Community-Police Relations

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No single factor has been more crucial to reducing crime levels than the partnership between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.  In order for law enforcement to be truly effective, police agencies cannot operate alone; they must have the active support and assistance of citizens and communities. High profile incidents and allegations of police misconduct may drive a wedge between law enforcement officers and the citizens they are sworn to protect.  Establishing and maintaining a safe community requires ongoing concerted effort.  This page will serve as a clearinghouse of resources to help guide law enforcement agencies as they continue to strengthen and build sustainable community relations and are confronted with difficult questions relating to the state of police-community relations. 

In addition to the resources below, visit the IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations for more information.

Messaging Resource

Community-Police Relations Messaging Sheet

Crowd Management Messaging Sheet

Model PolicIes

Crowd Management and Control



Addressing Sexual Offenses and Misconduct by Law Enforcement

This guide has been created to promote an understanding of the complexities of sexual offense and misconduct cases involving officers and to encourage the proactive adoption of policy and prevention efforts within law enforcement agencies. Leaders must demonstrate to their officers and their community a consistent, focused effort to identify and eliminate misconduct through the institutionalization of a zero tolerance position.

Building Communities of Trust: A Guidance for Community Leaders

Community leaders and local law enforcement share responsibility for addressing the prevention of crime and terrorism in their neighborhoods. This document provides recommendations, resources, and tips on how community leaders can be more proactive in working with law enforcement agencies to help keep neighborhoods safe.

Building Safer Communities: Improving Police Response to Persons with Mental Illness

Recommendations for local, state, federal, and tribal organizations that will improve the safety of community members and law enforcement officers when responding to crisis calls involving a person with mental illness. 

Building Trust Between the Police and the Citizens They Serve: An Internal Affairs Promising Practices Guide

This guide presents information on how local law enforcement agencies can be accountable to their citizens by engaging them in any number of trust-building initiatives, including citizen input for Internal Affairs determinations and discipline. Citizen involvement models range from very informal mechanisms to formalized (sometimes mandated) citizen Internal Affairs review boards. Departments are urged to create connections with their citizens in a proactive fashion to prevent the development of tenuous relationships following high-profile misconduct. 

Emerging Use of Force Issues: Balancing Public and Officer Safety

Relations with the community are often strained due to incidents of use of force.  This document examines the core use of force issues, and identifies strategies that can be employed to address these issues and build community trust.  

Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims

These documents will assist your department in the implementation of the Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims Strategy. 

IACP National Policy Summit on Community-Police Relations: Advancing a Culture of Cohesion and Community Trust Report

The report is designed to serve as a roadmap for law enforcement, communities, and stakeholders to build meaningful, sustainable, trusting, and effective working relationships. Summit participants outlined three conceptual elements of building community-police relationships. The report defines those elements—communication, partnerships, and trust—and provides recommendations for improvement in each.

Officer-Involved Shootings Investigative Protocols

Officer-involved shootings, though relatively rare when compared to the number of interactions law enforcement officers have with the public each day, tend to be high profile events that draw media coverage and sometimes citizen concern. This guide stresses the importance to have in place protocols to investigate an officer-involved shooting without prejudice and to be transparent with the community. 

Police Pursuits In An Age of Innovation and Reform

This guide analyzes data collected by the IACP and provide a review of existing studies of police pursuits, a discussion of contemporary pursuit policies, and presents a broader framework for thinking about pursuits in an age of innovation and reform. Placing the discussion of police pursuits in this current context emphasizes and acknowledges that police policy does not occur in a vacuum and must be constantly informed and re-assessed by data, information, and the demands and challenges that police face. 

Protecting Civil Rights

This comprehensive guide highlights the sanctity and importance for law enforcement to protect the civil rights of the citizens they serve.  This guide addresses protecting civil rights, sustaining community outreach and engagement, early intervention, managing complaints, managing use of force, addressing racial profiling, including personnel and data-management issues. 


The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service: Assisting Communities in Resolving Conflicts and Restoring Peace

Inviting the Community into the Police Strategic Planning Process

The Benefits of Law Enforcement Advocates within the Denver Police Department