The Future: Part XI

future 3Future of Policing Essays: American Policing in 2022

Part XI

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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“I foresee unions concentrating more on core benefits and less on their agenda of organizational control. This is a simple matter of priority. But giving management more control of internal processes will make the police more responsive to the community at a time when community support of police is vital.

“An indisputable fact hovers over these negotiations. The private security industry grows each year. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 19 to 34 billion dollars are spent in the United States by people who desire safety. The police need to access these nontax dollars. A police union and management partnership that enters the competitive bidding process will force the police to become cost effective.

“We can no longer afford to rely on a monopoly based on tradition. Those who still believe the police are not in direct competition with the private sector are deluding themselves (my emphasis). Our training is superior, and we have the edge with statutory authority and our unique responsibility to all the people. But these are tenuous facts to rely on. The people have already voted on this issue with their pocketbook. We need to recognize this fact and access a portion of those private dollars through competition. A police force for only those who cannot afford their own protection is in no position to expect ever-increasing tax funding…

“The combination of economic forces,  technology, and smarter policing will coalesce into different practices for policing in 10 short years. These factors are indisputable. The only question is how far management and labor will go to achieve logical change that is beneficial to the community and the police. We need to remember that the police are the public and the public, the police. Mindful of the great management and union leaders currently in policing, I am optimistic for the future.”

[Edward F. Davis, police commissioner of the city of Boston.]


“Entering the second decade of the new millennium, the police as a whole began to examine how they could do things better and how they could become more approachable and trusted using the new technology available to them, such as social media like Facebook and YouTube. Individual officers and units began to reach out to the public and educate them about crime prevention, disaster preparedness, and even how to organize a neighborhood watch group using a new thing called Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, police began to use it as a way to instantly notify the local community of breaking issues, such as street closures or major crime trends and suspect descriptions. This resulted in building trust within the community, as it empowered the ordinary citizen to help fight crime. All of a sudden, the long-lost bonds between the police and community were being re-established after many years of neglect and mistrust. The era of crime fighting and ‘force multiplying’ through social media was upon us (my emphasis)

“A few forward-thinking police departments teamed up with electric vehicle manufacturers, such as Segway, Tesla, and Brammo, to help design the future of transportation for police. The transition from gasoline to electric-powered vehicles was not an easy one…

“The police uniform as we knew it was no longer practical, so, like with the switch to electric vehicles, we switched to a more functional uniform for patrol officers (while still keeping tradition alive in the dress uniform)…

“The smart gun started to be implemented across the nation. The guns use a fingerprint-recognition safety system that allows the officer to fire the weapon only when the gun recognizes the officer’s fingerprints. I am proud to say that since this has been implemented, no officer has been killed in the line of duty with his or her own weapon. I understand that the next generation of firearms will have a built-in less-lethal option, but I won’t be around to test that one…”

[Chris Cognac, police sergeant, Hawthorne (California).]