Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sneak peek at February Uptown: Law enforcement training trends

By Sarita Chourey, Uptown editor/content manager 
Officers training at the Criminal Justice Academy (credit/Florence McCants)
Vetting new police recruits on the front end can do a lot to help departments move new hires through the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. It’s also helpful to prepare recruits by putting them through a “pre-academy” program.

"The slots are so valuable that it behooves everyone to do due diligence to send the best possible candidate," said CJA Director Jackie Swindler. "It saddens me to see some candidates who come through who are not going to be successful." 

Find out what else Swindler recommends in this early look at what’s in store for the February issue of Uptown. The full issue will be online and in mailboxes next week.
Swindler will also be one of the speakers at Hometown Legislative Action Day, Wednesday, February 1, for a panel that will discuss law enforcement trends as well as proposals for CJA funding, which are part of the Municipal Association's 2017 Advocacy Initiatives. S.C. Department of Social Services Law Enforcement Liaison Larry McNeil and Ryan Alphin, executive director of the S.C. Law Enforcement Officers’ Association and the S.C. Police Chiefs Association, will also participate in the panel.

There’s additional information on this topic of recruiting and retaining police officers in this presentation by Todd Williams, public safety loss control consultant for the Municipal Association, at the recent meeting of the S.C. City/County Management Association.

Also read this Uptown article from 2016 that looks at lessons learned from other states to illustrate why it’s important to review recruitment policies and training practices to prevent similar occurrences.

Monday, January 23, 2017

FCC threatens to limit local land use authority on wireless siting

By Angelina Panettieri, Principal Associate for Technology and Communications, National League of Cities

Late last month, the Federal Communications Commission issued a public notice seeking comment on two topics that could shape the future of city control over their rights-of-way. 

The FCC's Wireless Bureau requested public comment on how to streamline the deployment of small wireless facilities, primarily through potential changes to local land-use ordinances, and comment generally on a petition filed by infrastructure company Mobilite regarding local government rules and procedures.

The public notice raises several major concerns for cities. The first is that the FCC wishes to use this proceeding to reexamine the facts of the decisions made in its 2009 and 2014 rulemakings on local wireless facilities siting, questioning whether the evidence presented by local governments during those proceedings is still valid.

Second, the notice questions the amount of time needed by local governments to process wireless siting applications for small-cell facilities, particularly when submitted in large quantities. The notice requests feedback on streamlining local regulations when similar applications are submitted as batches. 

Also, the notice questions the amount and structure of fees charged by local governments for applications and access to rights-of-way.

The National League of Cities successfully filed a joint motion for an extension of the comment period. The revised comment deadline is now March 8, 2017, with a reply comment deadline of April 7, 2017.
NLC will comment on this notice, in collaboration with other local government groups and state municipal leagues, and is calling on cities nationwide to help craft our response.  

Help NLC comment on this notice by providing important data on your city's wireless facility siting process by January 27 and to request a comment template for your city to use in providing your own comment.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hometown Legislative Action Day just around the corner

Listen to the City Quick Connect podcast featuring the Association's legislative team with more details about what's on tap for Hometown Legislative Action Day.

In less than three weeks, more than 500 local officials will travel to Columbia to meet with their legislators and learn about issues important to cities and towns. Hometown Legislative Action Day is February 1, and the deadline to register is January 18.

We will start the day with a conversation with five of the members of the House Tax Policy Review Committee that’s been meeting since last summer. Five committee members – Reps. Tommy Pope, Chandra Dillard, Todd Atwater, Mandy Powers Norrell and Joe Daning  - will bring their perspectives about the committee’s work. Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall will facilitate this conversation. 

Committee members have heard from state tax experts, municipalities and counties, the business community and residents voicing their perspectives on taxes. The members have discussed eliminating certain sales tax exemptions, making changes to Act 388 and decreasing the state income tax. 

Next, two Senate leaders will bring their perspective on the 2017 session. Senator Shane Massey from Aiken County is the Majority Leader and Senator Luke Rankin is the new chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

We will also welcome the president of the National League of Cities, Clarence Anthony, who will help us sort out what’s going on in Washington with the new administration and new Congress.

During lunch, Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall will brief attendees on the status of the S.C. Department of Transportation and the outlook for road funding in the new legislative year.

HLAD speakers will also address law enforcement trends and proposals. Serving on the panel are Criminal Justice Academy Director Jackie Swindler, S.C. Department of Social Services Law Enforcement Liaison Larry McNeil and Ryan Alphin, executive director of the S.C. Law Enforcement Officers’ Association and the S.C. Police Chiefs Association.

A representative from the Public Employee Benefit Authority will update attendees on challenges in the State Retirement System. Plus attendees will get a briefing on how to complete their 2016 Statement of Economic Interests based on the new requirements on income disclosure passed last year.

We will wrap up the day with a Taste of South Carolina legislative reception celebrating local foods and craft beers. 

Before coming to Columbia, connect with colleagues and get up-to-the-minute meeting information on your Android or Apple smartphones and tablets. Download the mobile HLAD app by searching for MuniAssnSC in the App Store or Google Play, or view the web version of the app.

Listen to the City Quick Connect podcast featuring the Association's legislative team with more details about what's on tap for Hometown Legislative Action Day.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Tips for a mindful new year

By Meredith Kaiser, loss control consultant for the SC Municipal Insurance Insurance Trust and SC Municipal Insurance Risk and Financing Fund

It’s the start of a new year and resolutions abound. How many among us have said, “I need to be more present in my life, pay more attention to what I’m doing, be more mindful of what’s happening around me.”

Growing evidence shows that mindfulness, which is defined by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn as “paying attention in a particular way moment to moment without judgement or reactivity,” improves stress levels, back pain, cognitive function and even changes the structure of the brain.

Zinn, who has a Ph.D. in molecular biology from MIT, founded the MBSR program, or mindfulness based stress reduction program, an 8-week class offered in more than 720 medical facilities around the world.

He developed MBSR to help patients, who often became depressed or developed maladaptive responses, to deal with chronic illness, pain or other medical challenges. Maladaptive responses include overuse of medications or alcohol. Zinn’s recently updated book, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness includes much of the new research findings on the positive effects of mindfulness.

I took my first MBSR class in 2012. I felt it paralleled the safety concept of root cause analysis. The source of many human performance failures, such as workplace injuries, involve conditions which can be improved through mindfulness practice. One such condition is poor quality sleep.

David Gelles’ book, Mindful Work: How Meditation is Changing Business from the Inside Out, follows the history of the mindfulness in the United States and its impact on workplaces like Ford, General Mills, Google and Patagonia. Mental health programs, professional sports teams, schools, the U.S. military and police agencies are also seeing positive results.

The Oregon cities of Bend and Hillsboro offer mindfulness programs in their police departments. Lt. Richard Goerling of the Hillsboro police department spearheaded these programs by tailoring the MBSR program to first responders. He and a co-trainer now offer a three day Mindfulness Based Resilience Training program twice a year open to first responders from across the country, as well as other trainings. 

Recent studies of law enforcement officers have shown reductions in alcohol use, anger, aggression, and stress, as well as improvements in empathy and sleep.

Mindfulness training for West Columbia public works, parks and recreation, and maintenance departments
In 2016, the Association's Risk Management Services began offering onsite one-hour mindfulness classes for member cities in the SCMIT and SCMIRF programs. To date more than 200 employees in four cities have attended.