President Obama recently released his proposed budget for 2011. Despite the economic challenges faced by the country, it should be clear that the advancement of community policing remains one of his top priorities.
The budget calls for $600 million for hiring, which could assist our partners in state, local and tribal law enforcement hire approximately 2,900 police officers and deputy sheriffs for communities around the country. This is a significant step toward the Administration’s goal of putting 50,000 additional community policing officers on America’s streets in the next several years.
Equally exciting is the request for $18 million for community policing development and $15 million for police integrity programs. If appropriated, these dollars will provide us with the opportunity to create a number of new and innovative programs. There are two broad categories in particular I thought it important to share with you.
The first of these is called “Procedural Justice.” This approach focuses on the need for the police to have “legitimacy” in the eyes of the people they serve. The result is more than just legal authority, but rather a broad-based acceptance that their actions are appropriate for the circumstances in which they work.
Our work here at the COPS Office must focus toward reinforcing this concept of legitimacy. If Congress approves the President’s budget proposal, we have an incredible opportunity to assist law enforcement in this country in opposing those forces (e.g. “Stop Snitching”) that seek to undermine the incredible progress made in the last 30 years in the advancement of community policing.
The second exciting development is the concept of the “Teaching Police Department.” Under this model, police departments develop new programs and test new strategies, and their work is evaluated by a neutral third party—an academic institution.
The academic institution’s role is to evaluate the department’s activities and identify those programmatic aspects that are portable, that is have applicability to other police departments, and are sustainable, that is will continue to be effective over the long run. This latter aspect is particularly important in ensuring that effective programs outlast the chief or sheriff who implemented them. All too often, effective programs don’t last because they were driven solely by the executive who implemented them.
This is an incredibly exciting time to be at COPS! We have been afforded an incredible opportunity to make a difference in American law enforcement. I look forward to sharing it with you.