Survey Strategies Lead to Improvements in Community-Centered Policing

Trust in police appears to be rebounding as community-centered efforts are substantiated in survey data. 

The National Law Enforcement Survey (NLES), created by the National Research Center (NRC) at Polco found that overall trust in policing dropped in 2020 by 20 percent. In recent years though, additional results revealed those numbers are beginning to rebound. Americans’ top three priorities for law enforcement, according to the survey, are transparent communication, positive connections, and more community-centered training. These priorities informed four guiding principles to meet those goals that came from the most recent data.

  1. Identify residents’ safety priorities
  2. Prioritize positive interactions with residents
  3. Act on resident feedback
  4. Show your results

Strategies are being deployed to meet these needs, such as “coffee with a cop,” and town hall style engagement events. One agency in Denton, Texas has an officer installed at local community centers so residents can come to a facility they are comfortable in to make a report. These efforts fall primarily under the second principle but the greatest impact occurs when all four findings are used together.

From the article:

“Instead of telling the community what our focus is going to be, we are trying to get better at listening to what they want our focus to be,” Police Chief Dixon said. “That way we are collaborating and we get more buy-in.”

More results from other police departments are outlined in the Police1 article, including agencies that have used the NLES software for their specific community-based initiatives. Resources for location specific programs can be found at Polco