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Police Practice: The Community Immersion Program Building Relationships

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 78 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2009 Pages: 16-20
Jeff Adickes
Date Published
February 2009
5 pages
This article presents an overview of the history and operation of the Austin, TX Police Department, Community Immersion Program, building relationships among officers and the community in which it serves.
The Community Immersion Program designed by and intended for the city it serves, has helped the Austin Police Department (APD) build bridges and establishes partnerships in the community. The program has a powerful effect in that it requires participants (officers) to immerse themselves in a portion of the community, engage in dialogue with members of that group, learn about these individuals’ motivations and values, and then teach what they have learned to their peers. The program becomes the beginning of relationships between officers and citizens. The Austin Police Department stresses to officers the importance of diversity, tolerance, and human and civil rights and understands that successful policing entails partnering with the citizens of the community. In 2004, the APD developed the Community Immersion Program in cooperation with the people of Austin to help the agency weave its new officers into the fabric of the community. The 56-hour program begins in the classroom where cadets have three main objectives: (1) learn about Austin’s culture; (2) experience it firsthand; and (3) teach fellow classmates, academy staff, and the community about what they learned.