Resources for Building Sustainable Community Trust

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.  

It is for these reasons, and in light of recent events that have shone a spotlight on law enforcement agencies, officers, and the tactics and equipment that are employed to protect our communities, that the IACP held a National Policy Summit on Community-Police Relations: Creating a Culture of Cohesion/Collaboration.

The summit brought together a wide range of law enforcement officials, community leaders, academic researchers, and policy experts from around the United States and the world to discuss the myriad of issues and concerns which shape and impact the relationship between police departments and the communities they serve. A number of issues and recommendations were raised during these discussions, and the IACP will shortly be issuing a report on the Summit deliberation.  In addition, guidance on specific recommendations of the summit will be released over the next several months.  

This guidance will include ways to improve, strengthen, and rebuild communication and transparency within the community. It will also help provide direction on how to identify and implement ways to measure success in community-police relationships.  

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. 

RESOURCES

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 Guidance is designed to help aid in the development of trusting relationships by bringing together local law enforcement leaders, U.S. Attorney’s Offices, fusion centers, and community representatives. 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. The final section of the document addresses the critical relationship of the law enforcement leader and the governing body of the jurisdiction in trust-building and effective Internal Affairs practices.  

Crowd Management and Control Model Policy: The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for managing crowds and preserving the peace during demonstrations and civil disturbances.

Crowd Management and Control Concepts and Issues Paper: This paper is designed to accompany the Model Policy on Crowd Management and Control (formerly titled Civil Disturbances). This paper provides essential background material and supporting documentation to provide greater understanding of the developmental philosophy and implementation requirements for the model policy. This material will be of value to law enforcement executives in their efforts to tailor the model to the requirements and circumstances of their communities and their law enforcement agencies.

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. 

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: Pursuits have unintended consequences to bystanders and the community.  Law enforcement is continually evolving practices and policies to keep the officers and community safe. 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. 

POLICE CHIEF MAGAZINE ARTICLES

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

The International Association of Chiefs of Police: IACP Homepage