Policing has profoundly changed over the last several decades and its evolution will continue as long as there are crimes to commit and communities to serve. The very nature of policing is dynamic – it always has been and always will be. Those dynamics are driven by many things – social change, technological advances, spikes in violence, catastrophic events or, as evidenced today, an economic downturn of historic proportions. However, regardless of the impetus to change, law enforcement’s collective wisdom continues to assess, respond to and build new and innovative approaches to today’s realities and tomorrow’s challenges.
While variables abound, there is a constant -- the police police; and how they police evolves as a direct result of the aforementioned ‘collective wisdom’. Convening law enforcement leaders to discuss shared purpose, shared challenges and shared success remains the basis for how police agencies navigate through the most pressing of times– particularly in the face of today’s increased expectations and responsibilities, and decreased resources.
Harnessing law enforcement’s collective wisdom was the reason why the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) was founded in 1893 and the purpose behind a recent joint IACP/SAS effort. SAS was fortunate to partner with IACP to discuss the latest evolution – Policing in the 21st Century. Via a live webcast, IACP President Mark Marshall engaged IACP members from around the globe. The webcast’s goals were to involve IACP members in an ongoing dialogue about the future of policing and to enlist assistance in establishing an online repository of shared experiences on how agencies are maximizing finite resources within this latest evolution.
We applaud IACP’s continued leadership on this topic and SAS is proud to be a part of a rich tradition in harnessing law enforcement’s collective wisdom. While the initial webcast was only an hour-long discussion, it serves as the launching point for a much broader and important conversation about the future of law enforcement – and how the police police.