Tuesday, December 29, 2020

DomPrep Journal: The New Age of Police Reform Special Issue, December 2020


  Special Issue

December 2020

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After a hurricane impacts a community, a common practice is not just to rebuild the homes and businesses, but to build them back stronger to withstand greater winds and higher flood waters. This same concept is emerging in law enforcement. Growing social and political pressures have threatened the traditional law enforcement establishment. However, these pressures have led to agencies finding new ways to build back stronger and fortify their relationships within and between communities.

Today’s law enforcement is faced with challenges in four key areas: public consent, rule of law, restrained use of force, and independence from political influence. Adding to these challenges is the global exposure of local events through social media and news outlets. For example, a tragic death in one city can spark protests and demonstrations in other cities around the world. This widespread outcry has spurred calls for police reform across numerous jurisdictions.

Years of staffing and retention challenges were a sign of a growing problem, but sometimes it takes a crisis for true change to begin. In 2020, the compilation of law enforcement challenges and incidents, social and political unrest, and even a pandemic pushed talks of police reform to the forefront. Amid the crises, opportunities and strategies to reconnect law enforcement with the communities they serve have emerged – with accountability and transparency leading the discussion.

Combining public pressure with a new presidential administration, police reform efforts are likely to continue building momentum in the upcoming year at the local, state, and national levels. This publication of “The New Age of Police Reform” provides an overview of how law enforcement agencies are addressing modern challenges and domestic preparedness concerns, determining training needs, and rebuilding trust.

Although changing the inside culture and external perception of a long-standing institution is a difficult task, significant change is on the horizon. This special edition of the DomPrep Journal highlights a series of articles and podcasts that describe what law enforcement agencies are doing or plan to do to help rebuild community trust, ensure accountability and oversight, and promote intergovernmental cohesion.

Catherine L. Feinman

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