Arlington Police’s Walmart Restorative Justice Initiative Results in 3 International Awards
By Arlington Police Department
Posted on October 24, 2017, October 24, 2017

The Arlington Police Department was honored as a recipient of three prestigious awards for efforts related to the Walmart Restorative Justice Initiative. During the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in Philadelphia, PA, several representatives were on hand to formally receive the awards on behalf of the department.

Police Chief Will Johnson, Assistant Police Chief Kevin Kolbye, Lt. Leo Daniels, Sergeants Jakisha Jones and Dylan Eckstrom, along with Tom Arigi with Walmart and Jeff Powers with Corrective Education Corporation (CEC) accepted the awards in the following categories:

  • The 2017 IACP Cisco Leadership in Community Policing Award
  • The 2017 IACP Laura and John Arnold Foundation Leadership in Law Enforcement Research Award
  • The 2017 IACP Michael Shanahan Leadership in Public/Private Cooperation Award

The Arlington Police Department launched an initiative on October 1, 2015 to provide an alternative path to incarceration for low level theft offenders who were apprehended by Walmart loss prevention associates. The program includes an eight-step approach to reducing criminal offenses and enhancing store crime prevention measures inside retail locations.

  1. Asset Protections staffing of entrances/exits
  2. Signs in key locations with key messaging
  3. Public view monitors in high theft locations
  4. Recording in progress monitors at exits
  5. Restorative justice option for first-time low-level offenders
  6. Application of criminal trespass laws in some instances
  7. Increased officer visibility
  8. Use of decoy patrol cars

When preventive measures did not deter the individual, the restorative justice program was utilized to provide an alternative path to incarceration for low level theft offenders who were apprehended by Walmart loss prevention associates. This affords offenders an opportunity to take an educational course. This functional portion of the program assists with the prevention of labeling someone for the remainder of their life with a permanent criminal history if they were handled solely in the criminal justice system. In certain circumstances, the diversionary program also allows offenders an opportunity to obtain employment with Walmart in lieu of criminal prosecution. Experience has demonstrated that obtaining a stable job is one of the greatest components to reducing the likelihood of turning to the commission of thefts to support one's lifestyle.

The initiative has three major partners - Walmart, Corrective Education Corporation and the Arlington Police Department which seeks to reduce offenses, enhance crime prevention strategies for the retailer and create a sustainable program that builds stronger communities.

"Walmart and CEC have been incredible partners in looking at innovative ways to reduce criminalization and look for alternative methods in dealing with the ongoing issues related to misdemeanor thefts," said Police Chief Will Johnson. "We believe the success of this program has led to positive outcomes for the City of Arlington and can certainly be replicated in other communities."

Since the inception of the program, Arlington has experienced more than a 50 percent reduction in theft calls for service and overall arrests. These figures translate into saving more than 12,000 police resource hours which is equivalent to putting more than 4 officers back in the community annually.

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