21st Century Policing: Pillar Three - Technology and Social Media and Pillar Four - Community Policing and Crime Reduction

Save this PDF as:

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "21st Century Policing: Pillar Three - Technology and Social Media and Pillar Four - Community Policing and Crime Reduction"


1 # st Century Policing: Pillar Three - Technology and Social Media and Pillar Four - Community Policing and Crime Reduction This Training Key discusses Pillars Three and Four of the final report developed by the President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing produced a final report in May 2015 outlining recommendations and corresponding action items for law enforcement agencies, government entities, and organizations. 1 This report has major implications for law enforcement leaders at all levels, from recruits to chief executives. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is committed to assisting agency leaders in operationalizing these recommendations and providing concrete ways in which officers can bring the concepts of policing in the 21st century to life in a positive and effective way. The IACP will continue to build on the task force report and other resources currently available in order to provide specific guidance to law enforcement agencies. This Training Key will focus on the third and fourth pillars found in the task force report: Technology and Social Media and Community Policing and Crime Reduction. Each section of the Training Key contains themes and recommendations from each pillar with an explanation of what they mean for law enforcement, as well as supporting information and resources. For an overview of the task force and its final report, see Training Key #705. Pillar Three: Technology and Social Media Pillar Three of the task force report contains several recommendations and action items for the federal government as well as state, local, and tribal governing entities in the area of technology. There is also a role for state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and individual law enforcement leaders in this arena. Law enforcement technology spans a wide area and includes body-worn cameras, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and information sharing programs as well as social media and other communication tools. 2 Technology creates a number of opportunities for law enforcement as it provides new ways to serve the public and to keep officers safe. Technology also poses new threats and challenges in the form of issues such as cybercrime, online radicalization, and a lack of streamlined policy and standards. Technology Standards The implementation of appropriate technology by law enforcement agencies should be designed considering local needs and aligned with national standards. 3 Technology is ever-changing, and new developments are occurring at a more rapid pace than at any other time in history. These advances in technology can be highly beneficial to law enforcement agencies as they work to serve their communities more effectively and efficiently. It is imperative, that agencies understand not only how the various technologies work, but also their implications for policy, operations, perception, and civil rights. It is crucial that agencies think through these implications in order to avoid unintended consequences that could inhibit the effectiveness and potential of new technologies. Training Key published and copyrighted 2015, by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc., 44 Canal Center Plaza Ste 200, Alexandria, VA All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any system or transmitted in any form or by any means electrical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or other means without prior written permission of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc.

2 The IACP Technology Policy Framework outlines nine universal principles that guide technology policy in law enforcement agencies. These principles are specification of use; policies and procedures; privacy and data quality; data minimization and limitation; performance evaluation; transparency and notice; security; data retention, access, and use; and auditing and accountability. 4 All stages of technology identification, implementation, and evaluation should include officers from all levels, as well as community members. As has been discussed in previous Training Keys, officers will likely have insight as to how implementation will affect day-to-day operations and perceptions of the community. Officers who have constant contact with the community can also act as liaisons, allowing community members to voice concerns and provide feedback. Methods for garnering this type of input can include community advisory bodies; internal advisory groups; and in-person or online surveys. Involving community members in the process will not only provide valuable insight for law enforcement leaders, but also enhance transparency and accountability. It will also give community members a better idea of why decisions are made and how operations and policies work. Providing a space for these conversations and establishing mechanisms for the information to be gathered and incorporated into decision making are vital. Using Technology to Engage Law enforcement agencies should adopt model policies and best practices for technology-based community engagement that increases community trust and access. 5 Social media use has increased dramatically among the general public, as well as law enforcement agencies. While the platforms and capabilities can and do change frequently, the idea of creating and sharing content and engaging in a virtual space is common across the technology. Social media technologies include such sites as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. According to the 2015 IACP Center for Social Media survey, 96.4 percent of surveyed law enforcement agencies use social media in some way. 6 Social media can be a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies in many ways, including efforts to enhance investigative and intelligence operations. It is vital that agencies consider social media use as they would any other technology, implementing sound policies, practices, and training. Social media can be incredibly valuable in enhancing engagement. The same survey found that 83.4 percent of law enforcement agencies use social media for community engagement. 7 These technologies allow agencies to communicate quickly and broadly and to contribute to community dialogue. Some populations, including youth, may be more comfortable communicating through social media platforms. Conversations and engagement created in these spaces can be a springboard for in-person engagement. In addition, the two-way nature of social media allows for conversations that can improve transparency, accountability, and increase legitimacy. Tips for increased and improved engagement using social media tools include: Consider perspective. Your audience likely does not have a background in law enforcement, therefore, consider how they may perceive your messages. Also, share content that may be interesting to your audience. Be clear and concise. Avoid jargon, legalese, and extensive commentary. Speaking clearly and concisely will help your message be more clearly understood. Use visuals. Use photos, video, and images to create a visual experience and amplify your message. Think mobile. Many individuals access social media and the Internet via mobile devices. Consider how your content will look on these types of devices. Listen and engage. Social media provides agencies with the ability to dispel myths, share background information, and give new perspectives. That requires engagement, listening to the conversations, answering questions, and responding to comments. The IACP Center for Social Media provides additional resources for agencies looking to develop their social media presence. These resources include fact sheets, case studies, and a blog that has numerous contributors who are considered experts in the field of law enforcement and social media. 8 Pillar Four: Community Policing and Crime Reduction Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues, such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime. 9 Community policing, as a formal strategy, has been around for decades. However, the recommendations and action items in Pillar Four reveal a need to reexamine and rework community policing so that it is not just a philosophy or strategy, but an overarching and cultural foundation. 2

3 Pillar Four also looks back to the foundation set in the previous pillars. Police interventions must be implemented with strong policies and training in place, rooted in an understanding of procedural justice. 10 This is where culture plays a strong role. Community policing and all crime reduction strategies an agency employs must be viewed through the lens of transparency, accountability, legitimacy and with the view that a law enforcement agency and the officers within are a part of the community, not apart from it. Community Policing Integration Law enforcement agencies should develop and adopt policies and strategies that reinforce the importance of community engagement in managing public safety. 11 Public safety is not in the sole control of law enforcement, but requires input from all members of a community. That is why it is important for law enforcement agencies and officers to seek to contribute to the strengthening of neighborhood capacity to prevent and reduce crime through informal social control. 12 Strong, consistent engagement with community partners can help law enforcement work toward successful crime reduction and prevention. It is also important to note that engagement can and does occur at multiple levels. Officers on the street have opportunities each day to engage with individuals in the community. In addition, partnerships between the agency and other community organizations and institutions are important. All types of engagement should be considered throughout the process of developing and implementing policies and strategies. Community policing should be infused throughout the culture and organizational structure of law enforcement agencies. 13 Community policing can often be found as a distinct division or duty for an officer. By designating community policing in this way, it makes it separate from the other operations of the agency and diminishes its importance as an overarching goal or value. As society changes, it is necessary that law enforcement adapt to the new norms. One aspect of that is allowing community policing to evolve in such a way that it better serves the law enforcement agencies, officers, and communities as a whole. Culture is not an easy thing to change, and each agency will have a unique experience as it moves toward more fully integrating community policing. The task force provides several possible approaches to instilling community policing within a culture. These include basing hiring, evaluation, and promotional decisions on candidates capacity for and experience in community engagement; integrating community policing practices into training at all levels; and evaluating patrol deployment processes to allow for community engagement activities. As an agency works to change its organizational culture, it is important that leaders at all levels are included and support the process. Culture change cannot happen with buy-in from only the top executives of the agency. First-line supervisors, field training officers, and mid-level ranks must be given the proper education and resources to support the desired culture from the recruit-level through those reaching retirement. Collaborative Approaches Law enforcement agencies should engage in multidisciplinary, community team approaches for planning, implementing, and responding to crisis situations with complex causal factors. 14 Law enforcement is called to deal with a number of situations, including responding to individuals with mental illness. In order to ensure the safety of officers and individuals involved in the situation, it is necessary that law enforcement officers have the proper training, education, and resources to appropriately manage their response. Engaging partners in the health, social services, and other related fields can provide law enforcement with the expertise to find positive solutions for dealing with these complex situations. One example of this type of engagement is the use of Crisis Intervention Teams (CITs) used for responding to situations involving individuals with mental illness. The CIT model brings together individuals from different fields and provides education and training in order to create a collaborative approach to safely and effectively address the needs of persons with mental illnesses, link them to appropriate services, and divert them from the criminal justice system if appropriate. 15 Jurisdictions throughout the country, and throughout the world, have implemented various versions of the CIT model with much success. Depending on community needs and resources, the CIT model may look different, but the idea of bringing together disciplines and organizations throughout the community remains the underlying principle. Community policing emphasizes working with neighborhood residents to co-produce public safety. Law enforcement agencies should work with community residents to identify problems and collaborate on implementing solutions that produce meaningful results for the community. 16 As mentioned above, law enforcement is not solely responsible public safety in a community. Individuals within a community and law enforcement officers at all levels must be brought together to identify issues of concern that effect both the community as a whole and the subsets of the population disproportionately affected by crime. All perspectives and expertise are needed and allowing diverse voices at the table will only help advance public safety. 3

4 In President Barack Obama s speech to attendees of the IACP Annual Conference and Exposition, he stated, too often law enforcement gets scapegoated for the broader failures of our society and our criminal justice system. [ ] But we can t expect you to contain and control problems that the rest of us aren t willing to face or do anything about -- problems ranging from substandard education to a shortage of jobs and opportunity, an absence of drug treatment programs, and laws that result in it being easier in too many neighborhoods for a young person to purchase a gun than a book. 17 The issues facing law enforcement and society today are too complex for any single agency to face on its own. That is why working with the community to identify issues, underlying causes, and comprehensive solutions is the only way to successfully reduce crime in today s society. Youth Communities should adopt policies and programs that address the needs of children and youth most at risk for crime or violence and reduce aggressive law enforcement tactics that stigmatize youth and marginalize their participation in schools and communities. 18 Children and youth are an incredibly valuable part of the community. This population segment may also present challenges to officers as their developmental stage, behaviors, and needs require different strategies and tactics for positive outcomes. The IACP has outlined 10 strategies to improve law enforcement officers interactions with youth. 1. Approach youth with a calm demeanor, conveying that you are there to help them. 2. Establish rapport. 3. Be patient. 4. Model the respect you expect in return. 5. Use age-appropriate language. 6. Repeat or paraphrase their statements and affirm their emotions. 7. Take caution with nonverbal communication. 8. Model and praise calm confidence. 9. Empower them through choices. 10. Serve as a positive adult role model. 19 There are number of opportunities for law enforcement to engage with youth, especially those at risk for crime or violence, in positive ways. The IACP Youth Focused Policing Resource Center houses a database of programs that have been successfully implemented by agencies around the country. The IACP Youth Focused Policing Resource Center has also created evaluation criteria and provides sample impact evaluation plans as well as evaluations templates that agencies can utilize in order to determine the effectiveness of the youth programs. 20 In addition, law enforcement officers may come in contact with youth in the course of enforcement operations with adults. The IACP has developed resources to assist officers in safeguarding the physical and emotional well-being of children of arrested parents. These youth are extremely vulnerable and at risk and their experience with law enforcement may have lasting effects. 21 Communities need to affirm and recognize the voices of youth in community decision making, facilitate youth-led research and problem solving, and develop and fund youth leadership training and life skills through positive youth/police collaboration and interactions. 22 As with many of the complex issues that law enforcement faces, youth engagement in the community is not the task of a single agency or organization. A collaborative approach may include organizations specializing in education, social services, public health, and child development, as well as local businesses and religious institutions. No single organization has the resources or subject matter expertise to develop the comprehensive programming necessary for youth to develop and succeed. Law enforcement agencies and officers should also engage youth in their other non-enforcement and community-based activities. Youth have a unique perspective and may have much to offer in the planning and implementation of various policies and programs. Giving youth the opportunity to engage with law enforcement in this way establishes relationships that will last throughout their lives and combats the negative perceptions they may have otherwise created. The IACP Youth Focused Policing Resource Center, mentioned above, serves as a resource to law enforcement agencies looking for ideas on how better to engage the youth in the community. The resources, database of programs, and evaluation system, can be incredibly valuable as agencies assess their own programs and policies and seek new ways to engage youth in a positive manner. Conclusion The task force report recommendations and action items touch on all aspects of modern policing and require a reexamination of agency and officer efforts. While many of the recommendations may seem on the surface to pertain only to law enforcement executives, leaders and officers at all levels have a vital role to play in considering, evaluating, and implementing the best practices and policies that serve their communities in the most positive way. The IACP and other organizations are working hard to support agencies and officers as they move forward with understanding and implementing these recommendations. 4

5 More specific guidance for understanding and operationalizing the task force recommendations can be found in the following Training Keys. Training Key #705 Overview Training Key #706 Pillar One - Building Trust and Legitimacy and Pillar Two - Policy and Oversight Training Key #708 Pillar Five - Training and Education and Pillar Six - Officer Safety and Wellness Acknowledgment This Training Key was developed by Rebecca M. Stickley as part of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Institute for Community-Police Relations. Endnotes 1 The President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Final Report of the President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, May 2015). 2 The IACP Law Enforcement Policy Center has model policies and concepts and issues papers on several of these topics. These documents are available exclusively to IACP members and IACP Net customers. For more information, please visit 3 The President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Final Report of the President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, IACP Technology Policy Framework (Alexandria, VA: IACP, January ), 20Policy%20Framework%20January%202014%20Final.pdf. 5 The President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Final Report of the President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, IACP 2015 Social Media Survey Results, vey%20results.pdf. 7 Ibid. 8 IACP Center for Social Media, 9 Mathew Scheider, Community Policing Nugget, Community Policing Dispatch 1, no. 1 (January 2008), 10 President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Amy C. Watson and Anjali Fulambarker, The Crisis Intervention Team Model of Police Response to Mental Health Crises: A Primer for Mental Health Practitioners, abstract, Best Practices in Mental Health 8, no. 2 (December 2012): 71, 16 President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, U.S. President Barack Obama s address to the 122nd IACP Annual Conference and Exposition, October 27, 2015, 18 President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, The Effects of Adolescent Development on Policing (Alexandria, VA: I A C P ). escentdevelopmentonpolicing.pdf 20 IACP Youth Focused Policing Resource Center Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents President s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, 49 5

6 questions The following questions are based on material in this Training Key. Select the one best answer for each question. 1. When considering and implementing new technology what must be considered? (a) Data quality (b) Data retention (c) Data minimization (d) All of the above 2. Integrating community policing into agency culture requires the buy-in of leaders at all levels of the organization. What are some strategies for helping to move the culture in this direction? (a) Basing hiring, evaluation, and promotional decisions on candidates capacity for and experience in community engagement (b) Integrating community policing practices into training at all levels (c) Evaluating patrol deployment processes to allow for community engagement activities (d) All of the above 3. Strategies for officers to positively engage with youth include (a) modeling and praising calm confidence. (b) reaffirming their emotions. (c) empowering them through choices. (d) all of the above. answers 1. (d) 2. (d) 3. (d)