National task force calls for improved working conditions, national training standards in latest review of policing
The Task Force on 21st Century Policing’s new report looks at hiring, training and doing away with the military style of command-and-control management
By Bill Carey
CHICAGO — A new national task force report on the culture of policing has renewed the call to examine the future of policing based on recommendations ranging from national standards to looking beyond police reform and towards community and government response. (The report is available in full below.)
The “Task Force on 21stst Century Policing: A Renewed Call to Action” looked to answer why after decades of enacted reform and protests hasn’t the policing problem been fixed?
“Embattled officers wonder: Why have government officials and society declared war on crime, ordered officers into destitute and abandoned neighborhoods to contain the violence, but then objected to the results?” the report asks. “As one officer put it: “We’re forced into paramilitary strategies to keep control in utter chaos. The community hates it, and so do we, but if there are no resources to end the chaos, then both the community and the police will keep failing.”
Co-chairs Laurie Robinson and Charles Ramsey of the original President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing in 2014, and other members, met and developed eight recommendations focusing on accountability, transparency, culture, national standards, and the important role of local government in developing a whole of government and whole of community approach to transformational policing.
The task force developed actions steps for the eight recommendations in their report. Of particular interest to law enforcement officers regarding recruitment and training are:
Improving the working conditions of officers and updating the hiring, training, supervision, incentives and other aspects of traditional policing to meet 21st century standards.
Agencies should evaluate their current organizational structure, with technical assistance from experts in organizational development, and consider adopting a structure that meets the needs of a collaborative community safety mission.
Strive to achieve the goals of the 30x30 initiative to develop a force of 30% women officers in all recruit classes by 2030, up from the current average of 12% of all law enforcement officers in the United States.
Move away from a military-style, hierarchical, command-and-control structure for managing routine operations. Officers must be trusted and empowered to make appropriate decisions at the level necessary to facilitate collaboration with community members and organizations.
Re-establish the federally funded Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) focusing on education and leadership development at all levels of law enforcement.
National and state policing standards should include certification and de-certification of officers, accreditation of agencies, and a national database of officers who are fired or leave service under investigation for serious misconduct.
Each of the report’s eight recommendations have many action steps directed not just at law enforcement but at community, local, state and federal government.
“Transforming unsafe areas into healthy communities requires all political leadership to adopt long-term comprehensive safety approaches and require all government sectors to coordinate and deliver services in concert with the community-police safety strategies,” the task force stated. “Communities that co-create and jointly execute safety plans with civic, government, and police partners are the foundation of effective community safety policing.”