U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Washington, D.C. 20410-7000

Public and Indian Housing

Special Attention of:

State and Area Coordinators;
Public Housing Directors;
Public Housing Agencies;

Notice PIH 95-58 (PHA)

Issued: September 22, 1995
Expires: September 30, 1996
(extended by PIH98-16)

Subject: Guidelines for Creating, Implementing and Managing Public Housing Authority Police Departments in Public Housing Authorities

1.Purpose. To provide guidelines and technical assistance for creating, implementing and managing public housing authority police departments.

2.APPLICABILITY. This Notice is applicable ONLY to public housing authorities.


A.Housing leaders have expressed the need for upgrading safety and security for public housing residents. The prevailing themes are to establish better relationships with local government on police and safety issues, the need to upgrade current public housing police and security services, and guidelines for establishing public housing police departments.

B.Prompted by the need to assure maximum cooperation between local, Federal and public housing officials in the delivery of police and security services and the need to assure accountability of security funding, the Department approved a plan in 1993 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of safety and security services for public housing residents. The report was completed January 1995.

C.The assessment of police and security services was unique in that it was conducted by current and former local police chiefs, former Federal law enforcement officials and corporate security directors. The cities assessed included Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Oxnard, CA; Memphis, TN and Seattle, WA.

The consultant staff gained input from more than 3,000 public housing residents, city police chiefs, public housing police department chiefs, police officers, housing authority officials and board members, housing authority managers, city officials and HUD staff.

PRD: Distribution: W-3-1, W-2(H), R-3-1(PIH), R-6, R-7, 138-2

D.The goals of the assessment were to determine crime indicators and measurements that could be used by public housing authorities to benefit residents in public housing developments; to conduct an analysis of service delivery in public housing developments, comparing those with public housing police departments and those without public housing police departments; to develop a document that could be utilized as the basis for a model contract for public housing authorities to assure coordinated police and security services for residents; and to provide technical assistance to public housing authorities by assisting in implementing recommendations to benefit residents and mediating relationships with local government officials.

E.The results of comprehensive analyses by HUD indicate that housing police departments begin without the proper infrastructure, such as establishing of a mission, goals, objectives, performance indicators, personnel management systems, formalized coordination with local law enforcement, encumbrance of funds to pay for the services, an integrated system of guards, police, physical security, resident input on a regular basis, timely feedback to residents about crime and safety issues, a clear connection between police and tenant patrols, lack of policy manuals for police and security personnel.

Since improved safety is a primary goal, public housing officials often lack information about crime, especially the types of crime that cause so much fear among residents. For example, most municipal police agencies don't collect information about crime on housing properties. Data tend to be for geographic areas. When crime is reported in the cities, the numbers tend to be aggregated rather than identifying which specific crimes are up or down. In the analyses of crime in public housing, violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and assaults) are often much higher and may be increasing in public housing. It is these types of crimes that should be targeted.

One of the most critical internal issues is the need for a clearly defined public safety budget. Regardless of the sources, funds need to be encumbered as part of the fiscal structure of public safety. Police and security officials need specific budgets and should report compliance with budgetary guidelines, and service level objectives need to be established and monitored.

An external problem identified by outside local police and security experts is the lack of close coordination and cooperation between municipal police and public housing police. While the basis for establishing a public housing police force may be that the municipal police do not provide adequate services or are not responsive to an authority's needs, without a coordinated approach to safety and, security on public housing properties, public housing residents are placed in the middle, since one agency may take the report of a crime and another agency investigates. Since municipal police take 911 calls, cooperation and coordination between housing police and municipal police are essential and the level of this interaction needs to be in writing.

Without these important systems in public housing law enforcement departments, housing authorities are subject to substantial liability exposure. This liability exposure can extend to HUD.

4. Guidance.

A.The guidance outlined in this Notice should be considered technical assistance to public housing authorities, not a required policy. There is no requirement for HUD involvement nor are there any reporting requirements.

B.This Notice is designed to assist public housing authorities in making decisions regarding public housing security, analysis of security needs and performance measures.

C.An assessment conducted by HUD indicates that public housing police departments have typically begun with security guards, who have limited authority. The move from security guards to police departments take the form of either all police or a combined system of guards and police officers.

D.The Department is available to assist public housing authorities in providing technical assistance in the below listed areas. In addition, the Department will provide copies of any security assessment upon request.

E.Listed below are guidelines that can be used and functions that should be addressed by a public housing authority for creating, implementing and managing a public housing authority police department:

(1)Documentation by the housing authority of attempts to establish services through local municipal police jurisdiction and documentation of collaborative efforts between housing authority and local municipal police jurisdiction. such collaborative efforts are essential for a successful housing authority police department.

(2)Justification why local government cannot/will not provide requested police services.

(3)Cost analysis for the housing authority to provide service vs. cost of contracting with local municipal police department for these same services.

(4)source of municipal police authority (state/Local Government).

(5)Identified funding sources. An annual public housing operating budget is needed on accomplishing mission and meeting service level objectives.

(6)Legal agreements. protocols with local government that include:

(a)Municipal and housing authority police roles and responsibilities;

(b)Authority for public housing authority police;

(c)Requirements of public housing authority police;

(d)Requirements of municipality and state;

(e)Funding obligations; and

(f)Review by public housing authority and local government counsel.

(7)Mission, vision, and values statement.

(8)Service level objectives. These should be qualified objectives, such as reducing specific types of crimes by specific percentages, increasing police visibility by a certain percent, reducing drug trafficking by a certain percent, reducing vandalism by an amount.

(9)Roles and focus of public housing authority police officers.

(10)Responsibilities of public housing authority police officers.

(11)Personnel staffing formula. The formula for determining the number of personnel should be clearly identified. For example, if the public housing authority wants additional staffing for one or two shifts, a formula is needed to reflect the staffing requirements and connected with paragraph (8) Service Level Objectives.

(12)Job descriptions of all positions, including the chief of police\director public safety, all supervisory ranks, police officers, security officers, civilian personnel.

(13)Policy manual specific to rules, regulations and general orders of all housing authority police officer requirements, standards of conduct, practices, procedures and programs. Each of the policies and procedures should contain the specific Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) standard that relates to the policy/procedure.

(14)A written personnel management system relating to procedures for:

(a) Recruitment. (b) Selection. (c) Initial training. (d) In-service training. (15) Supervisory training. (16) Specialized training. (17) Sensitivity training. (18) Firearms training. (19) Job evaluation procedures. (20) Procedures for filling vacancies. (21) Policy on labor and management relations. (22) Affirmative action plan. (23) Promotional procedures. (24) Disciplinary procedures. (25) Grievance procedures. (26) Citizen complaint procedures. (27) Compensation schedules. (28) Employee assistance program.

F. Public housing authority police operations plan that includes:

(1) staffing criteria.

(2)Beat design. The beat profile should contain the number of residents, number of buildings, vacant apartments, housing managers, referral services available, the municipal police coverage overlapping the beat.

(3)Beat descriptions.

(4)Shift and steady tour schedules.

(5)Patrol strategies.

(6)Vertical patrol.

(7)Foot patrols.

(8)Bicycle patrols.

(9)Motorcycle patrols.

(10)Observation (surveillance) procedures.

(11)Community policing.

(12)Report procedures.

(13)Crime prevention plans.

G.Public housing authority police technical services plan that includes:

(1)Dispatch procedures. (911, non-emergency, frequency, interface with municipal police, interface with records management systems, automation, staff formula, and hours of work)

(2)Records procedures. (Collecting, approving, coding, storing, automating, filing, accessing, retention, and purging. Must also include number and types of forms, as well as purpose and examples of each form)

(3) Property procedures.

(4)Evidence collection, classification, disposition, and destruction procedures.

(5)Identification procedures, if service provided.

(6)Fleet maintenance.

(7) Weapons control.

(8)Automation systems. (Hardware, software, and interface of systems)

(9)Sharing of information with local police.

(10) Procedures for technical security upgrades.

(11) Facilities plan.

H.Public housing authority police administrative services plan that includes:

(1) Management information system. (2) Planning. (3) Crime analysis. (4) Fiscal planning and tracking. (5) Inspections. (6) Sources of funding.

I.Public housing authority police criminal investigations plan that includes:

(1) Arrest procedures. (2) Transportation of prisoners. (3) Handling juveniles. (4) Coordination procedures for municipal police investigations. (5) Victim feedback processes and assistance. (6) Criteria for determining efficiency. (7) Maintenance of confidential records. (Gangs and Narcotics) (8) Follow-up investigations procedures.

J. Public housing authority police accreditation plan that includes: (1) Personnel staffing. (2) schedule for self assessment phase. (3) schedule for on-site inspection phase.

K.Formalized Resident Participation:

(1)A Public safety Resident council composed of residents representing a cross section of the housing authority/and or developments.

(2)Formal meetings between police and the Public safety Resident Council on a monthly basis with minutes of the meeting distributed to all participants.

(3)A formalized process for resident input into and review of police and security goals, service level objectives, programs funding, resident participation, and evaluation on an annual basis.

(4)A program to inform residents of crime information in specific housing developments on monthly basis, or sooner if public safety is jeopardized.

5.Point of Contact. For a copy of the Carroll Buracker and Associates, Assessment of Police and Security Services to public housing authorities or technical assistance please contact Marvin Klepper, Office Community and Involvement, Crime Prevention and Security Division on (202) 708- 1197 ext 272.

Joseph Shuldiner
Assistant Secretary for Public
and Indian Housing