The Neighborhood Portfolio Exercise (NPE) was not designed to be a POP project as some agencies are now doing. The NPE was originally created by the San Diego Police Department (as a Neighborhood Profile) and was intended to train new officers on how to analyze their areas of responsibility as well as create a data base that other officers could use to become familiar with a newly assigned beat.
The NPE’s role in the PTO Program is to teach trainees how to analyze a specific beat or area and develop skills that may be used in the future, including POP projects. Typically, the NPE includes a full description of an area such as crime statistics, population, demographics, nodes, pathways, economics, problem areas, and more. Once the NPE is completed, then it may be used to identify those areas that may be suitable for a POP project, but the NPE itself is not the actual problem-oriented policing effort.
The NPE has been dropped by many agencies because they feel it is simply too much work and takes the trainee out of the field for too long. The benefits from a trainee doing an NPE are enormous. The loss of field time is compensated for by the additional skills that the trainee develops as well as self-confidence instilled by completing the portfolio and presenting it to the Board of Evaluators at the end of the program. An additional benefit is to the agency itself. NPEs form a library of beat data that can be used by officers, analysts and administrators for various tasks and projects over time.