Walking One Stop, an ultra-police/community collaborative, uses technology to reduce harm, catalyze reconciliation, and improve police legitimacy. Effective community engagement can support reconciliation for communities that have endured centuries of abuse and neglect.
Walking One Stop is a cohesive multi-agency partnership that began in Miami-Dade County and has shifted the paradigm on how local, state, and federal resources are delivered. Built on the empirical theory that the absence of collective efficacy is the greatest predictor of violence in neighborhoods (Sampson, Raudenbush, & Earls, 1998), Walking One Stop brings social and economic resources to the doorstep of residents who have experienced reoccurring traumatic events. Walking One Stop is data driven, using predictive policing algorithms in a non-traditional way to infuse place-based and people-focused interventions in hotspots and for “hot people” (e.g. extremely high risk individuals) respectively.
Gunshot detection is used to pinpoint where Walking One Stop is dispatched. By identifying, at the address level, where gun violence is acute, Walking One Stop is able to create a profile of those driving the violence, assess the readiness of “hot people” for change, and focus targeted interventions that get to the root of cognitive behavioral challenges. Through Walking One Stop, individuals can begin to heal after years of repeated incidents of unresolved trauma that may have begun as early as gestation.
As a problem solving strategy, Walking One Stop assesses and addresses the needs of residents. Walking One Stops begins with a short but robust briefing at the local police station that serves the targeted area. During the briefing, the station commander provides representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations with an overview of recent violent incidents, doorhanger bags are filled with information from a myriad of service providers, and veteran “Walkers” (e.g. elected officials, criminal justice professionals, community activists, social and economic service providers, and concerned residents) enact role plays depicting interactions with residents. After the briefing, “Walkers” are escorted by marked patrol cars with blue lights beaming as a majestic caravan heads out to a neighborhood that has experienced recent or persistent incidents of gun violence. While onsite, neighborhood resource officers provide security as “Walkers” assess the needs of residents and those needs are often addressed immediately at the Walking One Stop staging area or later by the appropriate referral source. The local workforce development board routinely deploys their mobile unit to the staging area where residents receive on-the-spot assistance with employment and vocational training. An evaluation of residents who completed registration in the Employ Florida Marketplace during Walking One Stop from October 2014 – February 2017, yielded an impressive 41.8% placed in employment (CareerSource South Florida, 2017). Walking One Stop is where police and community leaders cohesively engage in a co-response to address social and economic challenges in an extraordinary display of collective efficacy.
Walking One Stop is also used, on an ad-hoc basis, to solicit feedback from community residents and program partners, after critical incidents, before policy revisions, or before technology deployment. During an August 4, 2021 interview with Rick Beasley, Chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, he provided enlightening feedback on how gunshot detection data can be used as a tool to assist in identifying extremely high risk individuals who are hard to place in employment for the purposes of designing and implementing vocational training programs that assists employers who are struggling to find employees; thus, enhancing public safety while developing talent for employers. An added incentive for employers is that by hiring these individuals they may qualify for the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Walking One Stop uses feedback to expand its benefit to employers and those desiring a successful transition from violent crime to a productive, crime-free life.
Travel throughout America and you will find police departments and community groups doing outreach, but you will never find anything like the ultra-community collaborative against violence, “Walking One Stop,” which brings federal, state, and local governmental and non-governmental resources right to the doorstep of residents who have recently or persistently experienced gun and gang violence.
The Walking One Stop begins days before walkers take to the streets. Careful preparation and logistics planning goes into each Walking One Stop. Coordination with scores of agencies who bring mobile units, tabletop displays, and staff to deliver services is done on the front end. On the day of the Walking One Stop, up to 70 governmental and non-governmental entities convene for a briefing at the local police station that has jurisdiction over the neighborhood to be served.
At the briefing, the Miami-Dade Anti-Gang Strategy is explained, police describe the incident that prompted Walking One Stop to be dispatched there, safety precautions are discussed, door hanger bags are stuffed with brochures from partnering agencies, and role plays are performed for new walkers to “get their feet wet” and to understand how to complete contact sheets when interacting with residents in the traumatized area.
After the briefing, the Walking One Stop Motorcade lines up outside of the police station and rolls out with headlights on, flashers blinking, and police escorts beaming blue lights and sirens roaring all the way to the Walking One Stop location – the neighborhood is stunned! Drug dealers run and hide and law abiding citizens open their doors to greet this amazing demonstration of collective efficacy – words cannot adequately describe the scene.
Upon arrival at the site, walkers meet at the Walking One Stop Staging Area where mobile units and tabletop displays are already set up. Mobile units typically include CareerSource South Florida’s “Mobile Career Center,” the State Attorney’s Office’s “Justice in Motion,” and the Florida Department of Health’s “Test Miami” where people can receive immediate job placement and training services, assistance with child support or seal and expungement, and HIV and STD testing respectively. Walkers break into small groups with each group led by a veteran walker and accompanied by a police officer. Groups are given walking assignments and dispatched according to pre-walk logistics planning.
While with residents, walkers seek to identify social and economic needs. If the requested service is available at the staging area, then the resident is accompanied by a walker to the appropriate mobile unit for on-the-spot service delivery. If the service is not available, then the request is documented on a contact sheet, which is later collected, databased, and disseminated to the right agency for follow-up. Each agency has one week to report the results of their contact. Moreover, residents sometimes share confidential information about crime incidents that may assist in case closure for law enforcement.
Walkers who are normally confined to a cubicle doing case notes also benefited from Walking One Stop as their commitment to serving people was reinvigorated by meeting residents face-to-face at their doorstep. Residents are shocked to see criminal justice professionals and community leaders knocking at their door – it renews hope for those who feel forgotten.
Walking One Stop is the epitome of collective efficacy and an amazing demonstration of law enforcement / community relations at its best as documented by independent media coverage, which can be viewed at the following links:
Radio clip (with transcript):
Walking One Stop clip (at 1:22): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpYh7Zfjgr0&feature=youtu.be