Where To From Here?

What lies ahead for police in America? What must they do?

Here’s some leadership suggestions, some areas in which a modern police organizations needs to engage with officers and those whom they serve:

  • Work to get much closer to members of the community; especially those who have the most contact with your officers.

 

  • Practice Procedural Justice inside the department as well as outside with the community.

 

  • Go through each one of the 59 recommendations made by the President’s Task Force for 21st Century Policing.

 

  • Raise the current low standard of force currently in Graham v. Connor. Do this through policing development and training. Follow PERF’s recommendations on use of force.

 

  • Reduce injuries and deaths of persons mentally ill through training and development of less-than-deadly methods of intervention.

 

  • Survey your “customers;” those who have had contact with your officers as to their satisfaction and level of trust so improvements in these areas can be documented and shared with the community.

 

  • Increase training in managing and de-escalating conflict situations and “stand-offs.” Spend as much time doing this as you do training with firearms.

 

  • Set the 4-year college degree as an entrance requirement. No exceptions; to be a cop you need to be a learned person.

 

  • Agree that the “method” of policing our democracy is a combination of community and problem-oriented policing. No program — rather the way policing is conducted.

 

  • Require your training academy to be committed to adult-based learning and operated on principles of procedural justice. Policing is not a military operation and a “boot camp” training methods need to be left to training soldiers, not cops.

 

  • Work to make “peer intervention” and respect for life agreed-upon organizational values and practices and part of the subculture of policing.

 

  • Be a voice in your community to improve the lives of those disadvantaged in our society with regard to education, jobs and non-discrimination.

 

  • Set a goal to have police agencies reflect the community they serve in terms of race and gender.

 

  • Speak out and work for better control of firearms — this is an officer, as well as citizen, safety issue.

 

  • Have programs and policies in place to effectively respond to police officer health and wellness matters. “Officer safety” needs to address issues of PTSD, divorce, family problems, death of a spouse or child, and other stressful events in an officer’s life.