The Troy Police Department is committed to providing the best possible police service to the community. Recent reform proposals seek different methods to ensure professional and compassionate police service. We have carefully evaluated where we stand on these proposals and offer this analysis. We look forward to future opportunities to discuss our practices in person. We encourage all members of the community to engage with us on our Facebook page in the interim.
Troy Police Policy Analysis
The below points showcase the efforts of the Troy Police Department to provide professional, competent, and compassionate policing to our community and guests of our community:
Community Policing Policy & Efforts
The Troy Police Department employs a community policing, problem-solving approach in both enforcement and prevention efforts. This includes the following components:
- Relationships – The Troy Police Department routinely works with a variety of community organizations, houses of worship, school-based groups, neighborhood associations, and more. These relationships allow us to identify and address community issues proactively as well as build long-term trust.
- Transparency – The Troy Police Department maintains a transparent relationship with the community through frequent and robust media relations. In addition, TPD communicates information directly to residents via social media and email.
- Community Relations – The Troy Police Department hosts over 200 events and programs per year ranging from large events for kids like the Halloween Safety Bash to Coffee with a Cop events. In recent years, more than 30,000 people have attended these events. Some events are for the community at large, while others are tailored for specific segments such as houses of worship.
- Social Media – The Troy Police Department maintains an approachable and “human” presence on social media in order to facilitate open communication. Our social media has a very high engagement level and routinely reaches more than 750K people per month.
- “Area” Assignments – The Troy Police Department has long used an area assignment system for road patrol officers. Officers patrol the same areas of the city and build relationships with residents and business owners in those areas.
- Problem Solving Approach – Road patrol officers work with other units, such as Community Services and Directed Patrol, to address problems holistically and prevent reoccurrence. Example: a road patrol officer may be called frequently to deal with the same juvenile. The officer may engage the Community Services Section to locate resources for the family and the School Resource Officer to work with the juvenile.
Fair and Impartial Policing Training
Every employee at the Troy Police Department (sworn personnel and civilian) has attended a thorough Fair and Impartial Policing course. This training course is the top provider of implicit-bias-awareness training for law enforcement. This class helps officers recognize our own conscious implicit bias, how to implement “controlled” (unbiased) behavioral responses, and provides de-escalation techniques.
Within the past week, a bill for mandatory police de-escalation training was introduced to the Michigan Senate. This training is currently not required by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES). Troy PD recognized a need for this training and took the initiative to provide this course to our staff almost five years ago.
MCOLES issued a policy of Law Enforcement response to Persons with Mental Orders in 2017. TPD training records show that we have provided instruction for this since 2011, and continue to update our staff with training for proper response to mental illness and autism awareness.
Force Continuum & Policy
Troy PD follows the State of Michigan’s “force continuum” model as dictated by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) and also adheres to the standards set force in Graham vs. Connor. The “force continuum” standards state what counts as appropriate use of force in various situations.
When reviewing Use of Force reports involving TPD personnel, in virtually every case, the tactics that were used are less than what would have been legally justified. Every single instance where force was used to make an arrest is reviewed through the chain of command, with the Chief of Police personally reviewing the investigation of each case.
When reviewing the tragic incident resulting in the death of George Floyd, there are some tactics observed that are not taught or used by Troy PD sworn personnel. TPD has a Training Bulletin policy regarding positional asphyxia that is issued to each officer, and the topic is routinely discussed and reviewed during ongoing defensive tactics instruction.
The Troy Police Department is a civil service department and must follow the rules of Act 78 to hire new sworn police officers. This practice helps ensure that candidates are treated fairly and equitably. Troy PD uses Empco, a private company located in Troy, to administer the written test and oral interviews in establishing a hiring list. Empco has been providing testing for TPD since the 1990s, and has a stellar reputation within the Police and Fire communities for their testing practices.
Once a hiring list has been established and certified by the Troy Act 78 Board, a group comprised of local community members, we begin taking names from the list and performing background investigations on the top candidates. The background investigations are performed by TPD employees who have attended a Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) certified Background Investigators training class. Our background investigators are very seasoned and have many years of background investigation experience, completing backgrounds on not only sworn police officers, but service aides, clerical personnel, and other city employees.
The background investigations are extremely thorough and can take up to several months to complete. The candidates fill out a lengthy Personal History Statement (PHS) that includes a full history of jobs, residences lived, driving history, and complete picture of their lives before they applied to work at the City of Troy. The background investigators use that PHS to complete the background investigations that include:
- Education histories, including any discipline while attending schools and colleges
- Work history of any job, including volunteer positions; the investigators personally speak to past employers and inquire about any discipline or biased issues
- Credit history and financial checks
- Driving history
- Personal references and neighborhood checks, where investigators follow up with neighbors of candidates at their current and former residences
- Criminal backgrounds including contacting police departments in any city the candidate has lived, worked, or gone to school to see if there any police contacts
Southeast Michigan employs CLEMIS (Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System) which is a very powerful database. CLEMIS is used for police reporting in a vast majority of police agencies is Southeast Michigan and around the State of Michigan. Whenever an individual has contact with the police for any reason in a CLEMIS agency and the contact is documented, the incident is populated in the CLEMIS database. This information can then be searched by any CLEMIS agency to see if a candidate has any police contact, positive or negative.
The major factor that the investigators are looking for is consistencies and honesty. Most of the time when candidates fail our process, the reason is they omit prior employment information where they may have been fired or disciplined, or they fail to report negative police contacts. The investigators speak to many references, former employers, co-workers, and associates to get a complete picture of the candidate’s work ethic, personality, social life, and any history of biases or integrity issues.
Any candidate that does not meet the standards set by the City of Troy does not continue in the hiring process. The TPD background is stringent and there are many candidates that do not pass our background process. This occurs for a variety of reasons, and has included current police officers from other departments. The entire background package is reviewed by several Police Administrators and approved by the Chief before it is sent to Human Resources for recommendation for hiring.
All Troy Police officers must undergo and pass a thorough psychological examination prior to hire. The examination consists of several tests as well as an interview portion with a licensed clinical psychologist. Officers must again undergo a psychological screening prior to promotions and upon assignment to certain special units, such as our Tactical Support Team.
The Troy Police Department is known as one that provides a good work life balance to employees. While the job can be stressful, the culture of Troy PD is one that officers can seek help without stigma. Through an Employee Assistance Plan, low or no cost mental health services are available.
Once the new officer is hired, they attend a two week in-house training put on by the TPD training officers. This preliminary training includes getting the applicant familiar with TPD report forms, computer programs and software, firearms qualifications, required instruction on non-lethal tools carried by officers, i.e., pepper spray and Tasers, as well as obtaining all required uniforms and equipment.
Each new officer, regardless of prior police experience must complete a 16 week Field Training Officer program (FTO). FTOs are veteran officers. Each FTO must attend and pass an MCOLES certified FTO school and learn how to train, evaluate and grade newly hired officers.
The rookie officers spend four weeks with three different FTOs usually on three different shifts. The officers are graded and scored each day in 31 different categories ranging from report writing to communication skills to handling stressful situations. The FTOs score the new officers on a scale from 1-7 and must score at least a 4 to be considered passing that category. The FTO reviews the score categories, known as the Daily Observation Report (DOR) each day with recruits and discusses the positive and negatives of the day.
The FTOs, FTO supervisors, and administrators of TPD meet every two weeks in a FTO Cadre to discuss the progress of each new officer. If the recruit is having deficiencies in any categories, the cadre discuss ways to address those issues and obtain more training or experience.
The recruits are expected to show steady improvement as they proceed through the FTO program. The program is designed to have the new officer handle a higher percentage of the work load as they advance through the program.
If it appears a recruit is struggling, they are given opportunities to be retrained and put on Performance Improvement Plans. The new officers also have regular meetings with FTO supervisors who keep them informed of their progress and answer questions and concerns.
Usually, in the third phase of the FTO program, approximately 10 weeks into the program, the Training Section puts on a scenario day, where the recruits experience 8-10 scenarios of possible real world situations in a controlled environment at the Training Center. Veteran officers, usually ones from our specialized and undercover units with whom the recruits are not familiar, act as role players. The scenarios include intoxicated drivers, unruly neighbor complaints, and other real world situations that the recruit is highly likely to encounter while on patrol.
After each scenario, the recruit is given feedback by the training officers and the role players as to their performance. The recruits usually enjoy the scenarios and give the FTOs feedback on how the role plays went. The Training Sergeant completes a synopsis on how the recruit performed during the scenarios.
If the recruit does not show progress and continually scores below 4 in DOR categories, they may be extended in the program and given additional training. If the recruit does not respond to the additional training they are put on notice by the FTO supervisors and given an opportunity to withdraw from the program. We have had several recruits in the last few years who have withdrawn from the program.
Once the recruits train with three different FTOs for four weeks each and continually get passing scores on the DORs, the recruits are recommended to move to the Shadow Phase. During this phase, the recruits are with a FTO, but the FTO just acts as an evaluator and is not supposed to assist the recruit on calls for service, unless there is an emergency. The recruits are required to handle 100% of the work load and perform as if they were on their own.
The recruits are still scored in each category and must get passing scores to complete the FTO program and move to solo patrol. The FTO Cadre reviews all of the DORs, scenario synopsis and information from the FTOs, and makes a final recommendation on the recruit’s suitability for solo patrol. If the recruit is approved for solo patrol, they are on probation for one year, and the supervisors are required to make monthly reports on their progress. The TPD FTO program is well established and follows the nationally recognized San Jose model, which is the standard for FTO programs around the country. The program is continually being evaluated and updated with the latest information and training techniques. FTOs also regularly attend Field Training update classes.
All complaints are investigated by a supervisor and reviewed through the chain of command. Every complaint investigation is reviewed by the Chief of Police. This means that a complaint generated by an officer is reviewed by at least four superior officers.
The Troy Police Department uses a system called Guardian Tracking to track complaints, performance issues as well as commendations and positive performance records. This system ensures that an officer cannot rack up complaints without appropriate intervention. Once an officer has obtained a certain number of complaints or performance issues, the officer is “flagged” for intervention by this system. The Troy Police Department uses a progressive discipline model. This means that the number of and the nature of previous complaints are taken into account when determining discipline. Should an offense be an egregious enough, a single infraction could result in termination.
Anyone can file a complaint with the Troy Police Department by contacting the on duty supervisor at 248.524.3477, visiting the police station or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ongoing In-Service Training & Use of Technology
TPD has a history of being very proactive in training personnel and takes pride keeping the officers and all personnel updated on the latest training methods and relevant policies, procedures, and laws relevant to their jobs.
The training section puts all police officers thru different types of training on a quarterly basis. These trainings include a variety of topics including first aid, safe driving techniques, legal updates, and firearm qualifications. Some of these are required by MCOLES on an annual basis. TPD has always tried to be progressive and provide training in current topics before they are mandated. Some of these trainings include Fair and Impartial Training. This class helps officers recognize our own conscious implicit bias, how to implement “controlled” (unbiased) behavioral responses, and provides de-escalation techniques.
TPD also schedules staff from the Oakland County Community Mental Health Department to speak with officers on how to better handle encounters with those mentally and emotionally challenged. TPD and all law enforcement have seen a huge increase in these types of encounters and TPD recognized the need to better prepare officers for these situations.
While police officers are mandated to be trained in firearms and other less than lethal weapons, TPD training officers teach, and stress the need for good communication and “verbal judo” in an attempt to calm the situation and provide de-escalation prior to any type of weapon or force.
In addition to formal training coordinated by the TPD training staff, employees attend numerous hours of in-service training in variety of topics including: criminal investigations, latest crime and fraud trends, accident investigations and reconstruction, identifying new and trendy drugs, computer forensics, dealing with unruly and intoxicated individuals, and many other topics. These classes are taught by outside instructors at the TPD/TFD Training Center as well as officers attending classes at outside agencies and police academies. A premium emphasis on training exists at TPD to ensure all personnel are well informed and prepared to perform their jobs.
In the field, TPD currently utilizes high-end video and audio recording systems in all of our patrol vehicles with a strong policy that mandates recordings of citizen contacts. In addition, our officer’s video and audio recordings are routinely audited for policy compliance. We strive to provide our officers with the best, most reliable, and current technology to help them serve the community.
Regarding body worn cameras, technology has improved in recent years. Even prior to recent events, we have been researching implementation in our department. While this change will likely incur a significant cost, TPD is confident that it can move towards a portable body worn camera system in the future.
We pride ourselves in being an organization that is responsive to the needs and expectations of our community. We seek self-improvement when it is necessary, and we use our existing partnerships within our community to seek out and cultivate new ones. Our world is constantly evolving, and the expectations that this change places on our organization requires us to be forward thinking, professionally and morally sound, and at all times humble as we carry out our duties.
Any questions on these topics can be sent to the Community Services Section, email@example.com.