Helping to Achieve the Mission
Submitted by Erika N. Evans, Special Assistant, Office of the Associate Director, Community Supervision Services
(CSOSA Newslink, June 2002)
Accountability Tours are face-to-face field contacts with offenders. They are conducted jointly by a Community Supervision Officer and a Metropolitan Police Department Officer for the purposes of information sharing, monitoring offender compliance with community supervision, and improving public safety. On Thursday, June 2Oth, I had the pleasure of accompanying CSO Matthew Kiely, General Supervision Branch IIA, Team #21, on an Accountability Tour in Police Service Area (PSA) 313. The tour was conducted with PSA 313 MPD Officer Andre Fleming from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; the best time, according to both officers, to make the most contact with offenders at their homes.
I have to admit; I was a little on edge at first. Wearing my soft body armor for the first time, I wasn't sure what to expect. Somewhere between confirming the ride-along date and meeting with the officers to actually begin the tour, I had begun to picture an evening filled with high-speed car chases and scenes from the popular television show COPS. Fortunately, the experience I had was much more positive and much less intense.
It was obvious from the beginning of the tour that CSO Kiely and Officer Fleming were both committed to the task at hand and that they both had a clear understanding of the mission to hold offenders accountable. Exemplifying the strong partnership between the two officers, CSO Kiely needed only to say the name of the offenders we were visiting and Officer Fleming drove directly to the residences without having to be reminded of the addresses. CSO Kiely took the lead as we visited each of the offenders, recalling their last contacts and discussing the circumstances of their cases. All the offenders were familiar with the process and showed respect and full cooperation. In many instances, Officer Fleming, a resident of PSA 313 himself, would interject in the discussions reminding the offenders that he was constantly abreast of what was going on with them in the community.
During one particular visit, I learned that Officer Fleming had given a young offender a job referral after CSO Kiely discussed having problems with the offender not being gainfully employed. Both officers expressed their discontent with the offender who had not followed up on the job prospect. CSO Kiely warned the young man that spending days at home with nothing to do would inevitably open up the doors to trouble and that if he was serious about successfully completing his probation, he had to try harder to get his act together. The Offender appeared nonchalant and rebellious when CSO Kiely gave him an 8 a.m. office appointment date. I made a friendly bet with the CSO that the offender would not show.
Riding in the patrol car between visits, I listened as CSO Kiely and Officer Fleming traded relevant information on the most recent known activities of offenders living in the community. During the course of the tour, Officer Fleming pointed out a few individuals by name that were known troublemakers. He asked CSO Kiely to find out if they were being supervised by the Agency. The close collaboration between the two officers provided proof of how the CSOSA/MPD partnership works to achieve a common goal.
CSO Kiely and Officer Fleming conduct accountability tours on a monthly basis. Officer Fleming says that CSO Kiely is one of the best CSOs he's worked with. "Matt really cares about what's going on out here, and that's so important", he says. I enjoyed this experience and I learned a lot more about Community Justice Partnerships. Early the next day, I got a phone call from CSO Kiely. The young offender showed up early for his 8 a.m. appointment, it seems I owe CSO Kiely lunch. Accountability Tours are in fact helping to achieve our Agency's mission.
For additional information on CSOSA media releases contact:
Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.
Senior Public Affairs Specialist
Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency
633 Indiana Avenue, NW Suite 1263
Washington, DC 20004