Saturday, January 7, 2012

21st Century police: Times, they are a-changing

Watching police leadership is like entering a Ringling circus of word games and non-sequiturs. That's because you never know what you're going to get. Leaders come in all shapes.

There's lion tamers who attempt to pacify police unions and manage unrealistic public expectations. There's clowns who entertain with their cult of personality but leave nothing behind but good feelings. There's acrobats, skilled in their craft, balancing forward-thinking and leading-by-example.

Given the current system of service delivery and the morphing of roles, policing and it's leadership cannot be separated from safety in our cities.

Case in point: Seattle papers report two controversies (common in many large cities).

1. Recent studies show over 30% of young males in America by age 23 are arrested for something more serious than a traffic violation. Are crime declines a fiction or do arrest practices need fixing?

2. There is widespread public distrust when police investigate themselves - especially when police unions get involved. This is particularly acute in Seattle after a Department of Justice probe cited a pattern of excessive force.

Last fall I created search links on the right side of this blog. Google analytics tells me policing trends belong there as well. Dylan said it best: "Times, they are a-changing".

Here are past entries on policing and leadership:

Can research help cops prevent crime
SMART Policing and the power of few - Part 1
Transforming the police - Part 2
Transforming the police - Part 1
Solving the city with math
New chairs at the compstat table
Reforming police = bending granite
Urban warriors and city cops
The guardians and the vanguard
Preventing crime in LA