Editors Note: The current idea of reallocating police resources to other community based activities is not new and has evolved over time.
Community policing goes back to principles outlined by Conservative British Statesman Robert Peel (1788-1850) and further advanced by John Alderson (1922-2011), the former Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police.
Kenneth Peak emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada, Reno, has argued that community policing in the United States has evolved through three generations: innovation (1979 to 1986), diffusion (1987 to 1994) and institutionalization (1995 to present day). The institutionalization era introduced mass application of community policing programs, in not only large departments but also smaller and more rural ones.
Here Phil Keith, the Director of the U.S. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and Domingo Herraiz, International Association of Chiefs of Polices (IACP) Director of Programs, are interviewed on IACP TV. They discuss the new way that Collaborative Reform is being delivered, and IACP’s partnership with the COPS Office.
In December 2014, President Barack Obama formed The President’s Task Force On 21st Century Policing. The Task Force delivered the final 115-page report in May 2015.
The task force, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office),[i] conducted seven public listening sessions across the country. Recommendations came from community and faith leaders, law enforcement officers, academics, and others. Here are some highlights:
- Build trust and nurture legitimacy on both sides of the police/citizen divide as the foundational principle underlying the nature of relations between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
- Law enforcement culture should embrace a guardian—rather than a warrior—mindset to build trust and legitimacy both within agencies and with the public.
- Police agencies should include provisions for the collection of demographic data on all parties involved. All policies and aggregate data should be made publicly available to ensure transparency.
- Established policies that reflect community values.
- Law enforcement agencies should collaborate with community members.
- They should have clear and comprehensive policies on the use of force (including training on the importance of de-escalation), mass demonstrations (including the appropriate use of equipment, mainly rifles and armored personnel carriers), consent before searches, gender identification, racial profiling, and performance measures, and
- Law Enforcement agencies should have external and independent investigations and prosecutions of officer-involved shootings and other use of force situations and in-custody deaths.
- Use technology to improve policing practices and build community trust and legitimacy.
- Implement technology within a policy framework with its purposes and goals delineated.
- Implement new technologies that allow police departments to fully engage and educate communities in a dialogue about their expectations for transparency, accountability, and privacy.
- The U.S. Department of Justice, in consultation with the law enforcement field, should establish national standards for the research and development of new technology including auditory, visual, and biometric data, “less than lethal” technology, and the development of segregated radio spectrum s
- Work with neighborhood residents to co-produce public safety.
- Law enforcement agencies should identify problems and collaborate with community leaders in implementing solutions that produce meaningful results for the community.
- Ensure high quality and effective 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.
- The Federal Government should support the development of partnerships with training facilities across the country to promote consistent standards for high-quality training and establish training innovation hubs involving universities and police academies.
- Institute, a national postgraduate institute of policing for senior executives, should be created with a standardized curriculum preparing participants to lead agencies in the 21st century.
- The U.S. Department of Justice should enhance and further promote its multi-faceted officer safety and wellness initiative.
- The Federal Government should develop programs to provide financial support for law enforcement officers to continue to pursue educational opportunities.
- Finally, Congress should develop and enact peer review error management legislation.
President Obama handed the recommendations to Donald Trump recommending that as president he should:
- Direct all federal law enforcement agencies to implement the task force recommendations to the extent practicable, and
- Require that the U.S. Department of Justice should explore public-private partnership opportunities with foundations to advance implementation of the recommendations, and
- Direct the COPS Office to take a series of targeted actions to assist the law enforcement field in addressing current and future challenges.
[i] The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was created with the passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to assist law enforcement agencies in enhancing public safety through the implementation of community policing strategies.