It’s no secret that police-community relations have reached a catastrophic intensity as of late. Back in January 2015, The U.S. Conference of Mayors convened in Washington, D.C. to discuss the outcomes of the distrust between officers and minority citizens. The report on community policing addresses many of the issues, as well as some possible solutions the problem at hand.
Some of the recommendations mentioned in the report include:
1. Officers should spend more time getting to know the community they patrol.
Police officers need to interact on a daily basis with the community to develop credibility and establish an on-going dialogue with residents, including those with whom they may disagree, to help keep incidents from becoming crises.
2. Police departments need to reduce the fear and prejudice some residents have toward cooperating with the police.
Given the history of tension, police should be particularly sensitive to treating members of minority communities with dignity and respect. If people feel disrespected in their encounters with officers, the experience will leave a long-lasting negative impact that will be shared with family and friends.
3. Independent investigations should occur whenever an officer kills someone.
Recent events have heightened the importance of conducting independent, transparent, and thorough investigations so that, when an incident involving a police officer occurs, the affected community and the public are confident that all of the facts will be examined and a just decision made.
To learn more about how communities are improving police-community relations, take a look at some of the ICMA Knowledge Network articles I’ve compiled:
- Explore police-community relations and get a preview summary of “Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter: Racial Disparity and a Review of Police-Community Relations,” a though-provoking article by ICMA Fellow Sarah Hazel and Ron Carlee, City Manager of Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Read about how improved methods of training new generations of officers can help resolve the problem at its roots by doing away with antiquated safety techniques.
- Discover 3 ways to improve police-community relations by supporting your police department and serving as an advocate to your community.
How is your community striving to improve relations with your local police? Share your stories below.
Knowledge Network Intern