A Brief Review of the Development of the Center for Public Safety Initiatives (CPSI) and its Work in the City of Rochester
The Center for Public Safety Initiatives (CPSI) is a unique collaboration between the City of Rochester, the criminal justice agencies of greater Rochester, including the Rochester Police Department (RPD), and Rochester Institute of Technology. Its purpose is to contribute to criminal justice strategy through research, policy analysis and evaluation. Its educational goals include training graduate and undergraduate students in strategic planning and policy analysis.
The foundation of the Center is the practice of action research in which relevant data and analyses are brought to bear on the day to day decision-making processes of organizations. The Center serves the practice of policy development and implementation in real-time.
CPSI seeks projects where it can bring to bear its unique partnerships, research skills and educational commitments.
History of CPSI and Rochester
The work of CPSI began in 2000 with work on the problem of lethal violence in Rochester. Although related work goes back to the early 1990’s under Mayor Tom Ryan, initiatives continued and expanded under subsequent Mayors. The focus on homicide in Rochester in 2000 involved a research partnership with the Rochester Police, local probation and parole, Monroe County District Attorney and the United States Attorney United States for the Western District, under what was known as the Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative (SACSI).
The SACSI work led directly to the reformulation of crime analysis at RPD which was eventually the model for the Monroe Crime Analysis Center (MCAC) and other analysis centers across the state and are supported by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. The local analysis center’s key staff began as RIT students working for CPSI. CPSI continues to support crime analysis in Rochester with eight full time employees currently working at MCAC with funding from the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
Funding for Rochester Projects
The SACSI work has also produced several other benefits for Rochester. SACSI became institutionalized with federal funding from Project Safe Neighborhoods. As the fiscal agent for this project, CPSI brought funding to local agencies and organizations including RPD, Pathways to Peace, Probation, and Rochester not-for-profits including the Judicial Process Commission, Teen Empowerment, Determined Divas, and several others.
Through the US Department of Justice, CPSI also brought funding for the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative (CAGI). Of that, significant funding went for law enforcement, principally through RPD; it also went for anti-gang services thorough Rochester Not-for-profits; and a smaller amount went for Rochester reentry programs serving jail inmates and prisoners returning to the community. CPSI also secured funding for additional local projects such as the Women’s Re-entry Project run by the Judicial Process Commission. We are also working with RPD on a Department of Justice SMART policing initiative involving addressing dispute related violence in Rochester.
Local Research and Evaluation Projects by CPSI
CPSI is focused on conducting locally relevant research. In addition to securing funding for local Rochester area government and not-for-profit organization projects, CPSI continuously conducts local research for use by its partner agencies and organizations and the public as well. Some of this research is funded through Project Impact from DCJS through the Rochester Police Department. These funds are primarily used to support student researchers who gain valuable research and practical experience. With their work at the crime analysis center and RPD it seems likely that some of the students will go on to make further contributions through employment with the city as other CPSI researchers have. The projects completed under this effort are reflected in the “Working Papers” sections on our website.
CPSI also serves the community by providing information about best practices and evidence-based practices from around the country and across the globe. Our reviews of crime prevention and intervention efforts are available in the “Under Construction” section of our website.
All of the research done through CPSI is intended to provide useful and practical knowledge to assist in addressing public safety concerns in the community. The research is made available through the working papers and is widely presented and discussed in the community by the researchers and others from CPSI. The research partnership between CPSI and the Rochester Police Department and other local agencies and organizations has been recognized as a model research partnership by the National Institute of Justice.