Law Enforcement Can Transform Itself by Turning to a Risk-Based Policing Model
Watching the protests across the country over the last few months, the two groups, the Citizens and the Police, as polarized as the US Congress, I think, we can do BETTER than this. We can make police officers RISK OFFICERS for their communities.
The current stereotypes of police with military-style weapons and protective gear, is counterproductive, just like the stereotype of poor, uneducated, violent, drug-using citizens is also counterproductive to progress.
Most departments are still working with the historical model of law enforcement that is still followed religiously around the country, even though it is over 100 years old. This model is totally ” Enforcement ” oriented. Something bad happens, police go find the perpetrator and arrest them.
At the same time, cities and counties are having a hard time enlisting new officers, in fact, in Police Chief Magazine in the December 2014 issue, they point out that 80% of departments are having major recruitment problems. Young men don’t want to become ‘traditional’ police officers. The role needs to change.
The model of law enforcement is at a point when it needs to change, and to evolve into a risk-based, crime-preventive model, instead of a total arrest and subdue model.
The benefit would be a different kind of police force, one that is more educated, more tech-savvy, and problem solving, and focused heavy on prevention.
Instead of educating police officers on some goofy model of how to talk to people, they need to get educated on threat-risk techniques. They need to be able to go to a neighborhood, pro-actively and come up with a risk assessment for that neighborhood, followed by a plan to improve the lives of the people who live
there. Just like we use interviews and surveys for our high-tech risk assessments, these officers could do the same thing.
Police officers today perform only a narrow range of activities. This great group of ethical professional officers COULD DO SO MUCH MORE.
In the next article, we’ll include suggestions on how to make the change.