Transparency portals and Why They Are Needed in Law Enforcement Organizations




Biggs, Stephen

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



One of the newest buzzwords in law enforcement as well as business is transparency. Law enforcement agencies in general have been viewed as closed organizations, but recent police shootings and high profile police events have led to civil unrest, distrust of the police, and cries for more transparency in law enforcement agencies across the nation. Law enforcement agencies draw their authority from the public they serve, so by making their agency more open and transparent, they can enhance the communities’ confidence in their department. In fact, research has shown that the citizens’ trust in police increases when they are given access to information (Bertot, Jaeger, & Grimes, 2010). One way to be more transparent and provide this information to the community is through the establishment of a transparency portal. A transparency portal is another term for an online website where police agencies can post/display information regarding their department. Police agencies can be as transparent as they want, such as posting body worn camera videos, dash camera videos, policies, crime statistics, or calls for service depending on what their administration is comfortable with and what their citizens are calling for. While there will be always be pros and cons regarding the release of information, in today’s society, the public is demanding more information, and law enforcement needs to be prepared to move into a new era of transparency. The implementation of a transparency portal is the first step for police agencies to begin regaining trust, and building credibility with the community they serve.


Police-community relations, Police and mass media, Communication in police administration