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Front-line stories of Emergent Learning disciplines

Since the look and feel of Emergent Learning disciplines varies widely to match an organization’s needs and culture, the best way to understand them is through examples of real-world challenges and solutions:

Boston Police Department leverages local accountability and data

In 1995, Boston's new police commissioner, Paul Evans, was determined to lead the department back to its roots in neighborhood policing, after the introduction of the 911 system had led to too strong a focus on response time, and too little focus on understanding and fighting crime trends.

To build greater local accountability throughout the police department, he set up a team to manage the change and adapt a statistics-based method of crime analysis created in New York City, COMPSTAT, to the unique culture and needs of Boston's police force. They named their practice the "Crime Analysis Meeting," or CAM. As with all Emergent Learning disciplines, it has evolved over the years based on the evolving needs of the force.

The CAM, the most visible part of the discipline, is a biweekly three-hour structured forum. Districts rotate, which puts them "up front" about every two months. The district captain and his lieutenants report out against the "Part One" crime data in their district (homicides, burglaries, domestic violence and other major crimes). Using a standard format, they present the current data and share their analysis of trends in their jurisdiction, along with their recent actions and near future plans to impact those trends. Questions are posed by all present, including the superintendent, commissioner and their peers from the other districts.

Because the CAM makes District captains’ level of effectiveness and knowledge of their jurisdiction highly visible, they are naturally motivated to innovate or adopt successful practices from other districts and to build relationships with many organizations in their communities. Seven years and running, the CAM keeps the entire organization focused on proactively impacting crime and fosters collaboration across organizational boundaries. Some districts have begun "mini-CAMs" focused on the work of Sergeants and their beat teams within the district itself.

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