Organization: U.S. Department of Justice
In light of numerous high-profile allegations of police brutality against people of color, the Task Force on 21st Century Policing was created to examine how to foster strong, collaborative relationships between local law enforcement and their communities and to make recommendations to President Obama about how policing practices can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust. The task force was given an initial 90 days to conduct seven public listening sessions across the country and receive testimony and recommendations from a wide range of community and faith leaders, law enforcement officers, academics and others to ensure recommendations would be informed by a diverse range of voices.
As a result, the task force was able to produce a set of six pillars, each addressing a specific aspect of policing and police community relations:
- Pillar One: Building Trust & Legitimacy: To achieve legitimacy, mitigating implicit bias should be a part of training at all levels of a law enforcement organization to increase awareness and ensure respectful encounters both inside the organization and with communities.
- Pillar Two: Policy & Oversight: If police are to carry out their responsibilities according to established policies, these policies must be reflective of community values and not lead to practices that result in disparate impacts on various segments of the community. They also need to be clearly articulated to the community and implemented transparently so police will have credibility with residents and the people can have faith that their guardians are always acting in their best interests.
- Pillar Three: Technology & Social Media: The use of technology can improve policing practices and build community trust and legitimacy, but its implementation must be built on a defined policy framework with its purposes and goals clearly delineated.
- Pillar Four: Community Policing & Crime Reduction: By combining a focus on intervention and prevention through problem-solving with building collaborative partnerships with schools, social services and other stakeholders, community policing not only improves public safety but also enhances social connectivity and economic strength, which increases community resilience to crime.
- Pillar Five: Training & Education: To build a police force capable of dealing with the complexity of the 21st century, it is imperative that agencies place value on both educational achievements and socialization skills.
- Pillar Six: Officer Wellness & Safety: Many issue impact and are impacted by officer wellness and safety. Officer wellness includes: physical, mental and emotional health; vehicular accidents; officer suicide; shootings and assaults; and the partnerships with social services, unions, and other organizations that can support solutions.
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