Research in Brief: Leveraging Foot Patrol to Strengthen Community-Police Relations

In 2016, the Police Foundation examined how five U.S. law enforcement agencies have returned to a policing tradition—foot patrol—to engage and build relationships with their communities. The study highlights the positive interactions occurring between foot patrol officers and community members, even in some of the most challenging communities. Drawn from interviews with supervisors, foot patrol officers, and community members, the study’s findings suggest that foot patrols facilitate relationship building between the agency and the community and enhance the enforcement and problem-solving capabilities of law enforcement. Combined with other scientific evidence that suggests law enforcement can reduce serious crime by using foot patrols, it may be time to “go back to the future” with foot patrols, particularly in high-risk areas.

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