Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New bureau focuses on training and research

Until recently, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department was broken into four bureaus: Administration, Patrol, Investigations and Executive Services. (You can see our whole organizational structure on pages 8 and 9 of our 2008 Annual Report.) We've now added a fifth bureau: the Professional Development and Research Bureau. You can read all about it in this article from our September newsletter:

So important are training and being on the cutting edge of law enforcement trends that Chief James Corwin decided to create a new bureau devoted to them.

The new Professional Development and Research Bureau was established Aug. 23. It encompasses the Planning and Research Division, the Training Division and the remainder of the Blueprint for the Future project.

“Since I’ve been Chief, I’ve always talked about the importance of professional development and research,” Chief Corwin said. “It’s a natural fit with our training at the Academy. To really walk the talk, we raised it to the bureau level.”

Director Rick Brisbin, retired Chief of the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department and most recently executive officer of KCPD’s Administration Bureau, will lead the new bureau.

“This guy’s really talented,” Chief Corwin said of Director Brisbin. “He thinks totally outside of our box.”

Despite his new position, Director Brisbin will remain Director Brisbin. Chief Corwin said although it is unusual for someone without the rank of deputy chief to lead a bureau, “it doesn’t make any difference what we hang on our collars.” The department had no money for promotions this year other than sergeants, and they stuck to it with the creation of the new bureau.

For his part, Director Brisbin said he is splitting his days between his office in Headquarters and one at the Academy. The Academy no longer has a Major commanding it – Brisbin will be responsible for its full operation. He said he has several goals for it, including marketing its basic and advanced training capabilities to agencies across the region, and not just law enforcement. He thinks the private sector could benefit from KCPD-led courses, too. He also wants to build on the Leadership Academy.

“It’s our pearl, the next generation of training in the police business,” Brisbin said.

Chief Corwin said this eventually could include a partnership with a college or university.

As for the Planning and Research Division, Director Brisbin said the focus will shift more to research of emerging trends rather than periodic policy revisions. It will take on some of the characteristics of the Blueprint project, which involved a thorough audit of the department’s practices and task forces of hundreds who figured out how to make things better.

“Blueprint was really about research and critical introspection, and what cutting-edge police departments are doing,” Brisbin said. “So we thought, ‘How do we institutionalize that?’ It’s not research on a periodic or project basis. … We need to achieve a real balance between research and policies and procedures, which also are very important.”

Chief Corwin said he wants the creation of the bureau to send a message:

“We really mean that professional development and research are critical to this organization.”

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