Spokane’s community-oriented policing program is going global.
Police are sharing their expertise with Australian authorities as part of an educational exchange sponsored in part by Spokane Community College.
The project involves Spokane officials “meeting” with authorities Down Under via live video conference made possible by a satellite link.
On Tuesday, the two groups sat down for the second time to exchange ideas about establishing neighborhood watches, creating community partnerships and reviewing programs to make sure they’re accountable to taxpayers.
Spokane County Sheriff John Goldman and Roger Bragdon, Spokane’s interim police chief, talked with their counterparts from the South Australia Police for more than an hour.
A similar conference was held last month, and two more are scheduled. The Adelaide Institute of South Australia also is involved in the project.
SCC instructor Roy Lakewold, who is coordinating the long-distance program, said both groups can learn a lot.
“The thing about criminal justice is it’s a universal problem,” said Lakewold, who teaches in the college’s law enforcement program. “This allows us to share various kinds of ideas, inventiveness and creative solutions.”
The project was launched after the South Australia Police learned of Spokane’s nationally recognized community-oriented policing program and contacted local authorities, asking for advice.
There are 10 police substations in Spokane staffed by neighborhood volunteers who take reports and organize Block Watches.
“That’s unheard of in Australia,” Lakewold said.
In exchange, Australian authorities will share information about their successful strategic planning techniques and domestic terrorism programs.
“That’s where they’re way ahead of us,” Lakewold said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo