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The Texas Center for Policing Innovation helps make communities more livable by working with public officials and community leaders to improve public safety. In situations where public safety is at risk or quality of life can be enhanced, we fulfill this mission through an integrated set of core activities. The choice of which are undertaken is determined by a comprehensive need assessment. Projects typically involve three phases, namely: a) assessment, b) intervention, and c) evaluation.
Phase I: Assessment
The assessment process begins with the establishment of an assessment team assembled for each project. Team membership is determined in an ecologically valid way, taking appropriate account of historical, cultural, political, and situational factors that play a role. The assessment team consists of members with experience at all levels of police agencies and substantive expertise as needed, for example, in the areas of: a) protection of civil rights, b) facilitation of gender equity, c) support for democratic institutions, d) support for market-based economies, and e) effective and fair civilian police force development. The team conducts an on-site assessment usually lasting around a week. The team prepares a report and a briefing for the project steering committee.
Phase II: Intervention
The particular intervention to be employed in any given case is designed by a steering committee. Although the composition of the team will vary from project to project, we generally try to keep the same Chair in order to realize the efficiencies in economies of scope. We presently utilize Mr. Bill Geller as our steering committee Chair. Mr. Geller is a former Associate Director of the Police Executive Research Forum. He also prepared a white paper on policing in emerging democracies at the request of the then-Director of NIJ, Mr. Jeremy Travis.
Mr. Geller is one of the many leading lights of the civilian policing field who will serve on project steering committees. Project steering committee team members will be chosen based on their fit with project issues. Steering committees will be composed of people such as:
Briefed by the assessment team and informed by its report, the steering committee develops a blueprint for the intervention. The intervention generally consists of some combination of training and technical assistance. The training and technical assistance is most likely to be in-country, but we have capacity and experience in bringing foreign police commanders to the U.S. for that purpose as well. A hallmark of the interventions we design will be approaches that are no more complex than necessary, but comprehensive enough to increase the chances that key stakeholders in-country will support the improvements sought by the intervention. We aim for impactful, sustainable changes in line with the agreed purposes of the project.
Phase III: Evaluation
Program evaluation is undertaken to the full extent desired by the project funder and is both formative and summative. Summative evaluation—the most traditional form—determines whether desired outcomes and intended impacts were realized. It informs the stakeholders whether the project delivered what it was supposed to.
Unfortunately, summative evaluation information arrives too late to be of use in modifying implementation strategies to maximize realization of goals. Formative evaluation provides the project team with thoughtful analysis and real-time data that allow for changes in implementation during implementation. Wherever the formative evaluation data suggests implementation is not working as intended, the steering committee is convened, presented with the data and expert advice of in-country service providers, and asked to revise the implementation strategy.