This piece was originally written in August, 2012. Imagine 21 was then part of the Sheriff’s Department realignment effort. I’m posting it now because Sergeant Clyde Terry was nominated and will receive the Medgar Evers Award from the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (NABCJ) at its 42nd Annual Conference and Training Institute in Phoenix AZ, July 10-23, 2015. This award is given to the individual who has demonstrated unselfish ideals of fair play by developing policies and programs, enforcing regulations and ensuring that all persons including those who are institutionalize receive equal justice under the law. This award is named after the slain civil rights leader whose struggles for equal justice ended with his making the ultimate and supreme sacrifice.
Written August 2012
As a LASD retiree interested in community-oriented policing and services for my community, Compton, I was doubtful but curious about what, if anything, the Sheriff’s Department had to offer that could potentially build trust and improve, in my opinion, the lack of trust and generally poor relationship between urban residents and police. Once informed of the program by Sgt. Rita Hall (ret.), I found part of the answer with Sergeant Clyde Terry’s Imagine 21 program.
When I received my eight week completion certificate last July 26, on a perfect summer’s day before about 70 family, friends, and supporters, from the lectern I asked my 12 classmates in the Emerging Leaders Academy & Life Skills Training #13 and the Imagine 21 Workshop, a joint effort of the LASD Regional Community Policing Institute and the Los Angeles Urban League two questions: “In general, how many of you trust the police?” Of the twelve students, one hand went up. Next, I asked, “How many of you trust deputies Clyde Terry, Jalani Harrison, and Ken Collins” All 12 hands were raised.
Sgt. Clyde Terry, also an Iraq War Veteran, uses social learning and cognitive principles of The Pacific Institute’s Imagine 21 Fast Track to Change™ to help students transform their lives based on the premise that individuals are responsible for their own actions, and can regulate their behavior through goal-setting, self-reflection and self evaluation. During the ceremony, each student attested to the effectiveness of the program to do what it is designed to do.
Twenty students started, most upon referral from parole or probation under the AB 109 Public Safety Realignment and the new PC 1170(h). Thirteen completed the workshop that included many outside speakers, entrepreneurship and career mentors, self-development experts, and the Hypnosis Motivational Institute. Three students got jobs as a result of their involvement.
Programs like Terry’s, which boasts that 97% of 200 students completing the program over the last four years have not returned to jail, may be part of the solution if they are recognized and supported which can be difficult when the role of deputies is narrowly defined as law enforcement and excludes crime prevention.
The Emerging Leaders Academy is an excellent example of community-oriented policing and may be made even more dynamic by; expanding its partnerships to include enough remedial support for participants with literacy challenges; adding pre and post test for more rigorous assessment in addition to testimonials; and follow up with participants who complete, as well as those that don’t, as part of continuous program improvement.
As it stands now, the Emerging Leaders Academy & Life Skills Training and Imagine 21 Workshop is arguably the best that the LASD offers in way of community-oriented policing.
Note: The Emerging Leaders or Imagine 21 Program is no longer a Sheriff’s Department program but as Sgt. Terry points out, it still services participants at locations in Long Beach and Los Angeles. For more information visit the Emerging Leaders Academy website. Terry is also on Facebook.