Positive Community - Police Engagement Report

Exploring The Role Of Police Foundations In Supporting Community - Police Initiatives

Building Relationships and Connecting Communities

Report Background:

Protests in cities across the U.S. in the summer of 2019 were followed by a troubling amount of negative news reports that detailed unsettling community-police disputes. This issue made it apparent to police foundation leaders that there was a growing need to share positive examples of law enforcement in the community and understand the role of police foundations in the public.

With the support of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation, IDEA Analytics reached out to a diverse group of over 200 police foundations to learn more about their role in supporting community-police programs. The responding 58 police foundations, which consisted of small, medium, and large police departments, shared current examples of constructive community-police engagement from their youth, adult, and police initiatives. 

These foundations have been in operation for more than 50 years to strengthen relationships and promote trust through social, educational, and training programs. Although the first foundation was created in 1971, a nation-wide study of the establishments had never been conducted until this report. 

The survey starts a conversation that will identify promising practices for police engagement with communities and provide additional support and services. As our communities today seek to repair their relationship with law enforcement and recover from negative interactions, police foundations are encouraged to use practices that are dependably constructive and develop new approaches to strengthen their connection with the public.

Responding Police Foundations by Location

Map Note: Purple = large-sized police departments, Red = medium-sized police departments, yellow = small-sized police departments

Report Highlights:

Number of Police Foundations Supporting Program Areas 

Police foundations provide programs and initiatives for youth, adult and police operations, with most foundations providing programs in all three categories.

  • 65% fund programs supporting essential needs for local youth and families (e.g., housing supplies, food, clothing) 
  • 62% support officer wellness programs, focused on de-escalation and resiliency training
  • 41% fund community-led safety/crime prevention programming
  • 80% of police foundations surveyed funded technology and equipment for departments, but only 14% supported weapon purchases.

IDEA Analytics also identified areas that needed improvement, which began a conversation meant to generate more productive dialogue and inspire awareness, support, and the expansion of police foundations across the nation. 

The Bottom Line:

The completion of this evidence-based report was intended to resolve misconceptions about police foundations and their operations. We also hope that it will encourage government officials, policy makers, and other involved individuals to join a conversation that was created to maintain community safety through police foundations. 

We look forward to supporting police foundations as they make progress by identifying methods for connecting communities and policing collaboratively to achieve positive results. We also greatly appreciate the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation for supporting the work in this study, Joan Brody for championing the project from conception to report, and Dr. Theron L. Bowman of The Bowman Group for his advice and contributions throughout the process. 

Collaboration between police and the community is key. Download the full case study for a data-driven analysis about police foundations’ role in our public atmosphere, and for comprehensive solutions for your organization that drive real change in real time, contact us HERE.