A practitioner's guide to trust and legitimacy
Walsh, Patrick A.
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The policing profession has evolved since the formalization of police forces in the late 1820s. Much of the change revolves around the community taking an interest in how the police conduct themselves and how they interact with the public. As the public demands more from the police, the police need to strive to gain trust and remain legitimate. This is easier said than done. Due to the breakdown in the social safety net, more and more police officers are called upon to assist those who are suffering from a mental illness. This intersection often tragically results in officers using force, or deadly force on these individuals. When this happens, many in the community lose faith in the police and trust is weakened or lost. In this paper, trust and legitimacy between the community and the police is examined. The argument is made that the police need to have trust and legitimacy with the public they serve in order to be effective in fighting crime as well as terrorism. Three aspects are examined that have the potential to build trust: The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) civil rights investigation of law enforcement, the strategic production of press releases and the creation and use of a mobile smart phone application as a means of connecting to the community. By abiding with the DOJ recommendations, thinking strategically about the production of press releases, and leveraging technology to build relationships, it is argued that law enforcement can build trust and legitimacy. With trust and legitimacy the public will assist, cooperate and obey the police. This relationship and collaboration is vital if law enforcement is to be successful in maintaining public safety and prevent terrorism.
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Murray, John Charles (Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School, 2017-12);Trust and the establishment of legitimacy are essential to building strong relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Distrust of the police can lead to a lack of community involvement and, in ...
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