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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“At the broadest and perhaps most profound level, measuring crime, policing and public safety informs us about the strength and viability of our democracy: whether justice is established, domestic tranquility insured, the common defense provided, the general welfare promoted, and the blessings of liberty secured. The police subsequently came into being as a means of achieving and preserving these existential goals set out by the U.S. Constitution’s authors.
“The development of an index of leading public safety indicators is long past due. One should be developed that gives the same degree of careful consideration and reliable measurement to policing and public safety that has been given to other spheres of com munity life (my emphasis). Just as multiple phenomena are measured in other spheres, so too should the measure of policing and public safety comprise more than crimes recorded by police.
“What else matters? In general terms, the police should be measured both by their effectiveness in achieving their objectives and by their fairness in achieving them (my emphasis). As it relates to effectiveness, in addition to measuring crimes recorded by police, an index of leading public safety indicators should also include measures of crimes that may have gone unreported to the police, public health records of intentional and accidental injuries and deaths, insurance industry records of claims arising out of criminal conduct, noncriminal complaints about unsafe or disorderly conditions, and citizen perceptions of their personal and community’s safety and security.
“As it relates to police fairness, the index should measure such things as citizen trust and confidence in the police; perceptions of police fairness from lawyers, judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, civil rights attorneys, and activists; citizen complaints against the police, including civil lawsuits filed and judgments rendered; and government lawsuits filed against police agencies, such as federal pattern-and practice lawsuits.
“Each indicator—and others not mentioned— requires careful consideration as to how the data is to be collected, how it should be categorized and analyzed, how its reliability is to be demonstrated, how it is to be weighed in a composite index, and how it is to be reported. Police and crime scholars should play a role in developing the leading public safety indicators; federal, state, and local governments should play a role in collecting, analyzing, and reporting the data; and professional police organizations should play a role in vetting the system and endorsing its credibility.
“Over the past 40-plus years, the American police have made tremendous strides in reconsidering and improving their relationship with the citizenry and with other government and nongovernment organizations.
“They have likewise made tremendous strides in improving their understanding of the causes of crime and disorder as well as what actions, by police and others, can most effectively control and prevent them. The police have made great progress in recognizing that they alone cannot control and prevent all public safety problems, that others must share in that responsibility. And the police have made great progress in recruiting and hiring a police workforce that better reflects the communities it serves, and in training its officers how to police intelligently, compassionately, and with judgment and restraint. A remaining relic of the past, however, is the simplistic and unreliable system in place for measuring how police agencies perform. This system is undermining progress on all other fronts and begs for a long-overdue overhaul.”
[Michael S. Scott, clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and the director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. He was formerly chief of police in Lauderhill, Florida.]
“Departments that maintain the flexibility to mobilize officers, either short-term or long-term, to provide police services to a region that has experienced a loss in police protection or an escalation in violent crime is a necessary and critical component of policing in the future…
“Some things will remain the same; troopers in 2022 will not look different than they do today. They will proudly wear the traditional Michigan State Police uniform, drive patrol vehicles with the red ‘bubble,’ and honor those who came before them with excellence, integrity, and courtesy. However, the trooper of 2022 will be better trained, better equipped, better managed, and fully capable of handling criminal incidents anywhere in the state of Michigan. The trooper of 2022 will begin and end the work day from home, be dispatched to an area of patrol determined not by a hunch but by real-time crime data, and have in the patrol vehicle all the tools needed to handle most criminal incidents.”
[Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police.]