New Institute to Focus on Community-Police Relations

Police-Relations

Tragedies in communities such as Ferguson, Baltimore, and Dallas have drawn national attention to the growing problems between law enforcement and the communities that they serve, particularly communities of color. In an effort to understand and address these problems, the International Association of Chiefs of Police has launched a new organization called the Institute for Community-Police Relations (ICPR).

Instruments of Change

The institute is a collaborative effort between communities, the government and law enforcement agencies. Internally, almost 25 staff members run the ICPR; led by a legal counsel, the Police Foundation vice-president and a criminal justice foundation executive.

The increasing tensions between citizens and police officers have urged Michael Jordan to speak out against recent violent confrontations in support of African-American victims of police shootings, as well as slain police officers. The basketball legend pledged to donate two million dollars to aid organizations that serve these groups, with half the sum going to the NAACP and the other half to the ICPR.

From Concept to Realization

The ICPR resulted from a December 2014 presidential task force that mobilized to find ways to reduce crime and improve relations between law enforcement and the community. The task force – led by the Office of Community Policing Services (COPS) and the Justice Department – conducted seven sessions, received 140 witnesses and poured through voluminous written testimonies. The group completed its review in May 2015, and based on the resulting findings, developed 59 recommendations and 92 actionable tasks as a guide for policing communities. Law enforcement directors and community leaders use the condensed report to help them build a connection between law officers and the communities that they serve. Additionally, the report provides clear examples as to how to apply the task force findings.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police developed a supplemental guide to assist community leaders and law enforcement executives with improving relationships with local communities. The organization reports that the law enforcement community continually revisits this issue, yet current public standing makes this topic critically relevant. IACP members reinforced this point as they alluded to the stark reminders, which exhibited that many citizens do not view law enforcement favorably following recent events.

The members also voiced that measures to improve community relations have produced positive outcomes, but that highly publicized police-community clashes have thwarted these efforts. The ICPR also reaffirmed that they must continually review and revise how they interact with the public.

Solutions for the Real World

With $250 million dollars for police officer worn body cameras and several methodologies conceived by the institute, law enforcement professionals have new tools to help improve community relations. The institute recommends that agencies revise how they police their communities and communicate frequently with key public leaders. The ICPR also suggests that police departments renew and repair their civic relationships by recruiting officers who can relate to their respective communities. To maximize effectiveness and efficiency, law enforcement leaders must analyze their community relations efforts with ongoing dialogue and data driven technology.

Increased police-community tensions require that law enforcement agencies re-examine how they interact with the public. With government funding and public support, the institute now has important tools to facilitate change.

Sources:
1. Community Police Relations Summit Report. The International Association of Chiefs of Police. January 2015. http://www.iacp.org/Portals/0/documents/pdfs/CommunityPoliceRelationsSummitReport_web.pdf. Accessed August 5, 2016.

2. Neuharth-Keusch AJ. Michael Jordan donating $2 million to help address police-related shootings. USA Today [Web Page]. July 25, 2016. Available at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2016/07/25/michael-jordan-speaks-out-recent-shootings-police-violence/87527386/. Accessed August 5, 2016.

3. President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Implementation Guide: Moving from Recommendations to Action. COPS Office: Grants and Resources for Community Policing. 2015. http://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/Implementation_Guide.pdf. Accessed August 5, 2016.

4. [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2016, from http://city-countyobserver.com/

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