Strategic Advisory Boards for Local Police: The Next Step in Real Community Involvement




Simmons, richard

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


At a time when police agencies look for ways to engage their communities, both to increase public input and to bolster citizen trust, local governing bodies need to reconsider what tools are already available. Citizen advisory boards are common to the local government landscape, and are relevant to addressing local concerns within specific agencies or areas of expertise, but are very seldom utilized in connection with police services (Dougherty & Easton, 2011). Municipal governments within Texas should appoint local boards and commissions for police strategic policy advice and review. The use of boards and commissions is well practiced, members can be appointed from knowledgeable citizens, and they can be in place prior to times of turmoil to aid in communication. Their use allows a regularly scheduled venue for public discussion on police service and provides a common place for all members of the community to meet and be heard (Attard & Olsen, 2010). Police departments commonly have the largest budgets and the most employees within a municipality structure. Police services are ranked among the highest prioritized services offered by local government. There is no doubt that they are also the most publicized. Local, direct public involvement and debate in their strategic direction and distribution of resources should be natural (Chambers, 2012). Current local government models, utilizing advisory boards as a normal course for business, are easily adapted to the recommendations from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (2015). Advisory board establishment and use is another way to increase police legitimacy, to enhance public trust, to elicit public input for the allocation of resources, and to engage in procedural justice.



Police community relations, Civilian review boards (police administration)