Our nation’s law enforcement officers are operating in a time of conflict and turmoil where changing technologies, ideologies, and information sources have rapidly changed the way we all communicate and coexist. In order to ensure law enforcement strategies remained up-to-date with current societal trends, President Obama ordered the formation of a task force entrusted to provide insight into how law enforcement agencies could do just that. The task force covered topics ranging from community policing and social media, to officer wellness.
By the time the task force had finished, they’d produced a 100+ page report filled with insights they had gathered. You probably don’t have time to read the full report, so we have provided a rough summary below outlining the 6 main topics or “pillars” covered in the report.
Building Trust and Legitimacy
Nurturing trust and legitimacy between police and residents has been shown to be the foundation of any healthy community relationship. Embracing the mindset of being a guardian rather than a warrior combined with transparency and strict procedural policies can be major stepping stones towards building trust between law enforcement and the public.
Policy and Oversight
Law enforcement officers should adhere to policies created in collaboration with community members, especially those members in areas disproportionately affected by crime. Residents should also be made fully aware of the policies that officers follow to remove confusion during critical incidents. The Dept. of Justice also promotes the COPS and OJP programs as useful tools for further funding and technical assistance.
Technology and Social Media
New forms of communication such as social media can be powerful tools for connecting and building trust with the community. Before adopting and implementing new technologies and forms of communication, agencies should clearly outline its purposes and goals in regards to both internal and public communications and build a framework policies aimed at furthering those goals.
Community Policing and Crime Reduction
Community policing emphasizes the importance of working with neighborhood residents to co-produce public safety by promoting community engagement. Law enforcement agencies should, therefore, work with community members to identify problems and collaborate on implementing solutions that produce meaningful results for the community
Officer Training and Education
Due to the expanding scope of responsibilities law enforcement officers face today, it is crucial they remain adequately trained on evolving and relevant topics. To ensure the high quality and effectiveness of training and education, law enforcement agencies should engage community members, particularly those with special expertise, in the training process and provide leadership training to all personnel throughout their careers.
Officer Safety and Wellness
In order to promote overall officer safety, agencies should take a firm stance on basic safety requirements such as ballistic vest and set belt usage policies, but also provide more in-depth training in first-aid and provide officers with first-aid kits. To further enforce these ideas, agencies should ensure officers are fully aware of both the physical and disciplinary consequences if they were to not follow safety procedures.
Read the full report here.
Learn more about Community Policing.