Arlington, TX: A Community Policing Story Arlington, TX - A Community Policing Story - Page 19

Martin High School athletes and their mentor, Officer Richard Morris, from the police department’s Coach 5-0 program We had some kids get in trouble at school, but their police mentor was able to call them on the phone, visit them at their house, or meet them at school to support them and encourage them to change their lives. This, as a result, increases our police legitimacy with their families, their school, and the community. When we started, a lot of young people didn’t see the police as an ally. Now, because officers have had a chance to interact with students in a nonuniform capacity, students are not only happy to see them but also happy to participate in school activities with them. Q: Why should departments prioritize trust building? In the final report from the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, 35 the first pillar (i.e., building trust and legitimacy) is linked to the sixth pillar (i.e., officer safety and wellness). For example, there is no guarantee that a tragedy will not occur in a community. Many incidents concerning police use of force have been televised nationally over the last several years. The public has questioned not only the officer’s actions but also the police department’s efforts in establishing and strengthening community trust. Research has shown that the public is more concerned with the legitimacy and fairness of the process versus the outcome. 36 Just as the first and sixth pillars are linked, I believe that when police departments prioritize building trust, officers are less likely to encounter resistance, which helps to increase officer safety and improve a community’s overall health. 35. President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Final Report (see note 17). 36. Tyler and Huo, Trust in the Law (see note 12). Lieutenant Tarrick McGuire Discusses Arlington’s Police-Youth Engagement Programs 11