On July 9, 2013 the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office hosted a national conference on the Smart Policing Initiative at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth FL. At the request of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) Smart Policing Initiative (SPI), CNA assisted with the development and delivery of a one-half day workshop on reducing victimization in immigrant communities. A key goal of the workshop was to introduce the PBSO SPI to surrounding law enforcement agencies and other organizations, and to encourage them to engage in Smart Policing practices, based on the lessons learned through PBSO SPI. Dr. Debra Ainbinder presented an overview of the goals of the PBSO SPI, which focused on reducing victimization of vulnerable Guatemalan immigrants in the Lake Worth community. Hildy Saizow and Benito Gaspar then presented the details of the PBSO SPI outreach initiatives, emphasizing the importance of community and justice agency engagement, private sector collaboration, and the role of the community liaison position at PBSO.
The next workshop session focused on law enforcement-focused SPI activities and the problem-solving approach adopted by PBSO SPI. Captain Silva explained that as a result of PBSO SPI, a Spanish-speaking detective was detailed to the Initiative and this contributed to an increase in contacts (both law enforcement and citizen initiated) between the Sheriff’s Office and the Lake Worth community. Michael Scott, SPI SME and Director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, commented on the PBSO SPI from his perspective. He discussed the considerable challenges faced by immigrant policing initiatives, such as language and cultural barriers, trust barriers, and differing legal norms. He also directed participants’ attention to the resources of the Problem-Oriented Policing Center and other crime prevention organizations.
A peer-to-peer consultation session was held after the workshop focusing on site-to-site dialogue regarding the implementation and progress with SPI in the two attending sites – PBSO and Port. St. Lucie, Florida.