MURFREESBORO — Chief Karl Durr wants the Murfreesboro Police Department to be an example for the rest of the nation, he said in an interview with The Daily News Journal last week.
“My vision for this is to be a model agency,” he said, explaining that being a model agency means “other people are replicating what you’re doing.”
His first step to building a model agency is to take ideas from other departments and implement them here, starting with Metro Nashville Police Department’s volunteer chaplain program.
The program is designed to build trust with the community, one of the pillars on which the new chief wants to build his vision for the department.
Durr found the foundation for his vision in President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
“I have a great agency,” he said, praising the path blazed by former Chief Glenn Chrisman. “I’m fortunate to be walking behind Chief Chrisman.”
Chrisman built a department focused on building relationships in the community during his 12 years as chief, Durr said.
Durr wants to continue the focus on community-based policing and implement the findings from the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which he believes will lay the groundwork for building a model agency.
The task force found the most important mission of any law enforcement agency is to build trust with the community it serves.
“Trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential in a democracy. It is key to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services,” according to the report from 2015.
The report was issued after a series of incidents between the public and police across the nation and it’s a lesson Durr has taken to heart.
“You can’t lose sight of what the community needs,” he said. “Every interaction we have is a chance to build trust with the public.”
He said the task force suggests building an effective agency by focusing on six pillars:
MPD chief seeks guidance from faith community
1. Building trust and legitimacy
2. Policy and oversight
3. Technology and social media
4. Community policing and crime reduction
5. Training and education
6. Officer safety and wellness
A volunteer chaplain program is one way Durr is addressing the first pillar.
“I saw the dialogue between the various pastors and command staff,” Durr said about Nashville’s program. “I thought that was impressive because any time you have critical issues it’s always good to go out to community leaders.”
And Chrisman’s legacy laid a solid foundation for the fourth pillar.
“I expect all my officers to be a community police officer,” Durr said. “It’s more than a unit; it’s a philosophy. It’s about providing a public service.”
He wants to address the sixth pillar next to show his department he supports all his officers from command to patrol.
His first step was to meet with every member of his department. His second is to implement a new software program, IAPro Blue Team, which lets officers and supervisors file reports about incidents — use of force, field-level discipline, citizen complaints, vehicle accidents and pursuits — from the field, as they occur.
“We’re going to become one of the standards for use-of-force and data-analysis data for different behaviors,” he said. “And we are going to use (internal affairs) investigations to pinpoint problems before they become an issue.”
“I want to try to get them the help they need,” Durr said, explaining he saw how successful the program can be when he worked for Palm Beach County, Fla.
Murfreesboro has invested time and money into training and retaining a skilled police force, Durr said, and he wants to maintain it.