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Law enforcement agencies have been forced to rethink many of the policing strategies that have been used in the past. Over the past few years, incidents that involved deadly force have called into question many of the protocols agencies have had in place for many years. The cases of George Floyd and Michael Brown have sparked the debate that profiling and racism are still very much a part of how police agencies work.
In most situations, it stands to reason that non-compliance in any form will cause issues, no matter what the person’s race. These cases and many others like them have prompted law enforcement leaders and community leaders to join together to find ways that these issues can be avoided. With new threats and potential challenges being presented every day, new policing trends are being looked at to help resolve these issues.
Developing a List of Potential Strategies
Police agencies have been developing a list of potential strategies that will allow them to be more effective. With the use of predictive policing systems and private/public partnerships, many agencies across the United States are working to rebuild positive relationships with the public based on trust and transparency. By improving these relationships, law enforcement leaders are hoping to be more effective in terms of preventing crime and improving public safety across the board.
Community Oriented Policing
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services was established in 1994 by the Department of Justice. Public safety depends on police departments and the communities they serve to work together to maintain a positive relationship. When both sides have mutual respect and trust for one another, law enforcement officers are better able to perform their duties more effectively.
Community policing strategies rely on the public’s cooperation when trying to maintain a safe and healthy neighborhood environment. When police departments allow communities to be more involved in their policing efforts, the overall perception of the police improves.
Implementing the Latest Technology and Equipment
Technology has made it much easier to maintain public safety. Police officers are able to use many different tools that allow them to be both proactive and transparent. Social media gives police departments a chance to engage the public and keep them informed about things that are happening within the community.
Body and dash cameras are used to provide accurate documentation of events as they occur in real-time. When these cameras are used, the actions of the police officer and the suspect are both documented so they can be analyzed later. Technological advancements such as predictive policing and GPS tracking devices are extremely effective when it comes to helping police keep track of suspects and determining their actions in the future.
Putting Officer Health and Wellness First
The tough guy image that most of us have when it comes to police officers is a facade. They go through extensive training to make themselves appear as detached and emotionless as possible. Even though their exterior may be stoic and impassive, they harbor the same fears and feelings as the rest of us. It is essential that police officers put their health and wellness as a top priority.
Internalizing all of the stress and pressure they face on a daily basis can lead to serious chronic health issues, both mental and physical. Poor health can lead to an inability to focus fully on their duties. This puts both the officer and the public at risk. Officers should be allowed to take time off to regain their mental and physical balance as needed.
Expanding Opportunities for All LEOs, Including Women and Minorities
Law enforcement has made steady improvements when it comes to hiring women and minorities. In today’s world, equality is a must across the board, with every officer having the same opportunity for advancement in spite of gender, race, or culture. Utilizing each officer’s skills to their best advantage is what is most important.
Improve the Ability to Address Cyber Crime
Reports of cyber crime have continued to escalate over the past few years. Being able to address these issues is essential when it comes to protecting the public and securing confidential information. Cyber crimes that involve identity theft can be costly for all involved and damage a person’s reputation and credibility.
Cyber bullying and stalking are also major issues with real-life repercussions. While it is more difficult to deal with than traditional forms of harassment, technological advancements allow officers to take control of potentially dangerous situations and bring them to a conclusion without anyone being harmed.
Ensure Police Accountability
Accountability within a law enforcement agency is more of a priority than ever before. Officers have had to find a way to be accountable without compromising public safety or privacy. The use of body cams, dash cams, and dispatch records are key elements involved in transparency. It’s inevitable that mistakes will sometimes be made. The use of video and audio documentation helps to tell the true story of each event in real-time. Maintaining accountability and trust reinforces the relationship between the public and law enforcement officers.
New Perspectives in Leadership
The authoritative leadership style of the past is slowly being phased out as baby boomers continue to retire. The police leaders who are beginning to take their place are bringing along a new perspective based on inclusion and empowerment. The ability to analyze problems and resolve conflicts is balanced with the knowledge of the law and constant, effective communication with the public and community leaders. By utilizing as many technological tools as possible, both sides can come together and create a unified front against crime. If police reform is to occur, both sides have to work together.
New Recruiting and Retention Strategies
Due to recent events where police officers have had to face a backlash from the community over issues where they were forced to take action in tragic situations. The constant disrespect and unrest caused many officers to retire much earlier. Finding community members who are willing to apply to be police officers is difficult.
It’s even harder to encourage police officers to stay on the job when they no longer feel safe policing their community. They are often times more concerned about their own safety than they are about fighting criminal activity. The key to retaining and recruiting police officers who are effective is to let them know they are appreciated and as secure as possible while they are on the job.
Use of Real-Time Crime Centers
Intelligence-led policing is a key trend that many law enforcement agencies are focusing on. Real-time crime centers are part of this policing strategy. These centers can be deployed quickly and are able to provide cloud-based answers that are less expensive than the crime centers of just a few years ago. The use of advanced technology allows centers to deploy in just a few days instead of what would have taken months in the past.
Improved Situational Awareness
Situational awareness has been a major problem for police officers who are put in a position where there are many unknowns. When it comes to responding to a 9-1-1 call, many go into the situation blind. Today’s advanced technology allows the dispatcher to provide the responding officer with additional information that could possibly save their lives. Cloud-based information that is collected from public/private video, telephone tips, and IoT sensors can make officers more aware of their surroundings as they enter a potentially dangerous situation.
Bringing Everything Together
Criminal activity and crime prevention are not the only things police officers today have to be concerned with. Policing trends of the past no longer offer the security the public relies on to feel safe and secure. Now, intense scrutiny has caused a wedge to be driven between the police and the community they serve. American policing strategies of the past lacked transparency and left little room for the public to get to know the policing techniques that were being used.
Advanced technology has opened the door to productive changes in police strategies and protocols. With the introduction of body cams and dash cams, the public gained insight to both the stress of being a police officer as well as the real-life events they face on a daily basis. Artificial intelligence and the constant documentation through the use of cameras have increased accountability and transparency.
Even though police officers continue to remain as emotionless as possible, future trends in policing will continue to give the public a glimpse of what their days are actually like. By giving this window of opportunity to the public, it is hoped that they will be able to come together and work with the police to make any positive changes that may be needed when it comes to policing strategies.