Police-Community Relations: Resources to Add to Your Toolbox

Just a reminder that you can find resources and professional development experiences through ICMA to help your community address police and community relations.

ARTICLE | Jul 24, 2016

If you’re looking for some inspiration amid this summer’s news of conflict between the police and the community, we’ve pulled together some resources that might be helpful. If you have a success story or case study in this area, please let us know by sending an e-mail to knowledgenetwork@icma.org 

  • ICMA partnered with the Major Cities Chiefs Association to produce a report on the future of local government, police, and community relations. You can download the full report which covers implementing recommendations of The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • PM Magazine has featured several articles in the past year:
    • The Manager-Police Chief Relationship, by Rod Gould, ICMA-CM, provides insight on how to develop a strong manager-police chief relationship and why that relationship is important. "Preventing and addressing crime and incivility is the first priority of all local governments. The strength of a local representative democracy and the quality of life enjoyed by its residents is often a function of the way police officers carry out their duties” according to Gould.
    • Spotlight on Police Culture highlights changes that can be made to improve police/community relations.
  • The Police, the Community, and the Manager, covering a 2015 ICMA Annual Conference session, talks about how incidents can become an important catalyst for dialogue between the police, the manager, and the community. Download an audio recording or access a full transcript of the conference media event panel discussion on Police, the Community, and the Local Government Manager.
  • Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, which was included in the 2015 Municipal Yearbook and is also available separately, was one of the top resources of 2015. The article provides a framework for discussing use-of-force policies, including ways local appointed and elected officials can ensure accountability by police. The authors identify areas that are crucial for discussions among local leaders, police, and the community to review prior to the outbreak of an incident and suggests ways to mitigate police-community relations incidents. Other publications, like Local Government Police Management, 4th edition and Selecting a Police Chief: A Handbook for Local Government, are available in the ICMA Bookstore.
  • The Public Safety topic area includes resources developed by ICMA and beyond. This recent addition, Guiding Principles on Use of Force from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), attempts to move policing to a higher standard when it comes to how and when officers use force in situations where they and the public are not threatened with firearms.
  • The ICMA 102nd Annual Conference offers a full slate of educational sessions and workshops to help you develop strategies and effectively train your staff.
    • Conference sessions include: How to Prepare for and Recover from Community Crisis; Community Efforts in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE); and Strengthening the City Manager-Police Chief Relationship.
    • From the Learning Lounge: The How's and Why's of Police-Community Relations and Diversity and Building Relationships of Trust between the Community and Police
    • From the Solutions Tracks: The Connected Officer: Bringing the Internet of Things to Law Enforcement and Citizen as Sensor: Improving Public Safety through Smartphone Technology
    • A special preconference joint-training program for local government managers and their chiefs of police based on the work of the 21st Century Policing Taskforce is being offered by the Center for Public Safety Management. 
  • Finally, the blog post 7 Ways City Leaders Can Address Racial Inequities, came to us courtesy of the National League of Cities, written by Leon T. Andrews Jr., director of NLC's Race, Equity and Leadership Initiative. 


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