Inviting the Community into the Police Strategic Planning Process

There is a growing conversation around the issue of police legitimacy and the impact of public support, trust, and cooperation on the police’s ability to ensure public safety. Most of the research focus in this area is on officer behavior, citizen satisfaction, and police activities in neighborhoods. However, law enforcement leaders should recognize that legitimacy in policing begins at a much earlier stage than that; it begins in the strategic planning process, specifically with community inclusion in the process to assist in determining what activities the police should conduct. Inclusion of the community in a meaningful way in the strategic planning process provides an agency with an avenue for establishing, regaining, or increasing police legitimacy.