A Vision For Our Nation’s Police

In my book I have a section about my vision for police in America. The biblical admonition “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18; KJV) is as appropriate for today’s world as it was thousands of years ago when it was first written.

“While American police departments are strongly tied to their past, there has, nevertheless, been growth and improvement in the color, gender, and education of American police officers.  But what has been slow to improve are the organizations in which they work.

FIRST VISION: COLLABORATIVE ORGANIZATIONS

“My vision is for a less-hierarchical and more collaborative police organizational structure that is able to implement the good ideas that rank and file people have concerning how the organization can be improved.  Hierarchical organizations are not very good at listening to or implementing the ideas of those who work within it.

SECOND VISION: COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS

“The future of our great democracy rests on how well local police departments in multi-cultural urban areas develop and sustain close, intimate relationship between police officers and those whom they police.  This means that police officers of the future will, in effect, have to be effective community organizers.  Fortunately, the community policing and problem-solving policing efforts of the past two decades may well have begun to imprint this close style of policing in many American cities.

THIRD VISION: ACADEMIC AFFILIATIONS

“While I have constantly referred to the ‘barriers”’of high quality professional policing being anti-intellectual attitudes, violence, corruption, and discourtesy, it appears that they are no longer the dominant personal and organization characteristics I encountered when I first joined the ranks of the police.  There have been improvements. Nevertheless, strong ties with universities, proper training and management of the use of force, impeccable ethical standards, and a high commitment to civil behavior at all times will bring police to an ever higher level of public trust; a trust that is absolutely necessary for them to do their job effectively and fairly in a democracy such as ours. Nevertheless, today’s police organization needs to develop a more formal, on-going relationship with local colleges and universities. What I experienced as a young police officer working the street and attending the university was just a taste of what the future of American policing could be.

“This is the future I have always believed police needed to be and to do. The changes needed to bring about this future are still necessary today. Yes, police have been slow to improve. But improve they can. But to do so will take long-term commitment and leadership on the part of police leaders and citizens.”