What Needs to Be Done

     I stumbled across an article from 2005 from sociology, my old field of study. At least one sociologist confirms most of the things I have written in my new book. Read this about whether police can be improved from Prof. Ronald Weitzer of George Washington University:

“Any reform will remain meaningless if not backed up with sufficient resources and a firm commitment from departmental leadership. Moreover, for reforms to ‘stick,’ they must become part of the organizational culture. Increasing the percentage of minority officers in a department from, say, 10 percent to 25 percent is unlikely to have any effect on the police subculture. Increasing their presence to 50 percent or more may be more consequential. Community policing programs that are marginalized and piecemeal will have few positive results, but when they guide the philosophy and practice of the entire department, a community orientation seems to improve matters significantly. When top police officials wholeheartedly embrace the changes and convey their importance to patrol officers, reforms stand a better chance of being incorporated into the police culture, of truly improving police practice, and of increasing popular confidence in the police department.”  To see the entire article click HERE.

Yep, that’s it.

  • Reforms need to become internalized into the police culture.
  • Community policing needs to be the philosophy and practice of the ENTIRE department — not marginalized or piecemeal.
  • Community orientation significantly matters.
  • W hen police improve, public confidence rises.
  • Leadership matters.

Weitzer is also the author of Policing Under Fire and coauthor of Race and Policing in America.

Now let’s move forward!

We know what needs to be done.

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About improvingpolice

I served over 20 years as the chief of police in Madison (WI), four years as chief of the Burnsville (MN) Police Department, and before that as a police officer in Edina (MN) and the City of Minneapolis. I hold graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and Edgewood College in Madison. I have written many articles over my years as a police leader calling for police improvement (for example, How To Rate Your Local Police, and with my wife, Sabine, Quality Policing: The Madison Experience). After retiring from the police department, I answered a call to ministry, attended seminary, and was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. At the present time, I serve a small church in North Lake (WI), east of Madison. Sabine and I have nine adult children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She is also a retired police officer and we both continue active lives.

One Response to “What Needs to Be Done”

  1. In his book Blue vs. Black, John Burris pointed out in Chapter 9, page 141, that he once believe that if you bring in more minorities and women on the force, police abuse would go down. However, as he stated on pages 141-142, he did not take into account for the police culture in which affect the behavior of female officers since they have to prove that that they belong on the force. I suppose you could say that for minority officers. There was a case of a Hispanic sergeant in Arizona who place a reporter under arrest because for failure to obey a police officer and intefering with a police officer. You think that a minority officer like that would have more respect for the US Constitution and freedom of the press. I hagte to see the day that women and minority police officers have the same contempt for the US Constittuion and the Bill of Rights.

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