America must not become desensitized to the scourge of violence traumatizing communities. Each human life is sacred and deserving of dignity, liberty, and security. America must protect and serve each and every person.
Understanding and implementing collaborative policing is critical to countering America’s culture of violence and securing the nation.
Below is a partial list of the violence gripping the nation over the last few years. It paints a disturbing picture of the lack of sanctuary anywhere.
June 11, 2014: A Roman Catholic priest is shot to death and another critically wounded in an attack at a Phoenix church. The killer was apprehended and charged with first-degree murder, burglary, and armed robbery, among other charges.
June 8, 2014: Two on-duty Las Vegas police officers are killed in cold blood while sitting in a pizza shop on their lunch break. Another man was also shot to death while trying to stop the carnage. According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, 63 officers have died on the job in 2014—a rise of 40 percent from last year. In Chicago, published reports on the same day (June 8) stated over 30 people were shot over the weekend, four of them fatally.
April 2, 2014: A shooting at Fort Hood leaves four people dead—including the gunman—and 16 others injured.
Feb. 5, 2013: Shirley Chambers, a mother living in Chicago, loses her fourth child to gun violence. Her first was killed in the 1990s and two others were shot to death just months apart in 2000. In a March 9, 2009, publication, 508 Chicago school children were shot from September 2007 to the end of December 2008.
Dec. 14, 2012: A 20-year-old kills 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and 6 adult teachers and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Oct. 12, 2011: Eight people are shot to death at a beauty salon in Seal Beach, a small Southern California town. It is the deadliest mass shooting in Orange County history.
April 4, 2009: While a group of immigrants are taking a citizenship class, in Binghamton, N.Y., a gunman opens fire and kills 13 of them before committing suicide. The police chief stated that these were just people trying to better themselves and become citizens.
In order to respond to America’s culture of violence, properly understanding and implementing collaborative policing—an evolution of community policing widely used especially in the 1990s—is more critical then ever.
The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) defines community policing as follows:
“Community policing focuses on crime and social disorder through the delivery of police services that includes aspects of traditional law enforcement, as well as prevention, problem-solving, community engagement, and partnerships. … Community policing requires police and citizens to join together as partners in the course of both identifying and effectively addressing these issues.”
Collaborative policing is a much deeper form of community policing, as recently stated by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton during a June 2014 interview with COPS. Bratton stated that collaborative policing is a natural outgrowth of community policing with more of a focus on inclusions, transparency, and bridge building.
There are many outstanding and desperately needed community cohesiveness-building programs essential to collaborative policing. They must cultivate leadership, trust, and vigilance within every facet of our communities and include:
- Faith-based partnership building
- Cross-cultural partnership enhancement
- Student educational initiatives at schools and campuses
- Ongoing leadership/ethics certification programs for police personnel
- Citizen/business/interdepartmental/interagency initiatives
- Law enforcement/private security conferences and summits
- Citizen police advisers and subject matter experts
- Neighborhood revitalization initiatives
- Precinct/department certification initiatives
- School, workplace, domestic violence prevention programs
- Gang/terrorism prevention initiatives
America must be reawakened and we must be transformed from our culture of violence. The bonding between the police and the people through the collaborative policing philosophy is a critical first step in the right direction.
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com