In the business world we hear a lot about “brand;” that is, the perception customers have about a product or service.
If you apply the “brand” term to policing in your city what would it be?
I think there are four steps that must be taken for police to begin to build a strong brand in their communities. Having worked in policing for many years I thought that we had developed a strong brand; that many citizens believed we truly were the best, most innovative, and fair police department in America. That’s branding!
I keep going back to the things I learned about improving police and building a strong brand. Today, I see four primary steps police must take in order to begin to build a strong brand:
1. RESPECT. Police must show unconditional respect to everyone with whom they have contact even if the person does not reciprocate.
2. DEADLY FORCE. The use of deadly force must be significantly reduced. This means the policies, training, and leadership must be oriented toward saving lives; de-escalation, conflict resolution and even disengagement may be necessary in order to do this along with new non-deadly methods developed to prevent taking the lives of disturbed or mentally ill persons in stand-offs not involving firearms.
3. COMMUNITY AND PROBLEM-ORIENTED POLICING. The delivery of police service must be at the community/neighborhood level which means police must work hand-in-hand with citizens to solve problems citizens identify.
4. ASK AND LISTEN. Police leaders must develop methods to continually survey citizens as to how they are doing and how trust is being rebuilt be open always to other ways to get direct input from citizens.
What do you think? By taking these four strong steps would not trust and support of police increase?
At the same time, you need to be able to survey your “customers” as to how your improvements are progressing. To do something you think will improve your “service” and not have in place a way to measure its effect is really spinning your wheels! (Read more about surveying HERE.)
- You can read more about rebranding police culture by Louis Hayes, Jr. HERE.