Fundamental to community policing is the concept that the police and the public co-produce public safety through trust, legitimacy, information sharing—and above all—transparency. It’s also imperative that policing keep up with the times, which means change should be the norm for departments everywhere.
Over the last 30 years, there is no question that U.S. law enforcement has demonstrated its willingness to embrace new and evolving forms of service to improve relations with the public, and that openness to change may be the profession’s strongest attribute. Besides adopting community policing to increase support among those they protect and serve, officers also stepped up to the challenge when introduced to intelligence-led policing, CompStat, and other reforms. For example, in the last 15 years, law enforcement has made itself more transparent with the use of car dash cameras; audio and video recording of interviews of criminal suspects; social media to broaden direct communications with the public; and, most recently, body-worn cameras. The dramatic escalation in the use of such technology, as well as scientific advancements in DNA analysis and ballistics tracing, has helped to eliminate gray areas; “he said, she said” disagreements; and previously unanswerable questions in countless investigations. Ensuring that police work is both unbiased and efficient has been a hallmark of today’s law enforcement.