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American community-police partnerships have over three decades of history. Recent social movements and high-profile police brutality cases have provided great impetus for municipalities to examine traditional policing practices. Study objectives include examining existing social work-police partnership models and crisis intervention programs, understanding the community’s unique safety needs, increasing community engagement by integrating feedback into future program planning and implementation, and determining associated costs and funding options for Hamden, CT.

Our team conducted an environmental scan of current alternative policing models to identify options and develop a set of assessment criteria. This research informed focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and surveys with key stakeholders (ex: community leaders, police officers, residents impacted by policing changes) which were conducted virtually via snowball recruitment to identify perspectives on implementation. Participants were asked to evaluate and provide feedback on both existing Hamden Police Department practices and a range of current models. Transcribed qualitative data was analyzed for emergent themes regarding police perceptions, existing services, and model implementation recommendations. Quantitatively, a cost-benefit analysis was conducted using a potential outcomes framework to determine projected resource allocation.

Alternative policing in the Town of Hamden is an existing emergent formation. Significant partnerships currently exist between Hamden Police Department officers and community health providers that can be expanded and standardized into a more comprehensive hybrid first response model. Currently unmet cost and staffing needs were identified as crucial to successful implementation, which we believe can be offset by a number of cost-reduction practices and funding sources such as federal and state grants.

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Community Health and Preventive Medicine

An Exploration of Alternative Policing Models in Hamden, CT: Community Considerations and Feasibility