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Community Action Team (CAT)

The Community Action Team (CAT) is comprised of specially trained officers from the Cheyenne Police Department. CAT serves as one of the Cheyenne Police Department’s proactive community policing initiatives. The primary premise of CAT is to focus on the root-causes of problems and identify how these problems are associated with other crimes. CAT members will spend a great deal of time gathering information on specific issues through various connections with the public and other law enforcement organizations.
CAT members work closely with schools, businesses and citizen groups to solve problems. By targeting the root-cause of a problem, CAT members are able to impact the problem before it spreads. The partnerships formed by CAT will foster trust between the community and our organization.
The Cheyenne Police Department used CAT members to conduct a pilot program, deemed the Homeless Empowerment Action Team (HEAT), during the last part of 2012.  This program was in partnership with the COMEA shelter.  The program found that alcohol was a significant issue in the downtown area. (See the full report here.)  The after action review of the HEAT program led to the development of the Downtown Alcohol Risk Reduction Team (DARRT).  

DARRT along with the COMEA shelter is currently seeking a grant (The Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program) that would focus efforts in the downtown area. 


Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program

Proposal Outline

: The Cheyenne Police Department received numerous complaints about crimes being committed in the downtown area by the transient population.  These crimes included assault, indecent behavior, soliciting and public intoxication.  All seemed to be connected to alcohol consumption however.  Data revealed that the percentage of public intoxication citations issued to transients in the downtown area averaged 47% of total public intoxication citations from February to July in 2012 as compared to 35% for the same time period in 2011.   For the same time period the police department also experienced a 105% increase in jail expenses to house transient offenders.  Between May and September of 2012 the PD spent $63,311 in transient detention expenses.  A large portion of these were repeat offenders suggesting a revolving door.  The primary focus of this project is to divert offenders from the criminal justice system.

Efforts for Change:  The HEAT program was implemented in August of 2012 with the intension of reducing public intoxication in the downtown area by 30%.  This was to be done by directing offenders to the appropriate social services, encouraging case management, ensure consistency in the enforcement of ordinances and to prevent recidivism through the court system.  The program operated from August 20 to November 30, 2012.

Findings:  During the HEAT operation,

  • 127 contacts were made with transients who were violating laws. 
  • Of those, only 9% accepted social assistance.  
  • Only 35% were arrested. 
  • 27 offenders accounted for 52% of the 127 police contacts.
  • 31% of first time, 25% of second time, and 11% of third time offenders had their charges dismissed by the court.
  • 51% of the first time offenders did not appear in court and most likely left Cheyenne.
  • There are currently 30 outstanding warrants as a result of HEAT.
  • By October, Operation HEAT reduced transient public intoxication by 115% compared to October 2011.
  • In November 2012, the numbers increased again however, data shows that 35% were repeat offenders.

How will this impact the grant proposal:

Operation HEAT has identified a specific area of a neighborhood, the downtown business community and has validated the target problem, public intoxication of transients.  The fiscal agent, COMEA has already demonstrated considerable work with a cross section of partners and has the capability of developing more as they relate to this issue.  We intend to apply under the category 1 opportunity for $1million.  With these funds we plan to create the following:

  • Complete the 15 month research phase with continued outreach through HEAT which will now become DARRT or Downtown Alcohol Risk Reduction Team.   
  • Develop a Wet Shelter to house those unable to meet the “no-tolerance” policy at COMEA.  This shelter will operate only for the three year life of the grant with the intension of completing the Housing First model and transitioning clients into permanent housing.
  • Funds will cover the cost of this shelter and the contracted partners.  COMEA will contract with a therapist and addiction counselor to dedicate specific hours to these clients eliminating the problem of transportation or inability to keep appointments.

See the full BJA proposal here
See the HEAT After Action Report here