The Future: Part III

future 3Future of Policing Essays: American Policing in 2022

Part III

During the next few weeks I will be publishing excerpts from twenty or more of these essays with the hope of generating some discussion on what these police leaders and academics have to say about the future of our men and women in blue.

Enjoy and please comment!

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“A basic element of community policing is integrity, without which all the other principles and procedures are void. Police must not only act with complete integrity but also be perceived as such by the community. Unfortunately, as Lord Acton in England stated, ‘power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ To see the risks of this in policing, we just have to look at the research of psychologist Philip Zimbardo in his famous experiment at Stanford University where he empowered some students to act as guards and others as prisoners, but he had to cancel the project when he found the guards abusing their power.

“Despite this risk, in my over 60 years in policing, I have known only two chiefs with adequate corruption-prevention  programs.  That  explains  why  the U.S. Department of Justice has found more than 30 departments guilty of patterns and practice (not isolated events) of civil rights abuse. Yet many chiefs would not fire an officer for making a false official statement, even though it normally involves at least two felonies—perjury and obstruction of justice. Chiefs must  understand the  need for  strong anti­corruption programs if community policing (or any policing) is to succeed.

“Recognizing and correcting the many policing myths are critical to successful implementation of community policing, by first cleansing students’ minds of the many policing myths and then recognizing that traditional and community policing do not mix, like oil and water (my emphasis). This is emphasized in the graduate curriculum in community policing, designed by myself and Dr. Diana Bruns at Southeast Missouri State University, which starts with cleansing students’ minds of policing myths to help them accept the true/proven principles of community policing. Ultimate success has police and citizens’ minds harmonized in cooperative unison versus opposed adversaries. If we work now to address these myths and misdirection across the board in our training and education programs, by 2022 chiefs may be able to answer accurately the all important question, ‘What business are you in?’”

[Louis A. Mayo, police consultant since 1967 and  founder of the Police Association for College Education, a non-profit devoted to improving policing by advocating that all officers have at least a four-year college education.]


”Will it be more effective and efficient to hire police officers as has been done in the past and then train them to handle assignments they may not have an interest in or be willing to make a long-term commitment to? Or might it make more sense to recruit from the ranks of accounting or IT professionals and others who are not necessarily interested in being a sworn officer but who possess valuable skills and have an interest in this work? Why not consider hiring them to supplement or complement sworn personnel who handle the enforcement functions? There is little difference to be found in this approach than with what we observed approximately 30 to 40 years ago with the hiring of the first civilian community or police service officers, crime scene technicians, forensic technicians, and a host of other assignments that are now commonly filled by capable and professional staff who are not sworn police officers.

“Some of the greatest challenges for police leaders today stem not just from dealing with external factors, such as crime and service demands, but equally so from the responsibility and pressures associated with examining organizational performance in an era of increasing scrutiny. That requires a willingness on the part of police executives to ask tough questions of others in the organization and ensure the answers provided are objective and supported by facts. Are we effective? Are we accountable? Are the results that we are seeking what the community expects? Are we doing the right things? (my emphasis). The answers will tell the story.

“Ultimately, policing always has been and will be about people—the community as well as the members of the organization—and whether the latter are serving the former.”

[Joseph Brann, founding director for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services in the U.S. Department of Justice and earlier served as chief of police in Hayward, California.]