21st century policing needs current technologies
Last week I discussed the first of six pillars as part of the 21st Century Policing Model. The second pillar; “Policy & Oversight,” is directly related to the first pillar in the building of trust and legitimacy between law enforcement and the community, which it serves.
The actions of law enforcement are driven by two factors: Compliance with the law, and adherence to department policy. The actions of our law enforcement officers are reviewed and judged against these two criteria. While it is obvious that our law enforcement officers must themselves comply with the very laws they are sworn to uphold, the issue of policy adherence is not as well known throughout communities. In law enforcement, we have policies which dictate everything from how to dress, to the use of deadly force and everything in between.
The review and updating of current policies and the development of new policies consume a great deal of time, but are extremely important to maintain effective policies, which reflect the most current technologies and trends. While many of our policies are longstanding and have required little change, some have had to undergo revisions as new technologies have emerged or social trends have evolved.
One of the main considerations in this pillar is the oversight regarding policy violations. It is important for the community to know that while we internally review officers actions in regards to department policy there are times where we must remove ourselves from this process and request the review from an outside agency. This is done to guarantee an unbiased approach to the potential investigation and guarantee a just outcome for both the officer and the community.
Another consideration provided through this pillar or recommendation is the way in which we utilize the most current equipment. As in every other aspect of law enforcement, we are a reflection of the communities we serve. As our society has become ever dependant on technology, so too has law enforcement.
We use technology to create efficiencies in our every day operations, and we also use technology to keep up with the current trends in crime. In deploying these new technologies we must still hold true to our traditional obligations to the rights of individuals and expectations of our communities.
When we think of technology we typically think of computers and other electronic equipment, but the changes in technology have also affected our tactical equipment. We have seen the use of high tech weaponry being used by those perpetrating crimes, and Law Enforcement must be prepared to meet these threats effectively.
While some may think we are “militarizing” our local law enforcement, I would advocate that we are merely providing the men and women who protect us with the same technology that could potentially be used against us and the communities we serve.
Having said that, we must always strive to make sure our response to any given situation is metered and appropriate, and that we always strive to maintain our role as public servants. We must remain as approachable and integrated in our communities as we can to prevent an “Us versus Them” perception, and to foster the relationships which are so vital in effective Community Policing.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: 21st century policing needs current technologies