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Community Feedback: Why it’s important + 3 Strategies

community policing events

Great! You’ve conducted a community policing survey but what do you do with all that feedback? How do you incorporate it into your action plan? Below are three best strategies for maximizing the data obtained in order to translate the results into meaningful changes.

  1. Pinpoint Patterns and Brainstorm Solutions.

Start with a visual analysis of the data. Are there any responses that immediately become apparent? For example, is there a certain neighborhood within your jurisdiction where trust of law enforcement is particularly low? If so, what can you do to change the public’s perception of the police? Creating opportunities for the public to interact with officers in a neutral setting can go a long way to improve police-public relations. A neutral setting means the public are able to interact with law enforcement without the interaction being based upon them having been a victim of a crime or in violation of a law. 

One initiative that has shown promising results is the Coffee With a Cop Program that was started in 2011 by the Hawthorne Police Department in California (https://coffeewithacop.com/). Instead of guessing where such an event is needed, using an in-app service like Officer Survey, would allow one to instantly determine where this sort of community engagement is most needed and where it would have the most impact.

Because Officer Survey enables police departments to custom-tailor their own survey questions, leadership could inquire about which initiatives the community would like to see from law enforcement, rather than making that decision themselves. When people are included in decision-making practices they feel more empowered, which in turn leads to greater trust and more community involvement.

  1. Publicize Survey Results so the Public Knows Their Voices are Being Heard

Change doesn’t happen overnight. Publicizing, while maintaining respondent confidentiality, will let the public know their voices have been heard and that a plan for action is being formulated. Informing community members of upcoming community engagement programs, while also providing a platform for ongoing feedback will empower citizens even more and go towards strengthening trust between law enforcement and the citizens they serve. Officer Survey puts the resources to accomplish all of this right at your fingertips.

  1. Motivate your police officers.

Knowing that citizens have an avenue to provide feedback to leadership can inspire police officers to perform to the best of their abilities. Resources like Officer Survey help hold officers accountable for their actions. Leadership within law enforcement can also use Officer Survey to obtain data from the officers themselves so that their concerns and feedback can be taken into account as well. Just like with citizens, when an officer feels as though his or her voice is heard by those in command and that their insights and opinions are valued they feel more empowered and motivated as a result, which will have a positive impact on their work performance. 

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