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Policing expert will discuss Ferguson, other issues at library event Jan. 15

By Staff | Jan 14, 2015



Obama Administration appointee Dr. Ellen Scrivner on Jan. 15 will share her views in policing and community relations.

The Democratic Club of the Islands hosts the event. The talk begins at 7 p.m. at the Sanibel Public Library. The meeting is free and open to the public. Following her discussion, there will be a question and answer opportunity.

Dr. Scrivner is a board certified police and public safety psychologist with 30 years in the public sector. Appointments to the Harvard Executive Session of Policing and Public Safety Department of Justice Team to assess civil rights issues in police departments make her eminently qualified to discuss Ferguson, Missouri, police/community relations, and related issues.

Scrivner served as a presidential appointee and deputy director of the National Institute of Justice, national director with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, programs under the auspices of the White House.

Prior to the presidential appointment, Dr. Scrivner served as director of the John Jay Leadership Academy, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She later served as deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department and consulted to the F.B.I. Office of Law Enforcement. She had served as adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland, George Mason University, the University of Chicago, and is a guest lecturer for the F.B.I. National Academy.

Currently she is an Executive Fellow with the Police Foundation, Washington, D.C. Dr. Scrivner divides her time between Sanibel, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The Islander asked Dr. Scrivner a couple of questions about her service and her Jan. 15 remarks.

Islander: What’s your message to the Democratic Club?

Scrivner: There are reasons that things like Ferguson happened. However, there are also solutions that involve community input as well as police-community collaborative problem solving. This takes time and cannot be started in the middle of a crisis.

Islander: What are the challenges in America?

Scrivner: In addition to the economic difficulties and a Congress that needs to prove that it can govern, I think race relations remain a major challenge. The biggest law enforcement challenge may be changing the mind set and culture of police and their departments, as well as ensuring that the department represents the community in terms of diversity. Hopefully, a new generation of officers will help to change this situation.

Islander: In your travels/experience, what makes the US different from other nations? What do we do better/worse?

Scrivner: We do not have a national police force like many countries do. Consequently, we have close to 18,000 departments who tend to do things their own way. The good side of that is if they are effective in policing, “their own way” may be reflective of the community they serve. If not, you have the type of policing that occurred in Ferguson.