special Stephen Postlethwaite, center, and Keith McGroary, right, were invited by Chief Terry Sult to conduct two training sessions on the topic of Problem Oriented Policing. Postlethwaite is the Strategic Crime and Disorder Risk Advisor at Hampshire County Council, Southhampton, UK. McGroary is the Community Safety Manager and Economic Development Officer at Spelthorne Borough Council, Knowle Green, UK.

Sandy Springs Police officers on Sept. 13 and 14 learned lessons from two United Kingdom instructors about Problem Oriented Policing.

Steve Postlethwaite and Keith McGroary previously collaborated with Sandy Springs Police Chief Terry Sult when he was the police chief in Gastonia, N.C.

Postlethwaite is the strategic crime and disorder risk advisor at Hampshire County Council, Southampton. McGroary is community safety manager and economic development officer at Spelthorne Borough Council, Knowle Green.

Both of the U.K. officers said Sandy Springs is employing a partner-oriented approach to crime fighting that involves partnerships with other agencies or organizations, something they have experienced firsthand.

“In the U.K., there are a lot of partnerships because we have a legal obligation to do it,” Postlethwaite said. “We’re known as problem solvers.”

The two men educated officers on the Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment (S.A.R.A) problem solving method of law enforcement. According to the center for Problem Oriented Policing website, the SARA model involves identifying, analyzing, responding innovatively and assessing the effectiveness of those responses.

Postlethwaite called it a “business model.” Postlethwaite and McGroary said people can read up on different models and methods of law enforcement, but it helps to hear from someone who’s utilizing those methods in a different country.

“It adds credibility when it’s presented from another perspective,” Postlethwaite said.

Lt. Steve Rose, the department’s public information officer, said a big part of the process is police officers not passing the buck to other government agencies.

“If you’re on my beat and you have a problem with dogs, it’s my problem,” Rose said. “I’m not going to call the dog catcher. If your neighborhood is trashy, we start to help with cleanup.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com