Since 1987, the IACP Law Enforcement Policy Center has produced documents on over 130 topics of interest to the field of law enforcement. In 2017, the Policy Center conducted a series of focus groups to gather feedback from IACP members to assess the effectiveness of the Policy Center documents. This feedback was then incorporated into the Center’s daily operations and resulted in three key changes:
- Multi-disciplinary working groups to create and update documents - The Policy Center now relies on the IACP membership to participate on a volunteer basis with its working groups to provide input on each topic under review. These multidisciplinary working groups help to ensure that the final documents outline best practices that reflect a comprehensive approach to the topic.
- Accelerated publication schedule – in 2018, the Policy Center published documents on 13 topics and is poised to exceed this in 2019! Check them out on the Policy Center webpage.
- New deliverable – The Policy Center is pleased to announce the publication of its first Considerations Document! To follow is information about this exciting new publication.
What is a Considerations Document?
Unlike a Model Policy, which provides concrete guidance on the exact steps an agency or officer should take in a specific situation, the Considerations Document is intended to present items for agencies to take into account when developing their own policies on a specific topic. This format recognizes the importance that community expectations and jurisdictional law play in policy creation and aims to present best practices to the law enforcement field without dictating exact approaches.
For example, a Model Policy offers specific language on what steps should be taken and what should be allowed or prohibited, such as: “visible tattoos, brandings, or intentional scarring are prohibited by this agency.” Whereas the new Considerations Document does not give specific recommendations, but prompts agencies to consider what should be done in their agency: “agencies should consider developing guidelines regarding tattoos, brandings, or intentional scarring.”
Model Policies will continue to be developed for select topics that have been deemed critical to the field of law enforcement. For these topics, bright-line guidance is preferred to ensure that IACP members have legally-sound, evidence-based policies available for their use. All other topics will be converted into the Considerations Document as they are updated.
The change to the Considerations Document format is in direct response to feedback from IACP members. During several focus groups, it became apparent that the needs of agencies when it comes to policy development vary greatly based on a host of factors.
How can I get more involved?
The Policy Center relies on the expertise of its membership to create timely and comprehensive guidance on a variety of topics of interest to law enforcement. If you are interested in participating in the Policy Center process, please contact us at email@example.com.