DC Public Safety Television Show–Cooperative Efforts With Law Enforcement
http://media.csosa.gov (CSOSA social media website)
http://www.csosa.gov (CSOSA website)
Len Sipes: Hi, and welcome to D.C. Public Safety. I’m your host, Leonard Sipes. Today’s show is on police and Parole and Probation cooperation. You know, there is a variety of research indicating that public safety is best served when Law Enforcement and Parole And Probation agencies work side by side. Our guest for the first half are Nancy Ware, the Director of my agency, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Assistant Chief, Peter Newsham of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Joining us on the second half will be the United States Marshal for the District of Columbia Marshal, Michael Hughes, and to Director Ware and to Assistant Chief Newsham, welcome to D.C. Public Safety.
Nancy Ware: Thank you Leonard.
Peter Newsham: Thank you.
Len Sipes: I really appreciate you being on the program today, but we do have a national audience and an international audience far beyond D.C. Nancy, give me an overview of what we do at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.
Nancy Ware: Well, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency is affectionately known in D.C. as CSOSA. And at CSOSA we’re responsible for the supervision of offenders who have returned to the District of Columbia from the Federal Bureau Prisons and/or are sentenced to community supervision by the courts, D.C. Superior Court. So we have approximately 6,000 offenders under our supervision on any given day, and about 25,000 who come to us out of, come to us for supervision over the course of a year.
Len Sipes: And so we’re basically the Parole and Probation agency for Washington D.C.?
Nancy Ware: We have probably one in every 41 District residents under our supervision at any given time.
Len Sipes: That’s an amazing statistic. And we’re a federal agency, right?
Nancy Ware: We’re a federal agency and –
Len Sipes: Different from most agencies throughout the country, the fact that we’re a federal agency.
Nancy Ware: That’s true, and that came as a result of the Revitalization Act of 1997 and we were put in place as a federal executive level agency in the year 2000.
Len Sipes: Assistant Chief for the Metropolitan Police Department, one of the best known police agencies in the country, give us an overview of what you do.
Peter Newsham: Oh, I’m just at the MPD – Metropolitan Police Department. We have about 3,900 officers and about 500 civilian members and essentially what we do is we work with the community to make sure the nation’s capital is safe. That includes anything from making arrests for minor offenses all the way up to providing security for diplomats, the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States.
Len Sipes: That’s a huge mission.
Peter Newsham: It is.
Len Sipes: And it’s unlike any other mission from any other police department in the country. Maybe New York is comparable, but Washington D.C. is truly a unique mission.
Peter Newsham: It is unique. We have the, you know, the nation’s capital is a place where men come to demonstrate and voice their views and that’s a large part of what we do. We’ll be hosting the inauguration coming up in January.
Len Sipes: You know, and both of you have national and international coverage.
I mean, Governing Magazine just did a wonderful piece on Chief Lanier in Washington D.C. Police Department. Director Ware, we’ve just been on the White House website and [INDISCERNIBLE 00:03:24] a front page of Corrections.com, so we’re basically devoted to best practices, we’re nationally known for devotion to the best practices and the research, it’s interesting, from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and from the Department of Justice, basically what they’re saying, within the last couple years, is that law enforcement agencies really do need to work well with parole and probation agencies. Assistant Chief, why do you think that’s important?
Peter Newsham: Well, first there’s efficiencies to be had, when you’re working with other agencies that are in the District of Columbia doing a similar mission. And that’s one of the things that we’ve learned. And then the availability of information that we have to share with CSOSA and they have to share with us is really helpful to us to accomplish our mission. You know, there’s some information that, you know, people that are released will give to CSOSA, probation and parole officers, they wouldn’t necessarily share with the police, and being able to have that information helps us accomplish our mission.
Len Sipes: And Director Ware, I mean, the interesting here is that [INDISCERNIBLE 00:04:26] we’re devoted to best practices, we constantly talk about research in the office, we talk about what’s new, what the best practices are, so this is just another best practice for our parole and probation agencies.
Nancy Ware: Yeah, and it’s been successful here in D.C.. As you know, Washington D.C. is very unique, because so much of our law enforcement is now federally run. The U.S. Parole Commission is a federal agency, CSOSA is a federal agency, Pre-trial Services is part of CSOSA, although it has an independent mission. So, we do have to collaborate across jurisdictions to be sure that we maximize public safety for the District of Columbia and we work well together as Assistant Chief Newsham said, to maximize our resources. So intelligence sharing is one way that we do that, through our GPS systems, which is our Global Positioning System. And it helps us to track offenders and to work with MPD on making sure that we are monitoring our highest risk offenders. And but we also do a number of other initiatives which we’ll talk about more in the show.
Len Sipes: I’m glad you brought up high risk offenders, because I wanna continue with that. We have publicly stated our devotion to focusing on high risk offenders. These are individuals with substantial substance abuse histories, criminal histories, a lot of them younger, so that is our priority and what we’re saying is are we not, that we should be placing most of those, our resources, whether they be supervision or treatment on high risk offenders, correct?
Nancy Ware: That’s right, and you mentioned evidence based practice. Well the evidence has shown us nationally that most of the resources that you spend on low risk offenders are really wasted because many of them are in compliance, they have jobs, and the more pressure you put on them, the less likely it is for them to maintain their stability. Whereas our highest risk offenders are the ones that we wanna make sure that we monitor carefully and we work with as the law enforcement partners to help them to stabilize, provide them every resource that we can, with a dwindling resource pool across not just the city, but also the federally agencies. So we want to make sure that we really prioritize offenders as high risk who have a history of sex, weapons or violence offences, and that’s where we put most of our resources.
Len Sipes: And Assistant Chief, the same philosophy, when I read the law enforcement research, the same philosophy seems to apply. It seems to be a focus on places and people. It seems to be not just everybody that’s involved but people who are committing the bulk of the crimes, so that focus on that high risk offender dovetails very nicely in terms of the philosophy of the Metropolitan Police Department.
Peter Newsham: Oh, absolutely. I mean, as most people know that the D.C. area had a reputation of having violent crime. We’ve made significant strides in reducing that and one of the ways that we’ve done that is to focus on the violent offenders. And we do have the people under supervision who can reoffend and the way that they focus, CSOSA focuses on the most high risk is, it fits, like you said, dovetails perfectly with what we’re doing to make sure that you know, we know who they are, we have information on them and the ultimate goal, really, we don’t want them to reoffend, but if they do, then we can bring them back into custody and make sure that the District of Colombia is safe.
Len Sipes: Well, two things come to mind almost immediately. When I was a young police officer, many decades ago, nobody mentioned parole and probation to me at all. I mean, nobody, there was never any discussion whatsoever about working with the parole and probation officers in the State of Maryland. I mean, we’ve come a long way. Exactly, haven’t we?
Nancy Ware: Yeah, we definitely have, because I think that you know, many years ago there wasn’t a recognition that the partnerships are what makes it work. That no agency can do it alone and you heard the Chief talk about that quite a bit and all the Chiefs frankly, over the years, have begun to appreciate that it’s really important for, not just law enforcement partners, but also treatment providers, housing, employment, all of us to have the same goal, which is to keep the city safe and for us, it’s really important to stabilize the offender population, to help them to find jobs, find housing, find you know, to find the treatment that they need, so that as Assistant Chief Newsham said, we’re not trying to send them back to prison. We want them to become productive citizens of our community.
Len Sipes: And research says exactly that. The research seems to be abundantly clear that it’s just not a matter of supervising; you have to – if the person has a mental health problem, the question becomes, do you want that person treated? If the person has a raging drug problem, the question becomes whether or not you want that person treated. So the programs are extremely important, but my guess, Assistant chief, is that the average police officer that I’ve talked to within the Metropolitan Police Department also says, “Hey look, I really want this person to succeed. I really want this person to get the help that they need. If they don’t, we’ll take’em.” But we really want them to get the help and that help is necessary.
Peter Newsham: Yeah, I mean D.C. is kind of a small big city. Our officers get to know some of these folks pretty intimately and actually, there is a certain amount of pleasure in seeing them succeed, to be able to succeed and there’s a little bit of disappointment when they reoffend. We feel like we failed, when they do reoffend. Obviously, we’re gonna, you know, if they do reoffend, we have to make sure that the city’s safe and we’re going to do what we have to do to do arrests when necessary, but we would prefer if it didn’t happen.
Len Sipes: But here. . . no, please, Nancy.
Nancy Ware: That’s good, I think that it’s really important to note that part of our partnership with MPD is that we conduct accountability tours together and that means that our supervision officers go out with a Metropolitan Police Department officers to do home visits, to let people know that we’re watching them, we’re monitoring them. But in addition to that we do call ins and other activities, to give people opportunity to know that not only the enforcement side of what we do, as partners, but also the resources that are available in the city that we would like them to take advantage of.
Len Sipes: Right, and we do that, that’s the nifty thing, we do it shoulder to shoulder with the community supervision officer, which most people in the country know as parole and probation agents, we call them community supervision officers here in the District of Columbia. They do it shoulder to shoulder with officers from the Metropolitan Police Department. So I’ve heard stories of the people, and this is something else I wanna get into, individual, line officers, we can talk about the two of you at the command level and we can talk about command level and the district level, but it’s, what encourages me are the individual police officers, going to a community supervision officer and saying, “He’s getting back involved in drugs, he needs drug treatment, what can we do for him?” Or the individual police officer going to one our community supervision officers and saying, “I think he’s involved in selling stolen goods, we need GPS.” That’s what’s encouraging to me, not the two of you, but in your first line employees talking to each other.
Nancy Ware: That’s right, the front line.
Len Sipes: The front line. Talk to me about that.
Peter Newsham: Well, I think too, I mean, the information that our officers are gonna get from the accountability tours, which is a good example, they’re gonna know, you know who the person is that’s being supervised, they’re gonna know where they live. When they see them out there, maybe out in the community, maybe doing something that is leaning towards something maybe they shouldn’t be doing, they can share that information with CSOSA. It brings up a red flag. So I mean, you talk about there’s subtle bits of information that are exchanged just through that accountability tour, that we otherwise wouldn’t have, and I would just say for people who are out there, you know, communities out there that aren’t doing this type of a relationship, it’s really, it’s kind of essential. It’s almost, I mean, you look back now and you say, “Why didn’t we do this before?”
Len Sipes: I’ve always asked that, and by the way if you take a look at the newspaper accounts that I read every day, you know, D.C., we have it relatively, we’re relatively lucky in terms of our funding levels. There are law enforcements agencies, parole and probation agencies out there taking huge hits in terms of their budgets, in terms of their personnel, so they have to work together. I think that’s why the emphasis is coming along. We’re doing it as a best practice. I think other people are doing it because they’re stuck with it.
Nancy Ware: Well, I think that it’s both for us to. I mean, I think we found it useful to maximize our resources. Nobody has all the resources that they need as an agency, so we’re all looking at ways that we can modify our approach and to use the best practice that we found to be useful with this population and I think we’ve been really successful here in D.C..
Len Sipes: Well, it’s encouraging to see that the command level, [INDISCERNIBLE 00:13:02] level, at the district level and I think that’s encouraging and that’s the thing, it’s across the board. All the way, from the police officer to the middle management to the upper management, correct? We only have a couple seconds left.
Nancy Ware: The bottom line is that we have seen our homicides going down and I think the partnerships have been definitely a part of that. CSOSA itself, we’ve seen our recidivism rates going down and we definitely think the partnership is helping with that.
Len Sipes: And the city is much safer, much safer than it was in its early days.
Nancy Ware: And public perception is that it’s safer, which is important.
Len Sipes: And we’re gonna stop on that ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being with us on the first half – we’ve talked to Nancy Ware, the Director of my agency, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, and Assistant Chief Peter Newsham. We’re gonna be talking to United States Marshal, Michael Hughes on the second half as we continue our examination of police and parole and probation cooperation. Stay with us.
Len Sipes: Hi and welcome back to D.C. Public Safety, I continue to be your host, Leonard Sipes, continuing on the program, Nancy Ware, the Director of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, my agency, and the United States Marshal, Michael Hughes, and then Nancy and Michael, welcome back to D.C. Public Safety. Or Michael, in your case I’ll welcome you to D.C. Public Safety. Marshal Hughes, give me, again, as we said on the first half of the program, this show is seen all throughout the country, all round the world – give me an overview for people who are not aware, I couldn’t imagine who the hell it would be, but give me an overview of the U.S. Marshal Service.
Michael Hughes: Well, the U.S. Marshals Service was created back in 1789 and we just celebrated our 223rd birthday. Making us the oldest federal law enforcement agency here in our country and we have 94 district offices and various different headquarter divisions and we, of which one is the D.C. Superior Court office, which serves as basically the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals. Our mission is to protect, defend and enforce the American Justice System, and we here in D.C. do that through various different offices, including judicial security, court support, [PH 00:15:54] sub oc operations, prisoner coordinations, warrants, sex offender investigation branch and also through collaborative efforts with other agencies such as the Regional Fugitive Taskforce, Joint Terrorism Taskforce and other entities as well.
Len Sipes: And you’ve got your fingers in just about every pie possible and also you’re the subject of my favorite movie with Tommy Lee Jones? U.S. Marshal Service, I will love that movie forever. Both of you were sworn in at the same time, you’re both relatively new to the criminal justice system, and there’s no criminal justice system more complex than Washington D.C.s. Nancy, how do you feel after being here? You’ve been here for about 10 months or so as Director?
Nancy Ware: Almost a year. Yeah.
Len Sipes: Almost a year?
Nancy Ware: Yeah, I have and we don’t have a program for probation and parole unfortunately, so we’re not nationally recognized like the U.S. Marshals Services. But D.C. is very unique. I’ve been with CSOSA as the Director for almost a year now. But as you know, I was with CSOSA prior to that and before that I was with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as the First Executive Director. So I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work closely with Marshal Hughes and the other marshals in the city of D.C. and with other law enforcement partners.
Len Sipes: Now, you know, you [PH 00:17:16] free out your Department of Justice experience, and you also supervise 16,000 offenders on any given day, 24,000 offenders in any given year, you have a lot of people that you’re responsible for.
Nancy Ware: We do, we do.
Len Sipes: That’s a city.
Nancy Ware: That’s true. Approximately one in 41 residents of the District are under our supervision.
Len Sipes: That’s just amazing. Marshal Hughes, okay, what about you? 10 months, you were both going through the swearing in ceremony at the same time and a very complex criminal justice system, what have your experiences been like?
Michael Hughes: Well, I was absolutely thrilled to go through the process with Director Ware. We were both going through our confirmation process and did our Senate confirmation here together and it was a wonderful experience and I suppose I feel a little special bond because of that as well, but I’ve been with the Marshal Service for 21 years in various, different district offices and headquarter offices, so I think like Director Ware, we bring a lot of institutional knowledge into our jobs and are able to pick on that to try to make our agencies better.
Len Sipes: Right. I mean, between the of you you’ve got half a century of criminal justice experience, so I mean, that’s, I think, the nice thing that the citizens of the District of Columbia and the people who visit the nation’s capital know that experienced people are running the agencies. So I find that interesting. So Regional Fugitive Taskforce, that’s one of the things that I wanted to start off with. That’s something extremely important about the agencies, correct?
Michael Hughes: Yes, it is. The Regional Fugitive Taskforce was started back in 2004, the capital area, Regional Fugitive Taskforce, and it’s basically, it’s been significantly it’s been really successful in getting a lot of violent fugitives off the street. It’s a conglomeration, cooperation between, dozens, over 100, I believe, if you take it with a totality of all the agencies involved, between D.C., Virginia, and Maryland and it’s been extremely successful and taken thousands of violent offenders off the street.
Len Sipes: Now I go back to my earlier experience, nobody asked me about parole and probation when I was a police officer so many years ago. What’s the role of parole and probation and CSOSA in terms of the Regional Fugitive Taskforce, Nancy?
Nancy Ware: Well, we are a member of the Fugitive Taskforce and we participated in other initiatives that are partnership initiatives with the U.S. Marshal Service, which includes two Fugitive Safe Surrender initiatives over the past –
Len Sipes: Yes, very successful.
Nancy Ware: Yeah, past, I guess seven years now. And they have been very successful, so you know, Marshal Hughes can talk a little bit more about their experiences when they have to go out and execute a warrant, but I think Fugitive Safe Surrender has helped us to promote people turning themselves in if they have a warrant.
Len Sipes: Well, yeah, I mean, we’re talking about 900 last time and we’re talking about 600 the time before that. I mean, that’s 1500 people with warrants who voluntarily, voluntarily gave themselves up.
Nancy Ware: That’s right.
Len Sipes: One time at a church, one time at a court. And so that’s phenomenal. I mean. . .
Nancy Ware: It was very successful. The partnership was phenomenal, as you said, because we had the Marshal Services a part of it and really kind of leading it and then we had the courts, of course, and other law enforcement partners, Pre-Trial Services, Public Defender Services, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Attorney Generals, all there, helping us, as well as efforts from the D.C. government for treatment options, employment options, housing options, were all there. So that as folks came through, they could actually also take part in discussions with other agencies about what kinds of things that they could take advantage of. But the interesting part with this last Fugitive Safe Surrender was that it was during a hurricane season near D.C., a very rare hurricane season, as Assistant Chief Newsham reminded me, and it was interesting, the last day, when it was the most violent winds and rain was the day that we had the most participants. They came down to the courthouse anyway to participate in Fugitive Safe Surrender. So I think that it’s a very valiant effort on the part of D.C. Partners and the law enforcement partners in D.C. and the U.S. Marshal Service in promoting this particular initiative.
Michael Hughes: And I think that it gives, there are many benefits from it, like self accountability, the individuals are actually taking responsibility themselves and turning themselves in. The safety factor, where we don’t have to go out and track them down, possibly causing some safety issues out there. And what’s also interesting about the second one is 98% of, I believe around 98% were actually released when they turned themselves in.
Nancy Ware: That’s right, that’s right.
Len Sipes: They were released when they turned themselves in or after they turned themselves in. You know, I get back to that issue of serving warrants and how dangerous it is. I’ve served warrants in a prior life, I know how dangerous it can be. The safety of the individual officers from the Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Marshals Office was paramount in our minds in terms of putting together Fugitive Safe Surrender because what you all do is extraordinarily dangerous, serving warrants is not an easy thing to do.
Michael Hughes: It’s, last year unfortunately we lost two of our own and we haven’t lost any one to gunfire [INDISCERNIBLE 00:22:41] since about 1992, actually, so we lost two deputy marshals last year, one from St. Louis, and one from West Virginia, which actually caused us to step back, pause, take a look, what are we doing? Because the officer safety is always paramount and that’s always number one and it’s not an easy job. And what makes cooperation so important is what comes out of that, looking at the information that we get, working together with our partners: with CSOSA, with MPD, with all our law enforcement, criminal justice partners to actually mitigate the risk and successfully execute these warrants in a safe and secure manner.
Len Sipes: The whole issue that I brought up on the first half of the program was the individual police officers working with the individual community supervision officers under CSOSA. Does that happen within the U.S. Marshal Service? Is it a top down program or are the individual officers, both on our side and the Marshal side, are they exchanging information at the street level?
Michael Hughes: My experience, they’re doing it on the street level, and we’re doing it at the top level.
Len Sipes: Good.
Michael Hughes: We are constantly communicating, looking at ways to make things better, looking at ways that we could improve criminal justice efforts, public service initiatives and I know that my deputies are doing the same thing, because I hear it and we’re getting great cooperation from CSOSA and from MPD and all our partners as well.
Nancy Ware: Yeah, we have an initiative actually that has been really successful for our offenders and it’s in a partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service. We recently put in place a warrant unit that we work closely with the Marshal Service on executing warrants and it’s really helped us to work with the warrants, the outstanding numbers of warrants that we’ve had, so that we’ve reduced our warrants 31%. So we’re very, very pleased with that partnership and we think that it’s been very successful in helping us to even in some cases, quash warrants.
Len Sipes: Well, taking as many warrants off the street as humanly possible serves both CSOSA and our safety, the safety of our personnel, as well as the U.S. Marshals. The focus on high risk offenders, Nancy you talked about that on the first half and the fact that they have to have the treatment, the treatment is absolutely necessary, we can’t take people who are strung out on drugs and having real mental health problems and not being assisted. So I think the larger criminal justice system understands that we have to do that if we’re gonna be successful. Marshal Hughes, you, I would imagine, buy into that concept of focusing the bulk of the resources on those who pose the greatest risk to public safety?
Michael Hughes: The high risk offenders? Yeah, that’s important of course to address that.
Len Sipes: Now where do we go to from here, in terms of the future? I mean, this is something that I think the two of you have been, you know, you were sworn in together, you’ve been talking together, what do you see is the future for not just necessarily the Marshal Service, but in terms of cooperation between the a parole and probation agency – our agency, and the U.S. Marshal Service, whether it be whether it be the U.S. Marshal Service or the Housing Authority, police department or the Secret Service? Where does it go? I mean, is it always going to be the information exchange that’s the heart and soul of it?
Nancy Ware: Well, the information exchange, of course is very important and we try to share information with all our law enforcement partners, taking into account that there are privacy issues too, that we can’t share certain pieces of information but our primary mission is public safety. And so we are committed to working with partners across the D.C. law enforcement community and the Marshal Service is very important to us in that regard. As far as the future’s concerned, we are both members of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council for the District of Columbia, which is. . .
Len Sipes: Right, that you used to run.
Nancy Ware: That I used to run, which is now so aptly run by Director Mannone Butler and it really comprises 16 law enforcement partners across the city who come together on a monthly basis to talk about the various challenges that we all face in D.C. in terms of making sure that the city is safe. And so we always are thinking of ways, and looking at ways, and looking at the data and the trends in the District of Columbia to see how we can do better in terms of our collective resources and our collective approach to public safety.
Len Sipes: Marshal, you’ve got 30 seconds, what message would you give to other law enforcement agencies throughout the country or for that matter, throughout the world about cooperation?
Michael Hughes: Cooperation is key to the most efficient and effective law enforcement efforts that we could have. We have to work together, everybody has pieces of the puzzle. We bring them together, it’s the best for efficiency and safety and I think, I think that everyone should buy into that.
Len Sipes: All right, Marshal Hughes, Director Ware, you’ve got the final word. Ladies and gentlemen, we really appreciate you being with us today on D.C. Public Safety, watch for us next time as we explore another very important topic in our criminal justice system. I want everybody to have themselves a very, very pleasant day.
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