We Exist to Serve the Profession of Law Enforcement
When I assumed the position of COPS Office Director last November, one of my mandates was to ensure that I delivered the message that the COPS Office was “back in the game.” That is to say we now have funding and a commitment from the President and the Attorney General to help improve the safety of our citizens through community policing. We are now tasked with acting on that message, and we are doing so in two distinct ways.
First, many members of the COPS Office, me included, have been traveling extensively for the last three months. We have visited towns and cities across the country, attending business conferences, press events, and group meetings. Everything has been focused on listening to the profession, learning how we can help, and delivering the message. A portion of our new web site will be devoted to identifying where COPS personnel travel.
The importance of visiting the field can’t be overstated. It allows us to see the people we serve in their own backyards and examine their strengths as well as the challenges they face. It also shows our commitment to enhancing public safety through community policing.
Second, we have returned to our traditional role as the convening agency for U.S. law enforcement. By calling together the brightest minds in our profession as well as addressing today’s most topical issues, we send a powerful message that we are engaged in building relationships and solving problems.
The COPS Office recently convened the first of what will be an ongoing series of dialogues titled “The Emerging Issues Forum.” Twenty or so of the brightest minds in law enforcement gathered to hear Professor Tom Tyler of New York University discuss “Procedural Justice.” The conversation was one of the most engaging 24 hours I have ever been privileged to witness. The Emerging Issues Forum will occur 2-3 times per year. The results of the first forum will be published soon.
We also plan to enter into a multiyear partnership with the Police Executive Research forum (PERF) to deal with critical issues in law enforcement. The first meeting will center on issues involving the deployment of Tasers. The second meeting is tentatively scheduled to focus on prisoner reentry.
There is a nautical term that applies to what we are doing: Underway, Making Way. It means that we are in the process of serving the profession of law enforcement.