Aug 10

Exploring Pillars of 21st Century Policing for Improved Law Enforcement

As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, the role of law enforcement is rapidly evolving to meet ever-changing societal needs. Central to this evolution is the concept of the pillars of 21st century policing - a strategic blueprint designed to guide law enforcement agencies in the 21st century.

This novel approach fosters a transformative shift that empowers law enforcement officers to engage with their communities in a more meaningful and dynamic manner.

This forward-thinking framework of the pillars of policing in law enforcement has its roots in the comprehensive work of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The Task Force established these six pillars to enrich the dialogue and mutual understanding between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. 

By doing so, they aimed to initiate positive societal changes and drive the future of 21st century law enforcement. These pillars now stand as beacons that guide law enforcement practices toward a more inclusive, community-centric approach.

What Are the Six Pillars of 21st Century Policing?

The 6 pillars of 21st century policing include Building Trust and Legitimacy, Policy and Oversight, Technology & Social Media, Community Policing & Crime Reduction, Training & Education, and Officer Wellness & Safety.

Each pillar outlines strategic approaches to enhance the interaction and mutual understanding between law enforcement agencies and communities, ultimately facilitating positive changes in society.

Pillar One - Building Trust and Legitimacy

The fundamental first pillar of 21st century policing emphasizes cultivating trust and establishing legitimacy - elements crucial to the development of a harmonious bond between the police force and civilians.

Research studies have indicated a surge in law-abiding behavior when citizens view law enforcement entities as legitimate.

To attain this objective, it is imperative that procedural justice is exercised, transparency in operations is maintained, and the unique norms and values of the community are respected. It requires a shift in outlook - from viewing the police force as an external entity exercising control to an integral part of the community. 

Therefore, this pillar outlines strategies to intensify trust and promote lasting relationships between the police and the community.

Pillar Two - Policy and Oversight

The second pillar highlights the importance of aligning police actions with policies that align with the values of the community. It encourages law enforcement agencies to collaborate with communities, especially those afflicted by crime disproportionately, as it enhances relationships, engagement, and cooperation. This cooperation is integral to devising efficient policing strategies and effectively distributing resources to reduce crime.

Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of wide-ranging policies covering diverse aspects - from the use of force and acquiring consent before searches to prohibiting racial profiling and establishing performance metrics. 

The efficacy of these policies relies on regular reviews, non-punitive peer assessments of significant incidents, and setting up civilian oversight systems to ensure transparency and compliance with community values.

Pillar Three - Technology & Social Media

The third pillar advocates for the judicious use of technology to strengthen policing practices and gain community trust. It demands that the deployment of such technology should be aligned with well-defined policies and objectives.

While the integration of new technologies can promote transparency and accountability, it is crucial for law enforcement agencies also to evaluate their effects on individual rights. Therefore, this pillar guides agencies to scrutinize and adopt technologies that enhance their effectiveness, efficiency, and adaptability.

Pillar Four - Community Policing & Crime Reduction

The fourth pillar emphasizes community policing at its core. Community-oriented policing is a strategic approach in law enforcement that refers to the development of strong, collaborative relationships with community members to proactively address the underlying conditions and factors contributing to public safety concerns.

This pillar highlights the effectiveness of developing public safety through collaborative efforts with local residents. Law enforcement agencies are advised to adopt multi-disciplinary, community-team methodologies to handle crises with multiple underlying causes. It emphasizes the active participation of community members, particularly youth, in decision-making processes and in developing strategies that resonate with community values and enhance public safety.

Pillar Five - Training & Education

The fifth pillar responds to the evolving responsibilities of law enforcement professionals in a diversified nation. It emphasizes the pressing need for thorough, efficient hands-on training through different law enforcement training courses so law enforcement agencies can address any challenge - ranging from international terrorism and rising immigration issues to new-age technologies and an escalating mental health crisis.

Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to incorporate community members, especially those with specialized knowledge, into the training process as well and to offer continuous leadership training to all relevant personnel.

Pillar Six - Officer Wellness & Safety

The sixth and final pillar of 21st century policing shines a spotlight on the well-being and safety of law enforcement officers. It acknowledges that the wellness of officers is a crucial component of public safety and calls for cooperative efforts to support officer well-being.

It proposes fostering safety at every level of the law enforcement organization, implementing policies mandating the use of safety gear, and encouraging a culture of internal procedural justice. It also suggests increasing data collection and analysis related to officer injuries and "near misses" and setting up federal programs to provide financial assistance for officers' continuing education.

Therefore, these six pillars form the foundation of 21st century law enforcement. Their objective is to substantially improve community engagement, build trust, enhance transparency, and upgrade law enforcement practices for the better.

BlueForce Learning and the Pillars of 21st Century Policing

In line with these pillars, especially the vital fifth pillar - Training & Education - BlueForce Learning takes on an instrumental role. We offer high-quality, data-based training programs with a singular goal of enhancing the capabilities of law enforcement professionals in the context of 21st century policing.

Our courses are carefully designed to provide comprehensive understanding and practical skills that help officers effectively navigate the complex landscape of modern law enforcement.

BlueForce Learning is committed to fostering ongoing learning and improvement, the core of our mission, and we continuously strive to incorporate a forward-thinking, community-oriented approach in policing. With us, law enforcement agencies can significantly enhance the academic and practical understanding of policing in officers, thus ultimately driving the profession towards greater efficacy and societal harmony.