Two-way communication between citizens and the police is essential for an effective and efficient law enforcement agency.
The role of policing has significantly evolved since it became a profession in 1829 under Sir Robert Peele in London. Beginning with the 1970s, we are now in what is commonly referred to as the community era of modern policing. In many jurisdictions, police have striven to have a better connection with the residents they serve, and Riverside is no exception.
The culture of a police department reflects what that department believes in as an organization. These beliefs are reflected in the department’s recruiting and selection process, policies, training, development and ultimately, in the actions of its officers in law enforcement situations.
Community policing over the last decade has become a very politically correct term to use. In reality, smaller suburban police departments have been utilizing community policing during their entire existence, but just did not have a tag line for the type of services they were delivering.
In Riverside and many surrounding communities, the beginning point toward establishing a departments’ culture is to have open and transparent communication with its residents as its core value.
During the next year, the police department is going to be undertaking an increased look at how to digitally improve our communications with the residents. This will include looking at a Facebook page and Twitter account to better inform the residents of current events.
Open and transparent policing is the only way to run a police organization that hopes to foster community support.
As police chief for the village of Riverside, I pledge to do so.
Thomas Weitzel is chief of the Riverside Police Department