Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 21, 2014

Department of Justice Releases Resource Guide to Help Law Enforcement Strengthen Relationships with Communities

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) today announced the release of a resource guide intended to help law enforcement officers build stronger community-police relations. The Resource Guide for Enhancing Community Relationships and Protecting Privacy and Constitutional Rights is a collaboration between BJA and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).

“The Justice Department encourages law enforcement officials, in every jurisdiction, to work with the communities they serve to minimize needless confrontation,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.  “It is vital to engage in planning and preparation, from evaluating protocols and training to choosing the appropriate equipment and uniforms.  This is the hard work that is necessary to preserve the peace and maintain the public trust at all times—particularly in moments of heightened community tension.”

“The role of law enforcement is not only to enforce the law, but to preserve peace, minimize harm, and sustain community trust,” said BJA Director Denise O’Donnell.  “The resources available through this guide will help police departments and sheriffs’ offices maintain order and build effective police-community relationships, while promoting the rights and protecting the civil liberties of the citizens they serve.”

For many years, BJA and the COPS Office have developed guides, publications, webinars, checklists and tools for law enforcement agencies on community policing, building community trust, diversity training, privacy protections, and safeguarding first amendment rights.  Building strong police-community relations requires a sustained effort over time, yet maintaining these relationships is exceedingly difficult during and in the aftermath of a high-profile incident or civil unrest.  Professional law enforcement departments and effective operations require training and ongoing support from all partners.  This guide helps law enforcement agencies locate these resources in one place, including in-person and online training opportunities, publications, reports, podcasts, and websites.

“Law enforcement officers are stewards of the peace and protectors of the people, but above all else, they are custodians of the public trust,” said COPS Office Director Ron Davis.  “As a former police chief, I am proud of the work we are doing at the Department of Justice to help America’s public safety professionals carry out this sacred duty.”

The Resource Guide is available at www.bja.gov/Publications/CommRelGuide.pdf.

The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims.  OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.

The COPS Office, headed by Director Ronald L. Davis, is the federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide.  Since 1995, the COPS Office has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance.  For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.

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Updated November 21, 2014