I have always believed that “policing,” like any other profession should constantly strive to improve how they operate. In the case of policing, that would include:
- Instilling a sense of safety within the community
- Protecting persons and property
- Reducing crime
- Being accountable for our actions
- Treating people fairly
- Utilizing technology to improve efficiency, and
- Updating policies and procedures as needed
In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders, Franklin Covey suggests that before beginning a project, the participants should “Begin with the End in Mind,” which means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of the desired direction and destination.
Questions concerning the recent push for operational changes within “policing:”
- Who is in charge of making / vetting the suggested changes? Who should be held accountable for the success or failure?
- Are ALL stakeholders being included in the conversation?
- What is the “end” the stakeholders have in mind?
- How do WE measure success? How difficult will it be to measure success?
- Fewer use of force incidents?
- Fewer complaints made against police officers?
- Fewer people shot and killed by officers?
- Fewer traffic stops?
- Lower crime rate?
If any of the listed success measures resonate with you, how will you determine what caused the change? Was it better training for officers, was it a change in policy and/or procedure, or was it officers being less engaged (fewer citizen contacts), etc.
Without a clear chain of command, without input from ALL stakeholders and without a clear “end in mind,” it will be difficult and/or impossible to measure success, which will result in a continuous cycle of frustration for ALL the stakeholders, i.e. citizens and police officers.