What should police officers do to improve their reputations nationwide?
There are many advocacy organizations – like the National Police Association who work to bring national and local attention to the anti-police efforts challenging effective law enforcement at every turn, and to build public support for needed actions through radio public service announcements, legal filings, articles and more. That’s one way – there are many other ways.
PR pro Angela Betancourt said, “I would suggest police departments nationwide double down on their community engagement content. I looked at a few police department Instagram accounts in major cities, and there is so much more room to create community-driven content. I like to believe there is a lot of good happening at police departments, but it gets buried beneath a mountain of scandal.
What are police officers doing to get to know the residents of the communities they serve? That needs to be heavily documented. If a police department is doing a lot of community engagement, that’s great, and I would ask them to triple down on that type of content. If they aren’t doing that, then I would advise they address the challenges holding them back. A major thing I have learned in my career is that PR can’t fix an operational problem.“
Jeff Pizzino, APR of Authenticity PR said, “One of the best things a police dept. can do to improve its image is to assure the public they’re doing everything they can to hire the most trustworthy officers possible. It’s vital they not only have a vetting process that makes sure they don’t hire any “bad apples,” but also have a method to periodically screen current officers for any policy violations.
I happen to represent a client that has invented a technology to help law enforcement more effectively screen new hire and periodically screen current staff.
Here’s the point: police depts. should use the most effective, up-to-date technology available to avoid hiring an officer that could later create a PR Nightmare for the agency. Most police depts. use polygraph as part of their vetting of new hires (along with interviews, background checks, etc.). Polygraph has been around for nearly 100 years. While it’s scientifically validated to work, there are today additional methods that can help police depts. do an even better job of vetting new hires.”
Undoubtedly this issue will continue to be relevant in the days and years to come.
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