In this article, we will discuss a few innovative policing techniques that can ease the tension between communities that suffer from high crime and the lack of trust of police officers. First, I must say policing is so much more than arresting and punishing violent offenders. Policing is establishing a connection with each person regardless of the community, how prominent, or impoverished. About eight years ago I challenged myself as an officer, to build more positive, reciprocal relationships between myself and members of the community I served. My job was to do this effectively, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, poverty level, religious affiliation, or socio-economic category. I made a conscious decision to be the example of what a police officer should be.
As I researched the beginning of where “community policing” began, I found that Sir Robert Peel was the mind behind the beginning of Modern Law enforcement in 1829 by founding the Metropolitan London Police force (Lewis, 2011). According to Nazemi (2009), Sir Robert Peel, while being classified the father of the modern law enforcement, he also set the foundation for the innovative “Peelian Principles” which consist of nine principles that are still used today. Two out of the nine principles that can assist the police in a reconnection with the community are Peelian Principle 3 and Peelian Principle 7. When I reviewed the keywords within the makeup of these two principles, they are specifically speaking of securing co-operation, building relationships, taking interest in the welfare of the community and respecting the public. Listed below are the two principles:
Peelian Principle 3 – “Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.”
Peelian Principle 7- “To always maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
To give life to these two principles, police officers can immerse themselves in the community by attending local community days, church services on and off duty, and sporting events that you can connect with the youth in the community. Good and healthy relationships are fundamental to the positive renewing of the community. According to Bartfield (2017), “Visibility in a neighborhood without building relationships with the citizens in those neighborhoods looks a lot more like an occupying force than an approachable problem solver to the people.” Bartfield goes on to say stop and think from another perspective of how it must look for a police officer to be in a neighborhood and not build relationships.
In conclusion, building positive relationships with police is what the community needs to grow. As a society, some of us choose not to follow the innovative foundation that has already been set in place. The foundation has been set by Sir Robert Peel so let’s build on that foundation with a few of the ideas presented above. I would like to believe that the fruits of your labor will replenish the community. However, you may or may not see the reaping what you sowed; it may be the next police officer, teacher, or any service worker.
Lewis, M.A. (2011, December 1), Perspective Peel’s Legacy.Retrieved from http://leb.fbi.gov/2011/december/perspective-peels-legacy.
Nazemi, S. (2017, February 1), Sir Robert Peel’s Nine Principals of Policing. Retrieved from http://lacp.org/2009-Articles-Main/062609-Peels9Principals-SandyNazemi.htm
Bartfield, T. (2017, February 17), Peelian principles of policing: How to get the public on your side. Retrieved from https://www.policeone.com/community-policing/articles/289620006-Peelian-principles-of-policing-How-to-get-the-public-on-your-side/
E. D. Poyner is the CEO and Co-founder of a small non-profit that deals with the service professionals social and emotional health. Eric has been a police officer for 19-years and is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2016 by Eric Detron Poyner.