Community Action Partnerships

Community Action Partnerships

Community Action Partnerships

C-A-P

Community Action Partnerships

C-A-P stands for Community Action Partnerships, but what it means is vastly more important that what it stands for.  These partnerships have to do with the disconnect between Law Enforcement and the communities we serve.  To a very large extent, Law Enforcement has had an Us versus Them mentality.  I know this because of my long career in Law Enforcement spent entirely at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.  While we have tried various programs and initiatives, such as Community Oriented Policing, Problem Oriented Policing, D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), G.R.E.A.T (Gang Resistance Education and Training), these have all fallen by the wayside at the Sheriff’s Office for various reasons.  Law Enforcement tends to try to solve problems through reactionary measures.  Seldom, if ever, do they approach the citizens of their community in any meaningful way to determine exactly what the problems are that are causing our citizens to commit crimes and then actively soliciting the help of the citizens to come up with solutions to those problems. No one is more motivated to solve a problem than those experiencing the problem.

C-A-P will actively solicit feedback through person to person contact with communities within our county. C-A-P is unique because it is an active partnership, not just a conversation. Anyone wanting to make a difference in their families, in their neighborhoods and in their community,  is invited to become a partner with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.  I firmly believe there is a solution to every problem we face within our community. There are currently Community Action Boards (CAB) throughout many areas of our communities.  These are valuable and our continued participation in them is vital for the community to have a voice about issues within their neighborhoods.  However, we need to tap into the knowledge and passion of our citizen’s to identify problems, the causes of those problems and the solution to those problems.  As Washoe County Sheriff, I want our C-A-P team members to be able to say I a key role in fixing a specific problem within the community.  The days of bringing up a problem and expecting Law Enforcement to come up with a ground breaking idea are gone.  The true ground breaking ideas have yet to be discovered and I believe they live in the minds of our citizens.

By creating programs and solutions from within the community, we are impacting two key areas that are obstacles to sustainability of the programs.  The first is the bureaucracy and red tape required to start and sustain innovative programs is overwhelming at times.  True community based programs have far less bureaucracy and red tape to deal with and therefore creation and sustainability is much more likely.  The second is funding of such programs.  By creating community partnerships that create the community based programs, we are taking the responsibility of future funding out of the hands of government.  When economies falter and government budgets are cut, programs, whether innovative and successful or not, are cut.  Grass roots programs developed and supported through the community are not reliant on government funding so when budgets are cut, successful programs have a much better chance of sustainability.