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Police departments and security forces that serve campuses of colleges and universities face some particularly difficult community relationship challenges. The groups they serve change dramatically year after year as new students come in, current ones graduate and concerned parents show up in throngs to make sure their children will be safe on campus. These factors come together to create a situation in which law enforcement agencies must be intentional about creating transparency and openness within community relationships.

Complying with the Clery Act is the first step in this process and can lay the groundwork for more conversations. Agencies can use tools like document management software to create policies that streamline Clery Act reporting and train officers to compile reports in ways that will be useful for members of the community.

Using the Clery Act as a community relations ice breaker
The Clery Act mandates that law enforcement agencies servicing campuses publish an annual report that compiles key crime statistics and related information. The document is then to be made available for the entire academic community, and the content should focus on being a tool for students to use to inform and protect themselves. On the whole, the goal is to give students an understanding of the kinds of risks they are facing.

Making Clery Act data accessible and intuitive to navigate for members of the community lets that information serve as a conversation starter. Using these reports in this way can encourage people to engage police when they have questions and concerns.

On top of this, public reports on crime give you an opportunity to be open about how you operate as an agency. For example, you can use a section detailing instances of sexual assault on campus to remind students of how police investigate such cases and ensure them that victims rights are protected.

Conversations are the start of good relationships
Open conversations break the ice in the relationship between law enforcement and members of the community. As students, faculty, staff and parents in an academic community take in data about crime and feel secure in going to police for questions, agencies have an opportunity to create meaningful questions.

Law enforcement agencies of all types face a great deal of scrutiny from the communities they serve. Agencies that interact with academia have a mandated opportunity to open lines of communication and deepen their interactions with the people they serve. The right technology, particularly tools like policy management software, can create the culture you need to use Clery Act reports to build community relationships.

Looking for additional Clery resources?
Click here to download our compliance checklist.