Effective crime control requires a collaborative working relationship between law enforcement and the communities that they are sworn to serve and protect. A culture of police integrity is essential in building respect and trust and, in turn, mutual respect and trust between police and citizens is essential to effective crime control. Local law enforcement agencies operating within their legal authority, in accordance with accepted police practices, and in an ethical manner consistent with community expectations, means police integrity.
Since FY 1996, the COPS Office, through the Police Integrity Initiative, has taken a lead role in promoting police integrity and supporting programs that build trust between law enforcement and communities. The overall goal of the Police Integrity Initiative is to meet emerging and changing law enforcement needs by assisting agencies in creating or strengthening local programs. For example, the COPS Office sponsored the first National Symposium on Police Integrity and followed it with a series of regional technical assistance conferences. The COPS Office expanded the scope of integrity issues to include racial profiling and hosted a problem-solving working group on police stops and searches. COPS also organized the U.S. Department of Justice's Conference on Police-Community Relationships and participated in follow-up working groups. These efforts culminated in a police integrity focus group that concentrated on the effective use of early warning systems, complaint investigations, use-of-force policies, and racial profiling. In addition, the COPS Office has worked in partnership with the major law enforcement associations and others to produce guidebooks and publications to assist agencies in developing and strengthening their integrity programs.
As a catalyst for positive change, the COPS Office works with law enforcement partners to address those issues, along with the recruitment and selection of new police officers seeking service-oriented careers. Past and ongoing strategies include best practices, the development of model problem-solving partnerships, and national training delivered through the COPS national network of Regional Community Policing Institutes.
The COPS Police Integrity Initiative promotes integrity by supporting best practices and publications that include, but are not limited to, the following topics: