Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement

Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement


The effectiveness of the police depends on the trust and confidence of the community. If civil rights of individuals or groups within a community are compromised, public trust and confidence in the police are diminished. Without trust, police become less legitimate in the eyes of the public. Compromised relations with the community result in strained relations and in less effective law enforcement.

With funding from and collaboration with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), IACP produced this guide as a comprehensive overview of the civil rights issues and challenges that face today’s law enforcement leaders.

The guide describes the processes by which agencies with alleged “pattern or practice” civil rights violations are investigated and monitored. It offers lessons learned, resources, and strategies for protecting and promoting civil rights across the varied communities’ police agencies serve.

Topics addressed include:

  • Federal “Pattern or Practice” Civil Rights Investigations and Agreements
  • The Pivotal Role of Community Policing
  • The Benefits of Early Intervention Strategies
  • Effective Management of Use of Force
  • Fair and Open Investigation of Citizen Complaints
  • Bias-free Policing
  • Personnel and Data Management Issues Related to Civil Rights

Besides the COPS Office, IACP worked with other components of the US Department of Justice in developing this guide. More information about these agencies is provided below.

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