Thursday, January 29, 2015

International Association of Chiefs of Police Convene a National Policy Summit on Community-Police Relations

When distressed communities are asked what improvements they would like to see in the neighborhood, residents often voice public safety as a necessary factor to strengthening their communities, which at times requires working with law enforcement. In order for communities and law enforcement to come together to create a safe environment, building a strong relationship between community members and police is essential. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recently convened at a summit and released a report, the “IACP National Policy Summit on Community-Police Relations.” The IACP is an association of law enforcement executives with over 23,000 members in 100 countries. “The IACP’s mission is to advance professional police services; promote enhanced administrative, technical, and operational police practices; and foster cooperation and the exchange of information and experience among police leaders and police organizations of recognized professional and technical standing throughout the world.”

The report provides an overview acknowledging the complexities within each community, assesses current police challenges, and provides recommendations. As law enforcement takes an evidence-based practice approach to including community members, key takeaways from the report include:

  • Police are often working with diverse populations, which requires proper training in implicit bias, the “predilections held by all that operate largely outside of one’s awareness,” in order to establish trust with community members. 
  • The police department should be more transparent in releasing statistics, arrest information, and other data whether it paints them in a negative or positive light. This can include communicating with the community through media as well as through relationships with community members.
  • Chiefs of Police need to engage key community leaders and build a culture of collaboration in the strategic planning process to address neighborhood safety. Create a shared definition of roles, responsibilities and priorities
  • Citizen surveys should allow for honest feedback to hold police accountable. Police should incorporate the feedback into their practice.
  • Allow the community to see police people as community members, who live, work, and have a stake in the community.

The recommendations from the report are not only a guide to police and community relations, but also are a guide to building community. Because resident engagement is an integral piece to creating strong communities, CSSP’s Building Neighborhood Capacity Program (BNCP) provides resources for resident engagement within the tools and templates section of the website.

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