The importance of Police-Community relationships can never be overstated. It doesn’t matter where you live, establishing a relationship with local law enforcement not only is essential for your personal safety, but for the safety of the entire community. Local government budgets are often stressed and unable to afford increasing the number of police officers to adequately serve the community the way they would like. This means every person needs to take an active role in supporting both the police and their neighbors.
Threats to public safety come in a wide number of forms, everything from terrorism to credit card scams. Prevention has become an integral part of policing, and this is done much easier when the police and community work together to arrive at common solutions.
Involvement Equals Awareness
Many times the specific challenges of local law enforcement are unknown to its residents. News reports often focus on the dramatic or high profile crimes of the day, but the police are serving the community in many smaller ways. Often it only takes a single phone call or talking with an officer to learn how to help police clean up the smaller crimes that occupy much of their time. Most importantly, becoming aware and engaged will develop a level of trust between police and the community they serve.
There is an adage that asks why there isn’t a cop around when you need them. For the vast majority of people, their encounters with the police are engaged in a negative context, either being given a speeding ticket or being arrested for something more serious. But the police are always available to serve the public in a number of capacities, such as coaching high school sports teams and holding community meetings to present news and information that concerns local citizens. Contacting your local police department can open doors to meeting with police in a positive context.
Recognizing Policing is a Profession
This is one of the most easily misunderstood facets of being a police officer at any level. The vast majority of police officers are committed to what they do as a lifetime pursuit. Most people know that a cop is on duty 24 hours a day, so no matter where they are on any given day, their presence is a deterrent to crime. But more importantly, police are being equipped with modern technology that requires training for proper use. Devices such as body cams are only effective if each individual officer uses them properly to document their interactions with members of the community.
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There are other factors that can be used to illustrate the importance of Police-Community relationships. These are three of the more common ones and are simple reminders of how a positive interaction benefits both the community member and the officer in their cruiser. Creating a relationship with local law enforcement is something they enthusiastically encourage, since the evidence is that such mutual cooperation decreases the amount of crime in the community, allowing police to spend more time focusing on prevention and deterrence.