Improving Police-Community Relations Through Transparency and Accountability
Recent highly publicized police shootings and use of force incidents, and the resulting civil unrest, has both community and police leadership questioning past practices and searching for solutions. Issues of mistrust and conflict within many communities have a long been an issue in law enforcement.
Terrence M. Cunningham, Executive Director, The International Association of Chiefs of Police stated:
“There have been times when law enforcement officers, because of the laws enacted by federal, state, and local governments, have been the face of oppression for far too many of our fellow citizens. In the past, the laws adopted by our society have required police officers to perform many unpalatable tasks, such as ensuring legalized discrimination or even denying the basic rights of citizenship to many of our fellow Americans. While this is no longer the case, this dark side of our shared history has created a multi-generational — almost inherited — mistrust between many communities of color and their law enforcement agencies. Many officers who do not share this common heritage often struggle to comprehend the reasons behind this historic mistrust. As a result, they are often unable to bridge this gap and connect with some segments of their communities…”
While the number of police officers who are guilty of misconduct, excessive force, and abuse of power is relatively small; the impact of their actions is significant and often devastating to neighborhoods, community quality of life, municipal finances, and public service careers. It is clear that better strategies, tactics and tools are needed to improve police – community relations and enhance public trust.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors Report on Police Reform and Racial Justice stated:
“True police reform will not come about through improved policies and training alone. We must ensure that police fulfill their commitments to protect the residents they serve and that police build trust and legitimacy through transparency…”.
“A strong relationship between police and the communities they serve depends on transparency and accountability.”.
The responsibility rests with community and police leadership
John A. “Jack” Calhoun in a November 20, 2016, National League of Cities article wrote:
“Municipal leaders choose what kind of policing they provide their constituents. In recent years, more have been choosing to place greater emphasis on police-community partnerships and co-production of safety, which necessitates a strong focus on equity, transparency, accountability, shared information, and police officer training.”
Information should be easily accessible to the community. The Presidential Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended that “to embrace a culture of transparency, law enforcement agencies should make all department policies available for public review and regularly post on the department’s website information about stops, summonses, arrests, reported crime, and other law enforcement data, aggregated by demographics.”.
Police agencies are dynamic organizations that collect and store an overwhelming amount of data. Gathering, formatting, and communicating data to the public in an understandable format, and converting data into actionable intelligence that allows leadership to establish internal compliance by creating a culture of accountability, is a near impossible task. As the chief of a small police agency stated “it takes a research project” to locate data, correlate it, and report on issues of community interest and importance.
A consistent concern of many chiefs is that information, key documents, and vital performance indicators are not available in a timely fashion, often “fall through the cracks” and are lost in an ever-growing sea of data and daily demands.
At Arx our mission is to make our communities safer and better places to live. We do this by helping police agencies enhance accountability, ensure policy compliance, create transparency, and restore the positive image of policing.
The Arx Solutions
To improve your community’s perception of their police department, we have created a cloud-based software that utilizes your data to create a public facing transparency dashboard to keep your community aware of policing activity. The Arx Community transparency dashboard integrates with existing systems and is designed to provide your community with timely data in an easy to understand format.
The Arx Alert Management Awareness Platform, provides a 360-degree view of every officer, every activity, every day. Empowering agencies to enhance accountability and ensure that data vital to all aspects of police management, officer wellness, and risk reduction, is readily available, easily accessible, manageable and analyzed.
Through Arx Alert’s unique digital forms capability and integration with CAD/RMS, as well as other systems already in use, everything you need to manage your department and provide your community with excellent police service in an intelligent, proactive and transparent manner, is available all in one place.
Improve your communities’ perception of your police department through the Arx platform.
One cloud-based software system that utilizes data and transparency dashboards to help you keep you and your community informed.