When I began thinking about how I wanted to talk about my campaign, I realized quickly that this was not a journey any one of us should be working to do alone. We must work together, both for ourselves and for those we serve. As such, the pillars of this campaign's platform below are very much one of partnership, where we come together to build the best future for policing. Through that teamwork, all of us within this organization can move our best foot forward, together.
Credit, Westernslopenow.com and Newsbreak.com
Communication and collaboration
We cannot continue to operate on the assumption that we have time and space to be able to develop a strategy around what is comfortable for us to discuss -- time is a luxury we no longer have. We have seen how quickly incidents have unfolded in our communities -- we must be connected and in conversation with those who call our cities home. We must utilize the resources we have within our own departments to accomplish that -- through my work with the IACP PIO Section, I have seen a cross-section of incredible talent within the law enforcement field that we can utilize as an organization to train and to champion these efforts.
Communication also comes with community partnerships -- we cannot silo ourselves. There are few, if any, advantages to that. By creating programming and a space for open, honest dialogue to occur on both sides, we can encourage and facilitate meaningful understanding and foster positive change that is mutually beneficial. To improve connection and collaborative efforts with community organizations is to inherently create a more cohesive community.
The topic of wellness was distinctly highlighted in President Casstevens' address to IACP members during his swearing in in October 2019. Since then, our profession has seen a wave of repeated, incredible impacts on our officers’ wellbeing -- first with COVID, and then with months of civil unrest resulting from the death of George Floyd. While the repercussions of these incidents are not yet fully known, we should not wait to address their impact to ensure that law enforcement professionals are getting what they need now to be healthy and safe. In doing so, we can also build a reliable support network for our officers and our families going forward.
This also means that we must commit to ending the stigma around the discussion of, and the practice of, mental health and wellbeing. We must begin to fully acknowledge that in order to truly improve the health and safety of our officers, we must own that this profession can have repeated trauma that can and does impact the physical and mental health of those who protect and serve. We have made great strides in this capacity, and I would like to continue that endeavor.
training for the future of policing
We often hear the phrase “I didn’t sign up for this.” Policing is rapidly evolving in front of our eyes, and we must, together, be at the forefront of that change. We are being asked to not just protect and serve, but to be social workers connecting the homeless in our communities to mental, medical, dental, and housing services. We are being asked to be crisis intervention experts by doing all we can to de-escalate situations and safely resolve a call where someone is in crisis. We are asked to prioritize community policing, something so many of us champion by thinking first and foremost about our forming and maintaining positive relationships with our residents. We want them to know us, and in turn, they want us to know them. In short, techniques, technology, and community expectations have completely changed. As such, we must evolve to meet those expectations and be the best version of this profession.