Over the last several months, I have written about changing our strategic mindset and approaches to how we are policing America today. We still have some law enforcement senior officials who do not use CARE.
Current: stay in touch with the community they are policing.
Adaptive: change with the ever-changing environment.
Relevant: use new innovative law enforcement management techniques and procedures.
Evolving: see the big picture and the complexity of law enforcement situations.
The death of Tanisha Anderson is another opportunity for senior law enforcement officials to CARE. There has been enormous public outcry for “deadly force shootings” to be investigated by outside agencies. As a positive response to the public, more law enforcement organizations are considering using outside agencies to investigate contentious cases. I believe this is the best way for law enforcement be open and transparent as well as obtain more legitimacy and credibility with the people they are policing.
Trust in law enforcement is dwindling across the United States. This approach of allowing an outside agency to investigate contentious cases would not question the integrity of the organization, but viewed as a proven technique for good community policing. It will also help validate the effectiveness and efficiency of a law enforcement organization. At least from a public perspective, the argument that police are protecting “their own” or they are covering-up for “their own” would be minimal.
The thought process of law enforcement senior officials should be, “we have nothing to hide.” Although it may be uncomfortable for some, the gains will far exceed the losses. Law enforcement senior officials could learn something from this approach and implement corrective actions to enhance their policing operations which will make it a better organization. More importantly, it will clear a law enforcement person’s good name if he/she acted appropriately. Although the results of an investigation by an outside agency may not be accepted by some people, at least it was done fairly and impartially, and the results were thorough and complete.
I hope more senior law enforcement officials use CARE. This approach should be a good news story for the law enforcement community. Having an outside agency investigate contentious law enforcement cases should be a widely accepted standard or policy.