POLICE OFFICERS HAVE A TOUGH JOB
Fighting bad guys and enforcing the laws are two difficult tasks that officers must handle within specific parameters, with high moral actions. In a job where split second decisions make lasting waves through communities and individual people’s lives, there is a lot of pressure to do everything perfectly.
CONNECTIONS TO THE PUBLIC
Police departments are finding alternative ways to connect with the public for the purpose of building relationships and keeping the public informed. When 600 law enforcement agencies were asked, 92% of them reported using social media.
Many agencies have taken to asking the public for help with identifying suspects from video surveillance. They report to the public on their weekly activities, and engage with the public to build better relationships.
Social media is playing a large role in fighting crime. While some people may be bothered with another person’s oversharing, it can come in handy when a crime is involved. There have been multiple cases of people recording their crimes for posting on social media, posting their locations when officers are looking for them and even offering clues which are left on personal pages.
Social media can also be used to warn the public about crimes prior to their happening. Because of the vigilant watchfulness of others, school and public shootings have been stopped when warning signs were spotted, or threats were taken seriously.
Every person leaves a digital footprint when using the internet and social media is no exception. These posts, follows, and messages are admissible in most court cases.
CONNECTIONS ARE VITAL
Agencies are finding other ways of connecting to the public by being out mingling with the public in public spaces. Cities hold many events where police officers are working security. While that is happening, an extra effort is made to mingle and build report with citizens.
A police presence at these functions usually indicate that the event is being monitored, which is necessary, but it doesn’t always have to be intimidating.
It is a tricky line to walk when officers must socialize and also be vigilant of their surroundings. Showing the human side of the job is necessary, too.
CONNECTIONS TO EACH OTHER
Another way of connecting is through the departments and their dispatch centers. In an emergency, time is of the essence. Through their training, officers have worked to improve response times. Departments can use vehicle locating software to keep track of their fleet, meaning they know where every vehicle and every officer is located.
When a 9-1-1 call comes in, the dispatchers can locate the nearest vehicle quickly, send officers in response to the call. This decreases the amount of time it takes for an officer or emergency response team to reach the problem. In many situations, faster response time means lives are saved.
Connection and response times are not the only factors in creating a better response. The responding officer needs as much information as possible prior to arrival at the scene in order to answer the call effectively. If there is an active threat in the area, like someone with a weapon or a crime still in progress, there is a need for the approaching officers to enter the scene already informed.
Software programs work to give officers the best information so they can show up prepared and keep everyone safe.
The national, state and local computer systems currently store decades of police reports which can also keep officers updated on past crimes in the database when pulling someone over and searching their driver’s license and the vehicle tags. When officers can connect to each other’s information, it helps solve more crimes and the officer protected.
Police work is more than just solving crimes; it is managing connections to the public and each other. Through the bonds of wearing the uniform, officers can understand and support one another.
The public relies on the work officers do and the officers rely on the public to help them.
When connections are formed and everyone works together, we can all contribute to making the places we live safer.
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.
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