Community’s Role in Police Reform

Meaningful Engagement Between Community And Police Leaders

“To maintain at all times a relationship with the public…”

-Sir Robert Peel

Sir Robert Peel, also known as the “Father of Modern Policing”, highlighted the value of cooperation between communities and the police in his principles to guide law enforcement. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, tensions between police and the community were rising after a series of officer-involved shootings, with several involving individuals experiencing mental health crises. In order for cooperation and trust to be rebuilt, change was necessary. 

To reform police practices, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) entered into a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice. While monitor teams pored over policies and practices related to use of force, police training, specialized unit operations, crisis intervention, and the general supervision and management of officers, there was another essential element of reform underway – engaging the community.

The Community's Role In Police Reform

Officer-involved shootings and other events involving the use of force by police damaged the trust and communication between law enforcement and the community. To repair the relationship and give the public a formal voice in the reform process, the city sought to establish six Community Police Councils (CPCs) for each APD area command.

IDEA Analytics worked with Steve Rickman, an associate monitor for both Albuquerque and Chicago (IL), to train community members on how to establish the CPCs. This training included the development of by-laws, communication strategies to engage the public, and organizing the community to allow them an active voice in reform.

Building the Foundation for Success

In 2015, the first community meetings were represented by highly engaged citizens seeking more communication and information from their police department. However, these citizens were only a fraction of the community that had been impacted. More voices needed to be heard and engaged in reform efforts to ensure the full population was represented.

To develop the abilities of the councils, IDEA held sessions on the weekend to educate community members on local government processes such as establishing their membership, their by-laws to define quorums, and other processes. We focused on how engaged community members could utilize several resources to reach out to other residents in the area and encourage them to become board members. 

It was highly important that residents of all ages, genders, and ethnicities became involved to ensure all voices were heard and the board represented the diverse population accurately. We were able to expand our outreach even further through brainstorming sessions with community members. These sessions allowed us to identify additional persons and/or groups that were needed during the creation of the councils to contribute valuable services and skills, such as social media marketing, and outreach to youth groups.

Organizes and oversees voting on issues

Facilitates and deliberates in council resolutions

Collates and presents information to APD about community concerns

Represents the Council for all CPC functions 

Communicates with members and stakeholders

Interfaces with APD and elected officials

Sets schedule and locations

Establishes agenda 

Leads facilitation for meetings

Actively recruits members 

Advertises CPC primary objectives and activities 

Solicits feedback and ideas from community

Sustainable Impacts

Over time, the CPCs began to assemble the organizational skills and processes taught during the training and strengthened their outreach, eventually expanding and diversifying their membership. Despite the obstacles presented by COVID-19, on average each of the six CPCs featured 60-70 participants per month. Monthly meetings include the Chief of Police and other officers, all of whom are present to listen and communicate with residents about key community concerns.

The CPC’s reach and growing influence contributed to the passage of a city ordinance that established them permanently. This ordinance provides residents with an ongoing opportunity to work directly with their neighborhood police leaders to guide community safety strategies and programming. Additionally, their efforts are providing a new national model for community engagement and cooperation with law enforcement. 

At IDEA Analytics we offer a strategic partnership for community leaders, local government, and public safety officials who want informed change – and we’re only a click away. Schedule an appointment here or use the button below to discover dynamic, data-driven solutions that are effecting powerful and positive change in communities just like Albuquerque.

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