The Providence Police Department will launch itself as a “teaching police department,” modeled on the idea of a teaching hospital, where police officers around New England will learn from each other's best practices, reports the Providence Journal. Police Chief Dean Esserman announced the plan at the New England Major City Police Chiefs Consortium, which gathered for seminars on the long-term benefits of including mental-health clinicians on police patrols, and using mediation as an alternative to sentencing for some violent crimes.
Esserman has been in discussions with Roger Williams University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, Brown Medical School, and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence to develop the concept of a teaching police department. The plan will include an exchange program for police supervisors between Providence and police departments in other major cities. The Providence police have also visited other cities to gain ideas, including taking several trips to High Point, N.C., to learn about an initiative used there to eliminate street-level drug dealing. After seeing how the initiative worked there, the Providence police decided to apply the idea in a neighborhood thick with open-air drug dealing.