Police Community Relations
Newly appointed Police Chief of a fictional department
Assume the role of a newly appointed police chief of a fictional police department. In a diverse community, with a rising crime rate. Your mandate as Chief is to improve police community relations and reduce crime.
How to improve police-community relations and reduce crime
The role of a chief of police is a very crucial one in the city government. The chief of police is in charge of the operations and budget of the police department and is therefore held accountable for all the successes and failures of the department. His/her main job is to ensure that the department runs smoothly and that it carries out its mission. Since the size of the department and functions vary, so do the responsibilities of the police chief. However, some responsibilities are common to all police chief jobs such as management of the staff, budgeting, and public relations. The job involves the provision of effective evaluation and supervision of his/her staff members as well as creating and supervising work schedules to ensure maximum coverage and control. If I was appointed to be the chief of police in a community with rising crime, there are a number of strategies I would employ to improve police-community relations and reduce crime. They include:
- Using evidence-based solutions
Violence between the police and the diverse people of the community has been traumatic for many. Research has shown that using community-based solutions has improved the relationship between the police and the community. Currently, it is the public officials and community leaders that are in grave need of ways to cope and change. If I was appointed the chief of police, my first step would be to ensure all public leadership is part of an initiative such as My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative. The aim of introducing this kind of initiative it to keep the streets safe for everybody. Other community-based solutions include strategies for modernizing policing and promoting data-driven decision-making. The most effective way to improve police-community relations and reduce crime is to assist the police in improving trust. Complementing police initiatives with such kinds of strategies helps children and youth to reduce violent behavior and getting directly involved making a change in their society (Simms par. 1).
- Changing patrol strategies.
This is a strategy that has been applied in several cities in the United States. Adopting a new patrolling strategy that is focused on improving the relationship between the police and residents is a great way to reduce crime. Crime is a complicated issue that involves more than throwing a couple of officers at it. Therefore, a police chief should always make adjustments in their patrolling strategies in order to continue to improve the police service to the society. A typical example of where this strategy was applied is the Metropolitan Police Department. It focuses on cultivating a good relationship between the police and the members of the community. The new strategy divides each of the seven police districts into three sections. The twenty-one sectors are each lead by a police chief. This approach allows the police officers to focus on smaller areas and this builds a connection in the neighborhoods they patrol. The feedback from this system was positive, therefore, the strategy should be employed in all parts of the country.
- Focusing on violence-prevention
Sometimes community policing programs are not always effective in reducing crime. However, they have been found to improve citizen satisfaction and police legitimacy. In fact, when community engagement strategies are incorporated into the community policing initiatives, it provides an important input that helps the police to concentrate on problem-oriented policing and hotspot policing which are very effective when it comes to crime reduction. Creating a close relationship with members of the community helps the police collect information about a crime. It also helps them to understand the nature of the problems the community members are facing and how they can solve the specific crimes (Braga par. 11). The general idea of community policing is to engage residents so that they can have more control of over situations and the dynamics that may lead to their potential victimization. Prevention of crimes by addressing violence-producing situations reduces the risk of becoming a victim as well as harm to potential offenders.
- Incorporate strategies for effective communication
Trust is built through effective communication. A great way of improving police-community relations would be to encourage proactive listening for not only the police but also the community members. It is important for people to listen with the aim of learning and understanding and not to challenge or persuade. The communication between the police and community members should be open and frequent for any strategy employed to work. Additionally, it is important to allow communities affected by any police misconduct to vent. This is one way to build trust and persuade community members to work with law enforcement to ensure there is public safety. It is crucial to find strategies that initiate a national dialogue about police-community relations and reduction of crime. A dialogue that should involve every single citizen so that it is effective. All those involved should have both formal and informal means of communication. As a chief of police, it would be my priority to ensure there are sufficient platforms to improve the communication between the police and the community. The police and the society should be invested in both the process and the results of the strategies, each of them having clearly outlined roles and responsibilities. The shared vision for public safety should motivate people to have mutual respect, understanding, and trust.
Focusing on community policing encourages and supports organized strategies to address the causes of violent crimes and reduces the fear of crimes. This is possible due to employing crime-prevention tactics and community policing strategies. The degree of cooperation from the public is what determines the success of these strategies. The police, on the other hand, should always maintain a relationship with the public. I believe that most people are of good will and if we share common values, beliefs, and goals then it will be easier to achieve our objectives. Police-community relations provide worth in social value and a more informed citizenry. The police get an opportunity to learn about the citizens’ concerns and at the same time citizen also get to learn about law enforcement. An informed citizenry improves cooperation and understanding between the community and the police. This has been proven to effectively reduce crime rates. Since the department maintains a twenty-four hour day presence on the streets, purchase expensive equipment. It is the job of the chief of police to allocate funds for all these activities as well as other competing prioritize. This is a process that requires vision, planning and strong communication skills.
Braga, Anthony. Better Policing Can Improve Legitimacy and Reduce Mass Incarceration. 10 March 2016. document. 17 April 2018.
Simms, Margaret. Using evidence-based solutions to improve police-community relations and reduce violence. 1 August 2016. article. 17 April 2018.