Communities trusting their law enforcement would be one of the most important things in having a safe community. Police must have the support of the neighborhoods they are working for them to properly serve and asset to the community.
This will probably be the single most important part of a successful neighborhood watch program. If a community does not believe in the law enforcement officers a big part of the program will not be effective. Why would anyone want to call someone for help that they do not trust? This trust factor is something that can vary quite a bit from neighborhood to neighborhood and something we should look into deeper.
Trust between the community and the police can not happen without stable leadership at the top and throughout every level and component of a law enforcement organization.
Ways of giving back to the communities for law enforcement are many. One of the most successful programs involves the interaction between the police and members of communities. In most cases, it is essential to have a face-to-face interaction for the success of the most program. There are some successful programs occurring today, which are as follows:
• Crime Prevention
Crime Prevention is one of the most effective programs that are still in existence today. The opportunities for a potential criminal to committing a crime get significantly reduced by organizing and bringing together the citizens living in a neighborhood to work together and report suspicious behavior to the police.
• Community and School Presentations
To perform demonstrations, many police departments take their K-9 department out to the community and schools. The awareness and education programs’ roles and duties even get explained as these techniques are used by the handler to train the dogs, locate suspects, bombs, and victims.
• Youth’s Engagement Program
Children are the most at-risk groups. It is when it comes to crimes committed against people. They are witness to experience violence, it has a lasting effect on them. Their interaction with the police is under these traumatic circumstances is not favorable, then they run the risk of developing a lifelong distrust from the police.
Strong relationships of mutual Trust between police agencies and the communities they serve critical to maintaining public safety to make effective policy. Police rely on the cooperation of community members to provide information about crime in their neighborhoods, and to work with the police to find solutions to crime and disorder problems.
Community members show a willingness to trust the police depends on whether they believe that police actions reflect community values and incorporate procedural justice and legitimacy principles.
In the wake of recent incidents police involve force in order to solve the issue, police legitimacy police always have been questioned in many communities. Many cities in the United States experienced large scale demonstrations and protest marches in 2020.
In some cases, there have been riots over perceptions of police misconduct and excessive use of force. Police agencies must make improving relationships with their local communities a top priority.
Neighborhoods should get used to helping police departments and their communities develop collaborative strategies for moving forward after the key issues that were identified.
Videos on Police trust and Race relationship
What happens when we don’t trust law enforcement?
Now, let’s discuss what if you don’t trust law enforcement when the force of police is not used correctly and is unfair leads to more crimes and violence. And this is what is called legal cynicism, where people don’t trust the government and law enforcement. If there is no trust for law enforcement among people, they are less likely to rely on the law to solve conflicts.
This is what makes people more likely to try to resolve disputes on their own with unlawful resolution. As we know that police target poor communities harder that others, so with this is not surprising those communities view the police not well. So let’s discuss some recommendations for developing a police-community relationship.
The use of force and other incidents can damage relationships between the police and their communities. With just a misconduct act of a single officer in one city can not only damage police-community relationships locally, but it can also gain nationwide attention and reduce the trust of the police generally. That is the reason police should never discount the negative experiences of individuals with the police.
Police should consider establishing a “duty to intervene” policies and other strategies for ensuring that if one officer engages in misconduct, additional officers will step and stop it. Also people may not trust police agencies if they don’t share internal affairs of complaint investigation systems. Still, they will believe their own eyes when they see – either in person or on a YouTube video – officers not hesitating to stop wrongdoing by their fellow officers.
Police must be visible in the community, not just to arrest people, but also to hang out and say hello. The personal interactions between police officers and community members build mutual police trust, which is essential to addressing neighborhood problems and reducing crime.
It is essential for the police to be visible in their communities and know their residents. People in the community should generally know the names of the officers who serve them, and the officers should try and know the names or faces of the people in the community, if possible.
Many people do not interact with the police outside of enforcement contexts. This can result in people developing negative associations with the police – for example, if the only contact they have ever had with police consisted of receiving a traffic citation, getting arrested or calling the police to report being the victim of a crime.
Finding opportunities to interact with community members in a non-enforcement context helps reduce bias among community members and police officers.
Do the public generally trust the police?
This question should be answered according to the police for how they treat the public in their districts? 42.5% of respondents believe that police in the city are legitimate authorities. Only a quarter believe that the police behave according to the law when dealing with people as poor people are often arrested for no good reason.
In research on poor communities, just 23.8% of respondents said that they thought that the police are honest. Only 30% of the people believe that the police are can be trusted.
Police have effectively isolated residents of these neighborhoods from their broader communities, creating meaningless distinctions based on race and income. But if cities could train police to treat people fairly, they could create a more equitable and unified community for all residents.
What is the biggest fear the community might have about the police?
Most police officers have little to no contact with the communities that they are serving. They never walk the beat and get to know the neighborhood on a personal level. The main fear that the public has of the police is that they are able to get away with almost anything they choose to get away with.
The laws can often to the point where anyone can get locked up for pretty much anything. It is almost impossible to just drive a car down the street knowing that for no reason at all, the police could find something to pull you over for. When citizens believe that someone has this kind of power over them, it is going to automatically create a fear of the people in charge.
No one wants to go to jail, especially if you feel it is easy for you to get setup for something you did not do. Racism has also always been a big problem in our society, so anytime a officer or anyone gives us a hard time of a different race we first think of racism. It is true when we see a person their race is the first thing that jumps out at us, and we bring with us these preconceived ideas of how someone of that race is, sometimes police are no different.
This is not a good thing, but we are all products of our upbringing, environment, and personal experiences. Police are coming from the same experiences and life situations as everyone else. Is this a excuse for bad behavior? no, just the true about humans.
Sometimes bad police behavior can be racist, but it can also be that maybe one or both of the cops involved might just not be a good people, and they would do the same to anyone regardless of race. But for many minorities, racism adds another legitimate reason for them to fear someone having power and control over them. In mostly minority communities, it is even more important for the police to have a good open relationship with the citizens.
Fear of Police Culture
When a police officer first start working, they feel that they can be fired for any reason at all. Most new officers are afraid to speak out against other officers, even if they do see them doing something wrong. Within their police culture, they witness cases in which the law sticks up for the police officers and the politicians, but not much for the citizens. If they want to secure their future, it’s better to stay with the side for their job and not rock the boat.
Most officers do not feel judged by their public relationships but by the amount of arrests they make, so talking to the public can be considered a waste of time in some officer’s minds.
Officers often fear how they are viewed by other officers rather than the general public. Police officers are subject to the same human behavior as everyone else; if you are in a street gang it is considered a very unpopular thing to rat out other members of your gang.
Not saying that the police are a street gang, but the same type of human behavior applies. They can find the same level of loyalty to their team as the gangs do.
In general society does look at the police as someone who should be above this type of behavior, but in some cases they’re not. Also remember when they call on the radio for backup, they are looking for these people to help maybe save their life.
When officers are trying to apprehend a person that is resisting arrest, the more the person resists the angrier the officer will generally get. This is also a very human function that officers are not immune to. If the person that the officer is trying to arrest starts to get the best of the officer, when help arrives and the officer is able to establish control of the situation again, they might take out some revenge on the person being arrested for giving him/her a hard time.
These are emotions that we all have as humans, but that we are expecting our law enforcement not to have. The public sometimes expects law enforcement officers to be emotionless robots; something that’s not realistic.
When you have a society where the majority of good people are not interested in working as a law enforcement officers, where do you find these robots for law enforcement work? The hiring process can be very tricky trying to weed out all the wrong people.
Knowing that at this time in history we can only choose from a select group of humans for police officers, it can be very challenging to make sure we are hiring the right people. That’s why complaint on police officers must be taken very serious by our elected officials. We elected them to help make our communities better, not to have the people that are supposed to be there to protect us, terrorizing us. CWP
Community Watch Paper blogs:
What should change in the communities from a ex-police officer
How a young police officer views his job