National Edition

Ceasefire: Can straight talk and clear consequences stop crime cold?

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31 2013 6:00 a.m. MDT

"We tell them, ‘you are going to do maximum time for your domestic violence offence,’ ” Kennedy said, ‘but we are also going to take advantage of all these other opportunities you give us. We may send you to federal prison for the gun charge, even though it has nothing to do with your latest attack on your girlfriend.’ ”

In the DNA

“High Point has this model in its DNA now,” Kennedy says, with a note of relief after years of struggling to make it stick. And cities around the country are lining up to learn from the source.

In the last few years, Sumner said, he's traveled to more than 25 cities to share his experiences, and he's lost track of how many departments they've hosted. "Every month we host a team from another city for training."

Marty Sumner is very aware of the dangers of diffusing focus. His department has worked aggressively over a five-year period to drive the approach into its DNA, as Kennedy puts it. "In places where it fell away really quick, it depended on a strong personality," Sumner said. High Point countered this by training every officer, making it part of hiring, training new officers, changing reporting, and adding it to promotion evaluations.

"Now, it's there," Sumner said. "You would not get in the door and start working at High Point without knowing the history, how it works here and how you'd play a role in it."

Email: eschulzke@desnews.com

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