Police-Community Collaboration: America’s Public Safety Lifeline

February 18, 2016 Updated: February 18, 2016

Police-community collaboration is critical to renewing the values of America and the lifeline of public safety throughout the nation.

Over the past two years, I have addressed the criticality of positive police-community relations in my columns for the Epoch Times, and respectfully encourage a review of these articles.

Although these articles honestly address police-community controversies, they always provide solutions and accentuate the positive by encouraging a unity of effort since protecting our communities is a shared responsibility.

America must rise to the occasion with an unwavering commitment to facilitate police-community collaboration, the lifeline of public safety.

America must rise to the occasion with an unwavering commitment to facilitate police-community collaboration, the lifeline of public safety.

Our communities deserve positive police-community relations to protect our way of life, values, and democracy. Failure is not an option, as without this cohesiveness; the results are disorder, chaos, and anarchy.

Police-Community Relations Demand Reform

Police departments must be continually collaborative and this is a time for transformational reform, ignited by a proper understanding of the principles of community policing.

Community policing must not be a superficial catch-phrase but expressed through a police department’s personality and concrete initiatives in the community.

The responsibility is not incumbent on police departments alone but on all members of the community who have responsibilities of building bridges with law enforcement.

America’s Youth: The Heart of Community Policing

It has taken generations to get to where we are and America needs the youth as catalysts to renew the nation.

America’s youth will be the heart of transforming police-community relations as they are the irrefutable future of our nation.

Our youth must be the heart of community policing initiatives and we must be earn their trust and inspire their dedication to society.

A positive law enforcement presence as protective guardians is critical in our schools and communities. This presence must be manifested with initiatives including youth police academies, school resource officers, youth award assemblies, public safety expositions, police athletic leagues, police-youth mentoring, character education programs, and community action teams.

These action teams, inspired by character education programs in partnership with the police, demands sensitivity to the most vulnerable in society including the homeless, sick, unemployed, elderly, and the poor.

Police must have a heightened sensitivity that their mission to protect and serve demands earning the respect of youth. This mission demands an unwavering determination to inspiring youth through positive encounters.

There must be an enhanced dedication to youth in communities that have been wounded by police controversies as well as in neighborhoods adversely impacted by poverty, unemployment, gangs, broken families, dilapidated schools, and substance abuse.

Ferguson Police officer Greg Casem and Sergeant Dominica Fuller console a mourning child during a candlelight vigil held in honor of Jamyla Bolden in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 20, 2015. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
Ferguson Police officer Greg Casem and Sergeant Dominica Fuller console a mourning child during a candlelight vigil held in honor of Jamyla Bolden in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 20, 2015. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

There is hope for healing in our communities and police are in privileged positions as ethical protectors to enhance community relations that will be intensified by a focused concern for the young. Police have their role with assisting communities to renewal; by inspiring youth as models of character, ethics, and leadership.

Young people are impressed by authenticity, empathy, and kindness as these are qualities that will inspire them to be citizens of character.

Law Enforcement Dangers Deserve Community Support

Aside from community policing initiatives, the dangers of violence in our communities and against law enforcement officials deserve community support.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), there are over 900,000 law enforcement officers dedicated to serving communities throughout the United States.

This dedication has a painful price with over 60,000 assaults against law enforcement each year and nearly 16,000 injuries.

In 2016, eight police officers have already been killed by firearms-related incidents, a staggering 700 percent increase from this time last year.

America must appreciate these sacrifices, and all must be dedicated to protecting our communities and democracy. Our dedicated police officers are a national treasure and we must be eternally grateful for their courage, sacrifices, and service.

21st Century Policing Principles

In my article titled “Principles of American Policing” for the May 1, 2015 edition of the Epoch Times, I developed Nine Principles of American Policing to enhance dialogue, communication, and trust between police and communities.

These principles, inspired by the timeless teachings of Sir Robert Peel, father of modern policing, include the following:

  • Being pro-police and pro-community are inseparable, indefatigable, and pre-eminent. Police must at all times remain fully committed to protecting and serving the public through character, ethics, and leadership that is total and wholehearted. Police must be guided by a moral compass that honors the community, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
  • Respect must be the heart of the police and it must be unwavering for the profession, colleagues, and community. Respect can only be earned through integrity, accountability, and transparency. These qualities build trust, legitimacy, and collaboration.
  • Police require a discerning recruitment process, education credentials, and ongoing training/certifications, including constitutional policing, diversity, civil rights, race-relations, violence prevention, community policing, crisis management, ethics, leadership, gangs, private security, and use of force.

Complementing these principles is the “Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing,” also released in May 2015.

The pillars of this report include building trust and legitimacy, community policing and crime reduction, training and education, and officer wellness and safety.

The report recommends that “law enforcement culture should embrace a guardian mindset to build trust … and establish a culture of transparency and accountability.”

Final Reflections

Community policing must be infused into law enforcement agencies throughout the nation as it builds positive police-community partnerships.

When community policing is properly understood and cultivated, we are on the path to reawakening the nation by safeguarding our communities, promoting the dignity of all, and inspiring our youth, the future of America.

Vincent J. Bove
Vincent J. Bove

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

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.