Cops weigh in: 3 ways police product companies can help LE
Our audience had several ideas on how product companies can take advantage of their unique position in the industry to aid officers in these difficult times
Pulse of Policing 2015: The State of Law Enforcement is an ongoing research venture aimed at examining the current state of policing in America from the individual, organizational, and industrial perspectives. Below is an article in a series of columns which will address how the private industry is tackling the challenges police departments are currently facing. Learn more about Pulse of Policing
By Police1 Staff
As American policing continues to be subjected to intense scrutiny, budgetary issues, and morale problems, our Facebook audience had several ideas on how product companies can take advantage of their unique position in the industry to aid law enforcement in these difficult times. Take a look at the responses below.
1. Positive Marketing
Given the widespread negative media attention police officers have been subjected to in recent years, officers want to see product companies cast policing in a positive light during marketing campaigns.
“The current state of media often reflects law enforcement in an unfavorable light,” Sean McKenna wrote. “Seeing advertisements that support LEOs would help the police and the [communities] they serve. We see the positive image campaigns for companies and other organizations, someone needs to step up and do it for law enforcement to combat the constant negative media attention.”
Commenters also offered ideas on how to showcase the different ways police are helping their communities.
“Showcase a department, and let them talk about how their equipment is a force multiplier, helps them do the job better, and keeps them safe.” Nicholas Ranger said.
Petra Hassan agreed with the sentiment about positive advertising campaigns.
“Show people examples of how a police officer could have saved his [or her own life] life or someone else's,” Hassan said.
2. Increasing Access
Officers do not get paid enough, most Facebook commenters said, and the affordability of LE products is a chief concern for them - especially when some departments require their officers to buy their own products.
“Help every department get the equipment it needs,” Chad Stange wrote. “Even the large ones have budgets that just can't cover everything. This equipment needs to be fielded to every department and every line officer in it.”
Companies can also team with nonprofits and other organizations to help provide their products to agencies who can not afford to purchase the equipment otherwise.
“We want to see the safety of officers improved across the country and corporate sponsorships can help tremendously,” Spirit of Blue said.
Depending on the type of product, certain tactical gear can be refurbished and sold at discounted rates to agencies that cannot afford them right off the assembly line.
“Support Auxiliary Police units with refurbs [sic], old models, and discounts,” Patrick Spears said.
Some companies already feature programs that help reduce the costs for police departments. Tommy Kronas of Midwest Public Safety Outfitters said his company does a “Vest for Cost” campaign.
“Officers write in and let us know why they need a vest for cost,” he said. “We pick 10 Officers from the group and sell them a custom vest at our cost,” Kronas said.
3. Educating Politicians, Public
Talking directly to mayors, city councils and civilians in the community can help officers win support for the tactical products they need to do their jobs.
Product companies can help correct unfair narratives like police ‘militarization’ by informing people about the applications of products. This will help the public understand why certain products can be crucial to the safety of officers and the public.
“Why cops need tactical gear: it's easy for these [bad] guys to get fully automatic weapons,” Dominic Martinez said. “Our officers need the proper gear to protect the public and themselves.”
How can companies educate the public? Some commenters suggested inviting the civilians, the media, and others to participate in training scenarios.
“Have an open house and use simulators put people in shoot/no shoot situations,” William Davidson wrote. “Show them [the public] how fast decisions have to be made.”
Education initiatives can also aid in budget approval.
“Our council and mayors need to show support of their police departments and properly equip them so they're less likely to get hurt or killed and more likely to defeat the opponent and protect the public,” Joseph O’Connell said.
A few companies are already working to educate the public.
“TASER would assist in educating the public via the media in conjunction with the agency,” Michael Biggs, a regional sales manager at TASER International, said. “There's numerous cases where an agency would be deploying [the product] for the first time and we will do this. We will even demonstrate exposures to city council, etc. as needed.”
“I think agencies and their vendor partners need to educate the public through the media,” Biggs continued. “At TASER we preach training your media and retrain them as needed on the various tools and tactics so they understand and properly inform the public.”
In a difficult time for law enforcement, individual officers, agencies, and private enterprises need to stand together to weather the storm. What companies that sell police products and services do you think stand above the rest? What do you think LE companies can do to help cops? Tell us in the comments.