Monday, June 13, 2016

Area chiefs add voices to national policing efforts


Area chiefs add voices to national policing efforts

By From page A1 | June 12, 2016
FAIRFIELD — The Vallejo police chief and a former Fairfield chief have added their voices and experience to a national group looking at the future of law enforcement.

Vallejo chief Andrew Bidou and Walter Tibbet, the former police chief in Fairfield, are executive fellows with the Police Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization formed in 1970 through a grant by the Ford Foundation.

“Our mission is the advancement of policing through innovation and science,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the foundation and a 33-year veteran of law enforcement, including 13 as chief in Redlands. He became president of the foundation in September 2012, about a year after he had retired.

Bueermann, who is scheduled to speak at an Economic Development Corporation event Friday in Fairfield, said the fellows at the foundation are advisers who provide a bridge between the research and science and the practical world of applying that work by law enforcement agencies.

Tibbet was approached in 2014 about joining the group because of his youth outreach efforts, and specifically successes he had on school campuses.

“The foundation found out about (the Public Safety Academy) and contacted me and we talked about that and the executive fellowship program,” said Tibbet, who spent five years as the Fairfield chief and four as the chief in Alameda. His career extended 43 years, the majority of which was in San Jose.

The academy is a program at the Fairfield-Suisun School District for students who have career interests in law enforcement or other emergency services. It was part of Tibbet’s youth outreach efforts.

He calls those efforts a fundamental part of community policing.

“The issues of we find today with all the crime and violence can all be traced back to the failure with youth, to the number of kids who are falling through the cracks,” Tibbet said.

While he deals with a variety of topics from around the country as part of the foundation, youth outreach remains a big part of what his experience brings to the table.

Bidou is a 27-year law enforcement veteran who has been the chief of the Vallejo Police Department for nearly two years. He learned about the foundation’s work and applied for a position.

Among the efforts Bidou has been involved in is one of the biggest facing law enforcement across the country: community trust and the disconnect with police forces.

An 8-minute YouTube video, posted on the Vallejo police website as well as the Police Foundation site, discusses what Bidou and his staff have done to try to reconnect with city residents.

The video describes the problems the Police Department was facing and the steps they are taking to try to reconnect with the residents – everything from having a greater presence at community events, hosting open houses and using its cadet program to recruit officers out of the Vallejo area.

“One of the best things that has come out of (being part of the foundation) is we participate in monthly issues on things that impact law enforcement,” Bidou said.

“It keeps me contemporary, current and I hope to apply what I learn (locally),” the chief said.
Bueermann said he personally selects all fellows at the foundation, which includes the executive fellows comprised of former or current police chiefs, sheriffs and other top staffers.

There is also a group of line officers, with the highest rank among them being lieutenant.

Additionally, there are the international fellows and the research fellows, Bueermann said.

The foundation looks at everything from tactical strategies to organizational models and investigating critical response incidents such as the 2013 Christopher Dorner case, in which the former Los Angeles police officer hunted down and killed four people, including two police officers and the daughter of a former police captain.

The highly publicized manhunt, which included Dorner’s manifesto of his intent and the information he sent to CNN before starting his killing spree, also including police officers firing at unrelated
people after their vehicles were mistaken for the Dorner’s truck.

The foundation was contracted to look at the case, review how the police departments responded, and the ultimate effect. Bueermann said the report is expected to be released in the near future.

However, one of the primary focuses of the foundation is to use research and science to improve policing. He said while the foundation involves agencies as large as New York City police and as small as a rural sheriff’s office, the research is applicable.

“It looks different when it is applied in a city or rural environment . . . but conceptually it is the same,” Bueermann said.

As an example is the “broken window” theory, which basically started in New York. A window at a warehouse was broken out. It was obviously not a high police priority, but the window did not get fixed, either. Then another window was broken and eventually, Bueermann contends, the area was viewed as being unimportant and became a home to larger crimes.

“The idea is if you allow the little things to go unabated, they become bigger things,” Bueermann said.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or

More information

  • The Solano Economic Development Corporation is hosting a breakfast Friday featuring Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, and Barrie Becker, California director of the Council for a Strong America and special projects director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California.
  • The theme of the event is Safe Communities = Economic Vitality.
  • Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The program starts at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Fairfield, 2200 Gateway Court.
  • To sign up or for more information, contact Pat Uhrich at 864-1855 or at