Constitutional vs. community policing: Looking at complementary strategies
- Written by Amy Dinsmore
- January 25 2016
Constitutional and community policing methodologies are intertwining in today’s law enforcement agencies. As a result, document management software and similar tools that help police respond to new challenges through advanced training and policy management are becoming more valuable than ever.
The intersection of constitutional and community policing
A recent study from Police Executive Research Forum explained that establishing effective constitutional policing practices hinges on developing healthy relationships with the community.
According to the news source, the constitution should ultimately be the foundation for all police work, and finding ways to maintain constitutional policing will help build community trust. From there, officers can engage the community in more meaningful ways, both improving their reputation and getting help when needed.
A lack of trust within the community undermines police activity. Alternately, constitutional policing fuels effective relations between police and the people they serve. For example, the Police Executive Research Forum recommended a few key strategies that support constitutional policing while building community relations:
- Openness about how race issues impact policing in the community – including community forums and similar events.
- Police support for peaceful, legal protests.
- Fostering transparency and relationships between community members and police – possibly through partnerships, such as having civilian instructors get involved in training.
- Training officers in how they can interact with citizens in the most effective way possible.
The Police Executive Research Forum isn’t the only group embracing the relationship between community and constitutional policing. The Atlanta Police Department has also released materials detailing the ways that constitutional policing best practices can support community policing goals. The overarching theme of this advice is straightforward – police must work to maintain the public’s trust or risk having the relationship with citizens erode. Constitutional policing plays a vital role in maintaining this trust.
Using policy and training management to reinforce constitutional policing
Officers need regular reinforce to stay on top of constitutional policing requirements when interacting with the community. The occasional memo supported by rare training programs – perhaps at the start of one’s career and at annual seminars – won’t get the job done.
Instead, you need to have training modules in place that are constantly available to help officers brush up on best practices. Cost-efficient document management software can support this goal by housing media-rich training materials in a Web app. In the same way, policy management systems let you easily update internal regulations as community requirements change, helping your officers understand exactly what is expected of them at all times.