Training session promotes contemporary notions of community involvement in policing; participants hail from Port Angeles to Port Townsend

PORT ANGELES — Getting to the bottom of crime takes the work of more than just police.

That’s why dozens of civilians are joining law enforcement officers from across the North Olympic Peninsula this week to learn about community-oriented public safety.

Port Angeles Police Chief Tom Riepe said the philosophy represents a paradigm shift from traditional policing to the notion that all aspects of a community — including merchants, educators, health care professionals and others — should be involved in getting to the root cause of a problem.

“It shouldn’t be called community policing — it should just be called good policing,” he said Wednesday.

Instructors with the Western Regional Institute for Community Oriented Public Safety, which goes by the acronym WRICOPS, are leading eight-hour training sessions this week with all Port Angeles commissioned police officers, some police records staff and dispatchers, and members of the Port Townsend and Sequim police departments.

Other participants are Port Angeles City Council members and the city manager, members of United Way’s Healthy Families of Clallam County, the Boys & Girls Club, the Port Angeles Law Enforcement Advisory Board, and representatives of other community groups.

The training involves organizational change and building partnerships in the community to solve problems, said WRICOPS Executive Director John Goldman, a former Spokane County sheriff.

Hopefully, it will help break the cycle of an officer responding over and over again to the same problem, he said.

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