The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (the COPS Office), like all great organizations, serves a noble purpose. In alignment with our component partners within the Department of Justice, our noble purpose is to create safer communities across this country through the advancement of community policing. In the process, we will help make American law enforcement a model for the world.
Community policing, in its simplest terms, is about building relationships and solving problems. Our office makes it possible for police chiefs and sheriffs across the country to achieve these objectives in the most effective way possible. We cannot, and should not, attempt to mandate how they accomplish this. However, we can utilize the allocation process to focus community policing efforts on those areas that are most critical to the individual communities.
The COPS Office has historically advanced community policing along several fronts while meeting established hiring and funding goals. We will continue to pursue these objectives, but will work to establish means by which we can achieve these ends in a manner that does not force an unnecessary choice.
We will accomplish these objects through greater outreach to the entire spectrum of American law enforcement—police, sheriffs, and tribal agencies. Our contractual relationships with our grantees will emphasize the formation of regional partnerships, resolving community problems and ensuring appropriate oversight of taxpayer dollars.
Our efforts must pay particular attention to the children of this country. Law enforcement is in a unique position to not only save children from immediate harm, but to help put them on a path of leading fuller and more productive lives.
We will devote significant energy to being the convener of American law enforcement. We must respond to those law enforcement incidents that have national significance and which may provide learning opportunities for the profession. We must facilitate, through our RCPI’s and academic partnerships, the identification, articulation, and dissemination of the best practices in the field. The determination of what constitutes best practices must be evidence-based with a rigorous search for the elements of portability and sustainability.
We will promote a philosophy that challenges the profession to change the foundational question from “Can I Do This,” to “Should I Do This?” For community policing to be successful in the long-term, law enforcement organizations must make the principles of community policing applicable to their employees. Our training efforts must be broadened to include line supervision whose acceptance of this principle will be critical to its success.
The future of the COPS Office is incredibly exciting. There are moments in lives of people and organizations which, if recognized and acted upon, provide the opportunity to make a difference in the world. This is such a moment. I am honored to share it with each of you.