National Police Survey Results and Review by Miami University Department of Family Science & Social Work
In response to a summer of advocacy and calls for change, the Oxford City Council passed a Resolution titled a Safe, Healthy, and Equitable Society on November 7, 2020. This resolution tasked Oxford Police Division (OPD) and the Police Community Relations and Review Commission (PCRRC) to collaboratively explore the specific question of how the City of Oxford can better support the OPD in responding to social and behavioral health challenges in the community, including but not limited to improved training and operational procedures, enhanced collaborations with local social service and mental health agencies/providers, and/or the hiring of a police social worker. Recommendations from the PCRRC to the City Council are due by June 1, 2021.
To conduct this review, the City of Oxford contracted with the National Research Center/POLCO to conduct the National Police Services Survey. This survey is a statistically valid survey of resident perceptions of safety and community policing in communities across America. The goals of the survey are intended to increase safety, align resident and government priorities, and strengthen relationships between communities and public safety officers.
There was a representative sample of 467 residents of the City of Oxford collected from January 27, 2021, to March 10, 2021. There was also an open survey for community members with 183 responses. POLCO will be presenting their findings at the May 18, 2021, City Council meeting at 7:30 pm and we encourage the public to attend. Residents are encouraged to read the final Report of Results and their presentation to City Council.
The PCRRC also took additional steps to address this resolution, by establishing a working group comprised of 2 PCRRC members, 2 community members, the Police Chief, and Assistant City Manager. This team of individuals met every other week, in public meetings, to review what the OPD’s current practices are, explore models of other police departments that utilize social workers, and hear from social service providers to better understand our community needs and identify gaps in service. This group also contracted with the Miami University Department of Family Science & Social Work to conduct focus groups, a literature review and an anonymous survey for community members, and a survey of city first responders.
The PCRRC workgroup used the information gathered in their meetings as well as the data gathered by both the National Police Services Survey and the review conducted by the MU FSW team to make a recommendation for the PCRRC. This recommendation will be shared at the May 20, 2021, PCRRC meeting at 7:00 pm. The PCRRC will then decide what recommendation they will share with City Council on the June 1st meeting.
The City will continue to work on section 2 of the Safe, Healthy, and Equitable Society Resolution with the creation of a new chapter in the City Comprehensive Plan. The City will spend the next two years working toward the creation of the contents of this chapter as a part of the new Comprehensive Plan process. This process is beginning in May 2021 and will continue through fall 2022 with many opportunities for public engagement. We encourage citizens to participate and engage in this important dialogue to help us establish our goals for our community.