How to Build Community Trust Effectively

NYPD police car

Building trust in the community is much easier said than done. With the long-standing tension between the police and the public – as a result of violence, abuse of power, and negligence – it becomes challenging to bring back the good relationships between these two important stakeholders in the community. 

Difficult but not impossible. To build trust, consistency, fairness, and procedural justice must be well-implemented by law enforcers. And one way to do this is to adopt a strategy that will allow the people to see how consistent, fair, and lawful the police are – through a community survey.

What is Community Survey?

Community Surveys have been strategically used by many law enforcement agencies to provide them with reliable feedback from the citizens, about their perceptions of the performance and services they provide. Because of the adoption of community policing across the country, there has been an increase in the interest in conducting community surveys.

With community surveys, the police are now able to know “how they are doing” from the community members’ perspective. The citizens can now provide descriptive information on how law enforcement officers do their job – far away beyond the usual measures of arrest activity, calls for services, and offense reports. 

How Surveying the community can help in Building Trust?

Essentially, a community survey can help in building trust towards the police as it is designed to gauge the reaction and satisfaction of the citizens.

Second, because these surveys are specific to the type of community (or a police officer responding to the needs of the community member), it gives the citizens the freedom to share their opinion and be listened to. When these concerns are immediately answered, as per legal processes, the citizens may slowly feel that the officers are trust-worthy – turning them into active and cooperative members of the community.

Third, while community surveys are often viewed as a means of collecting information about crimes and unlawful behaviors, these also open transparent communication between the community members and the police. And open communication is vital in building trust.

Community members actually appreciate it when the police ask for their input – of how they can make the services better, of what they should stop or continue doing. Nothing is better than being valued. Hence, laying down the foundation of trust.

How to go about Community Surveying to build trust?

Because community surveying follows the scientific method, it requires a tedious process of data gathering, analysis, and course of action. While it is truly helpful, let’s admit that it is also time-consuming, and intimidating for some. That is if the traditional means of surveying are applied.

Why go through the hassles of telephone, face-to-face, door-to-door surveys, or “Have a Donut with the Chief’s day” when there’s software that can make the lives of the police and community members easier? With Officer Survey, community members can easily give feedback instantly following every officer interaction. Officer Survey provides police agencies with in-depth real-time data they never had before. It’s time for police agencies to implement technology that builds community trust. Let’s stop procrastinating and start moving forward. 

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