Neighborhood Improvement Association. The department also strives to build relationships with the members of the community, particularly the city’s youth. Our School Resource Officers assigned with the Kirkwood School District get to know the students on a first name basis by sharing experiences and learning lessons. One of the department’s most successful programs is our bike rodeo that was started by one of our officers assigned to the elementary schools. The program has educated over 5,000 children regarding bicycle safety.
These are just a few examples of the Kirkwood Police Department’s ongoing efforts to reach out to, and stay an integral part of the Kirkwood community beyond law enforcement. As a progressive police agency, we understand that our primary goal is to equitably serve all members of our community while ensuring a safe city for everyone. We also understand that we cannot achieve that goal unless we foster positive, trusting relationships with our citizens. Our personal, full service approach to serving the community is an ongoing effort that we continue to evaluate for effectiveness and responsiveness to community needs.