YPD – A year in review

February 12, 2020

Every January, Chief Ronnell Higgins gets his leadership team together for an offsite retreat. During this full-day event, the team recapped the past twelve months and set goals for the next year. This year, the event took place at Yale’s West Campus Conference Center and included the Yale Police Department’s (YPD) assistant chiefs, captains, lieutenants, and sergeants.

The morning segment focused on reviewing the department’s overall accomplishments and challenges. This was followed by a recap of the same from each squad, including Patrol, Emergency Operations, Investigative Services, Training, and the Sensitive Crimes Unit. A group discussion on what adjustments or improvements can be made in 2020 also took place.

This year the retreat program also included a military presentation and panel featuring members of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). Senior officers reviewed the USMC’s leadership traits, 11 principles, and shared their perspectives and challenges. Also present were USMC rank and file members, who talked about teamwork and the pride they take in their jobs and units. They then opened the floor for questions. “It was cool to hear what their principles were and how that has helped them get through certain challenges. The life of a Marine is one of high discipline. That should be true for anyone in our profession also,” said YPD Captain Von Narcisse.

Like the YPD, the USMC values training, knowledge, following procedures, and adherence to general orders. “When a police officer goes on a call, they don’t know what is waiting for them, so they need to rely on their training, operational procedures, and knowledge of the law to be prepared,” said Captain Narcisse. Police officers work in a high-pressure environment, so regular training is important to reinforce their general knowledge, help them stay active, and keep sharp.

It was helpful for the YPD leadership team to hear from this military panel as they shaped the department’s goals for 2020. The Chief and his team are aware of the challenges of law enforcement and the great value in regular training, which is built into their yearly goals.

The department’s top priority is always keeping the Yale and New Haven communities safe. For 2020, there are two main departmental goals, including a major focus on crime prevention and continued community engagement. Throughout the year, leaders will meet weekly with their squad(s) to go over goals, have regular check-ins, and measure what they can. The target is to have a comprehensive report of all goals, measurements, and accomplishments by year’s end. This report will be brought to the 2021 retreat.

During the retreat, Chief Higgins discussed the challenges the YPD experienced in 2019. He stressed to his leadership team that meeting just once a year to discuss the departments goals and well-being of its members was not enough. The Chief believes wholeheartedly that policy, training, and supervision is paramount to the success of the YPD and its members. On Friday, February 21, 2020, the Chief is meeting with his entire management team again as a follow up to the retreat. They will be joined by State’s Attorney, Patrick Griffin for the first hour of their meeting. Attorney Griffin covers the New Haven Judicial District.