Session #4 - November 13, 2002, 1400-1600 hrs,
Richmond Cultural Centre (across street from detachment)
Room# Lecture Hall
Understanding and applying CAPRA at the leadership level.
to information you'll find on this page:
NOTE: All past and future study material to be posted online. Advanced and additional study tips will also be posted online as time permits. You will already note many additional tips and directions already posted. It is strongly suggested that interested persons stay current by reviewing website for updates and details. Everyone emails via ROSS will soon diminish and it will be your responsibility to utilize the web for info/updates.
Richmond Detachment is hosting a series of sequential study sessions to assist in understanding of the PRP and JSE Exam process.
We will have a study session every 2 to 3 weeks starting September, until late January 2003. They will be hosted by the writer and numerous special guests. Break out sessions and further work groups will form as requested.
These study sessions will focus on the fundamentals of leadership, management, CAPRA, (MVV) mission-vision-values and our core competencies.
You will learn in detail about leadership, the change process and our core competencies. How to operationalize them within your day-to-day duties and highlight them within an exam or PRP process.
There is no quick fix or a short cut to getting promoted. Leadership is a journey, all these study sessions can do is point you in the right direction on expectations. In other words, the RCMP has expectations from it's leaders. You will learn from current RCMP leaders about Force's expectations. You will hear me talk a lot about "Managing Expectations". This is just one of a host of topics that we will flush out in due course.
Think of these study sessions as a "road map". This "map" will point you in the right direction. It is your responsibility to take that "map" and explore it further. It also means "walking the talk" through PRP examples and recognizing the "right" thing within the exam process.
This initiative is not only for Richmond Detachment members. Feel free to pass this onto anyone within the LMD that can make a session. Even if you do not have
promotable service yet, why wait? Consider getting a head start by learning about "expectations" now.
You do NOT need to reply. Attendance is on your own time and expense.
Speaking Notes for CAPRA Presentation to Director and Sr. Police Leaders of
Michigan State Police
Moving the Philosophy to the Pragmatic
A presentation in applying the CAPRA problem solving model to policing
operations and administrative functions
The intent of this short presentation is to share with you just a few examples
of CAPRA in action. I will highlight a few lessons learned and a few ideas. I
have been immersed in the CAPRA problem solving model for over 5 years now.
CAPRA is a Philosophy, A Way We Do Business. Everything I do throughout my day,
operational and administratively incorporates the CAPRA based philosophy. I
don’t even think about it. It is just the way I do Business. My Goal here today
is to just share with you how I have seen CAPRA or Client Based Problem Solving
implemented in the Field within a multitude of disciplines within Operational
and Administrative Policing of the RCMP.
My background is mostly operations and the examples I will share with you come
from Small, Isolated Northern Out Posts, Medium Sized Detachment and Larger City
Police Departments ( Where I currently Serve )
There were some of growing pains, still are…I will explain those as we proceed
along. CAPRA is custom designable for any type of problem solving. My hope is
that you learn from our successes, our challenges and some our lessons learned
There is no doubt that some of our examples you may have done, or are currently
doing. In this case, I will be able to show you how the philosophy fits within
the action you already have in place.
Secondary results that may result from a problem solving philosophy (1)
Deployment Enhancement – The deployment of human and material assets. When you
begin working with a host of clients, understanding their unique and various
needs, it has been my experience that you will also find “Custom Designed” or
“Enhanced Ways” to deploy these asset. IE: Community Police Station may be cure
that “perception” problem; (2) Community Revitalization. When you take a genuine
interest in a community or group, many times it is found that the Police can
“Revitalize” an area or a Community. It may be a strategy that “Takes Back the
Streets” (3) Legitimacy To All Clients. Digging deep into problems provides the
environment to become extremely sensitive to the different needs and
differences. IE: Seniors ( Dedicated Patrols or Community Stations for
perception issues, plus they are always looking for something to volunteer and
assist) IE: Youth – Dedicated School Liaison. IE: Specific Neighborhood (
Dedicated Community Officer or maybe you put the name of the Community on the
Police Vehicles that serve that area) (4) Quality Service Quality Service is an
out put which is a direct result of Our People. You will hear me talk more about
the “Inside Out Approach” later. (5) Partnership Approaches- Mutual Benefits:
Instead of just being a “Police” problem, it becomes a Community problem.
Community ownership of an issue creates a support network and the Police are not
left our on a limb. Empowering the community to run with various aspects of the
responses. IE: Maintaining your Community Stations, Community Surveys, Web Site,
The shift to a client based problem solving approach presents a number of
interesting challenges and dynamics.
Leadership - Moving away from a total command and control structure can be
difficult for some managers The role of “enabler” is crucial to a successful
implementation. Walking the talk that our employees are “our most valuable
asset” is essential. Team approaches – Team Leader instead of Commander.
Increased transparency – Be prepared to open up. At the beginning, more time is
required. Long term benefits include increased client satisfaction ( both
internal and external clients) and the elimination of many reoccurring problems.
Risk acceptance – Many Police organizations are not know for their training of
innovative, creative and consultative officers. Although, these qualities
flourish within investigational techniques, we have not always promoted it
within community problem solving.
Slide 5 No slide 6
In many areas, Policy is reduced and streamlined. We found much of Policy became
Guidelines. The Full MEAL deal was the test…Is it Moral, Ethical, Affordable and
Time Savers – There are many things that we do that could be streamlined in the
bigger Risk Management picture. IE: Reduction of paperwork, Maybe less pressure
for stats, less audits ( reviews ), independent file management philosophy ( we
trust them with a gun and bullets, why can’t we trust many of our officers with
enhanced supervisory responsibilities?) Our Risk Assessment is a yearly Quality
Assurance review where high risk areas are covered with a fine tooth comb and
lower risks are accepted as a cost of doing business. Of course, this is always
assessed and fine tuned as required.
Community Ownership of Initiatives – Empowering the Community to utilize CAPRA
not only builds Community ownership, it takes much of the time burden off the
Be prepared to run into road blocks, hurdles, brick walls and downright “No”
Your Risk Analysis Summary outlines a number of Risk Factors, Effects and Action
that must be taken to ensure the success of this philosophy.
Just a couple of “lessons learned”. Respect the customs of the past. Police
Officers are an interesting breed. Respect their customs.
Be prepared for ongoing training. Not only are we talking about perishable
skills, continuous support must be seen.
Front Line Supervisors are key If there was only one message that I was able to
deliver, this is it. Your Front Line Supervisors are the pace car. They make or
break it for you! These supervisors may be Formal and Informal Leaders.
Regardless, they must be “on board”. Top down driven initiatives never
Identify champions and promote their word and deeds.
Walk the talk – be consistent ( inconsistencies will breed contempt)
Finally, remember….we were trained as LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS. Make sure you
always promote ENFORCEMENT as one of the primary tools in this expanded “tool
kit” that your Police Officers are developing. This will help settled down the
“warm and fuzzy” tags that are usually thrown out at locker room talk.
Driving the philosophy forward takes nurturing and determination.
It is high maintenance at first. This will change over time as the successes
start to roll in.
We are dealing with a mind set. For some of us, it takes longer to take on this
Community involvement can take off much of the time pressures.
If I could only leave you two messages, my second message would be…Always
promote and champion flexibility and adaptability. Of course things are going to
go sideways on you. Accept it and promote it. This is where the final “A” in
CAPRA is so crucial….Assessment. You have to be flexible and adaptable to the
changing demands and realities.
Highlight success and call them Current Practices ( NOT Best Practices).
Consider setting up a central “Current Practices” repository ( so we do not have
to re-invent the wheel)
On bad days just remind yourself this is a “temporary imbalance”
Inside Out Approach - Getting the employees up to speed, bought in with the
philosophy before going to the outside world is the first step. What I have
found is that the Community welcomes this type of philosophy with open arms. It
is not a tough sell job. They love it. But, it is our people that have to be
trained, understand, operationalize and support in advance, that is crucial.
Your systems and structures have to support this “way of doing business”. If you
are NOT supporting Empowerment, Creativity and Flexibility as an organization,
imagine how the front line officer is going to buy in. Do Not go out in advance
to the Community and not have a deep commitment internally first.
Statistics may go up at first or for several years….maybe because you are
opening doors past shut. Maybe because one of the strategies includes “targeted
or stepped up enforcement” Do not rely solely on stats as an indicator. Keep
records of local successes and client satisfaction.
The media may be able to assist in laying the foundation.
Be careful not to raise the level of expectations and then not follow through.
This causes more damage than just leaving the “status quo” alone.
The following are seven diverse Operational Examples of CAPRA in Action
The Emergency Response Team ( SWAT Team) is a great example of High Risk
enforcement balancing the philosophy throughout training and pre-deployment.
Let there be no misunderstanding….during activation, we follow a very regimented
Command and Control structure. It is the pre and after deployment aspects that
are interesting to note.
Recognizing that most of our Clients are internal is important here. They need
to be heavily consulted during preparation and training modes.
In the Response feature of CAPRA, outlining expectations and command models has
served us well.
Laying out our decision making models in advance ( in other words, managing
expectations) has served us well. The ERT team members know when their
participative involvement is expected. They also know when regimentation is
expected. Inviting all our other clients into developing our service delivery
has also served us well….legitimacy with the front line and the Communities.
Our Incident Management Intervention Model is based on the CAPRA philosophy.
This model is applied in all our ERT operations.
“The Officer continuously assesses the risk and applies the necessary
intervention to ensure public and police safety
One stop shopping for Community Services and Safety is coming sooner that we
The first step is the “Integrated Service Team” approach.
We decided to “drive the bus” on this initiative. The result is that we have a
lot more say that being legislated into participating.
Our challenge will be ensuring the front line officers not only participate in
the pilot project, but that they proactively bring new ideas to take this
concept to the next level.
By identifying our front line officers as direct clients and having them
involved from the beginning was key for initial buy in.
Identifying all the direct and indirect clients was our first step. Involving
them all from the beginning, brought the synergy required to ultimately support
Taking our time on the Acquiring and Analyzing of the problem(s), providing
verifiable statistics and asking for input, brought the solution “no response
during day time” to the table.
Here is an example of Transparency. We were open on our internal operations and
deployment of resources.
This enforcement approach became one of several responses to the problem.
Slide 17 Nothing
Community and Media buy in was crucial to ensure this success of this
We continue to assess and watch closely.
No complaints from the Community has occurred and Alarm Companies have
“tightened” their service delivery as a result of our reduction of service.
Reacting to a serious incident was the original driving factor to this Client
Based Problem Solving example.
Empowering the youth, providing direction and support was all that was initially
required. They did all the work.
Liquor sales in the Community sky rocketed because everyone wanted a
personalized liquor bag. The Community was happy with increased business.
International recognition occurred ( this was not why we did this ) But, this
fostered even more support for the philosophy that the local Police had adopted.
Most importantly, entire Communities joined together in proactively preventing
drunk drivers and fatal accidents from occurring.
Our Federal Health investigative unit wanted to conduct an “undercover
operation” on our local businesses that were selling cigarettes to youth under
the age of 18. Enforcement was the initial response to this problem.
They were asked to consider CAPRA and “alternative measures” on offending
businesses that were identified selling to Youth. We wanted to deal with the
“Root” issue also.
This required me to advise the Court of our intentions and to hold the charges.
A Community CAPRA took place and the businesses were extremely supportive. More
interestingly, community support came out in mass.
The Onside program gave officers the opportunity to become involved with youth
in their assigned schools. Partnerships were formed within the youth and
external groups. We invited other community role models to become involved.
Teachers, Community Leaders and others began working with the youth also.
Asking the Youth what they wanted …taking the time to listen and act was key.
Empowering them and supporting them was a very important response that we were
required to take.
Because of the rural, isolated setting, we were forced to take a leadership
Becoming role models and spending time with the Youth was a change in policing
Front end investment of having Police Officers make quality contacts with the
Youth meant relaxing some of the old management rules and expectations. Finding
that balance was challenging, but the pay-offs were worth it.
Client satisfaction went through the roof. Officer motivation increased and
Youth Crime ended.
Traditional investigative response was respected and engaged during this
Applying a Client Based Problem Solving approach after the offence was the
thrust of this example.
It helps when the Police are not seen as the “hunters” on a First Nation
Community. Building prior relationships had already fostered the “trust” factor
necessary to enable some of the responses that were taken.
Many of these initiatives were generated during the interactions around this
Supporting a holistic preventative approach for further acts of violence was
Ideas and initiatives began to snow ball. The interesting aspect here is that
the Police were not the drivers in many of the projects. Police were
instrumental is locating and facilitating the involvement of the subject matter
The model can be applied to any operational or administrative issue.
The most important step is first taking the time to identify and involve all
clients. Internal and external, direct and indirect clients. Through listening
to all clients, the solutions are usually identified.
Ownership becomes that of all clients involved.
Since adopting the CAPRA model, whenever possible, I am always seeking the input
of a host of clients. In an indirect way, I have learned a valuable lesson that
in most instances, there is usually more than one right answer to a problem.
“Usually, there is more than one right answer. Thinking this way allows for
alternatives and other options to be considered. In other words, if you only
focus on only one right answer, you may stop looking as soon as you find one.
Instead, keep looking. Look for that second and third right answer, and so on.
It is usually when you are looking for these other right answers, that
potentially better solutions are found.”
Royal Canadian Mounted Police