Nicholas Corso of Algonquin explains how police officers can build valued relationships with the communities they serve.
A new generation of police officers are entering the workforce, and many struggle to build connections with the communities they serve. A strong community relationship is essential for public safety and positive policing. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin, a retired police officer with over 20 years of experience, believes that cops should get to know the citizens they protect, and the values they hold dear.
One essential thing a police agency can do is provide transparency. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin explains that when serious incidents occur, the agency should do its best to release as much information as possible. Another useful tip is to release information as quickly as possible so that people do not feel like information is being withheld from them. According to Nicholas Corso of Algonquin, police agencies should always tell the media that new information may not be correct, but as things come to light, more will be shared.
Recently, some poor tactics have been used in neighborhoods that caused the people to mistrust police officers, especially in minority communities. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin notes that one officer’s misconduct can damage relations in the city for quite some time. A case that draws nationwide attention can change how people feel about cops overall.
Nicholas Corso of Algonquin recommends familiarizing yourself with the history of your community to better understand people’s feelings toward the police. Once you know this information, you can work on changing perceptions by being a good example and by reassuring your citizens that you are only there to help. People will trust the connections they make and the kind officers they meet, but only if the officers make an effort to display that.
Another useful tool for improving police-community relations is for cops to live in the neighborhoods in which they work. It shows people that you are a neighbor, family man, and friend. According to Nicholas Corso of Algonquin, it shows people that you are on the same level as them, living side by side to get through everyday life. It’s not always possible to make this happen,
Police officers serve and protect their communities every day. However, volunteering in your community is another way to build relations. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin suggests taking the uniform off to volunteer with your neighbors and help those in need. It’s an excellent opportunity to spread the truth about your profession and have people off the streets see you differently. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin notes that a heart of service should always be looking for ways to serve.
People have largely become disconnected from the police. News and statistics often dehumanize cops, making the general public feel nervous. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin notes that police should know more law-abiding citizens than they do criminals. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin suggests interacting with people in non-enforcement situations as much as possible. Be a friendly face at your child’s school and in the neighborhood!