Law enforcement officers are tasked with serving and protecting the community on a daily basis, but there are also other ways to contribute when off duty. Community well-being, as defined by the GALLUP/Healthways Well-Being 5 framework, refers to having pride and a sense of security in one’s community. Individuals with strong community well-being have recognized parts of their community that could be enhanced, and will use their own capabilities to contribute to its enrichment. No matter the size of the contribution, the individual recognizes that his or her augmentation has an impact on the community at large.
At its most basic element, community well-being focuses on whether an individual feels secure in his or her own neighborhood and whether the neighborhood is something to be proud of. Taking it a step further, however, community well-being focuses on the level of positive interaction one has with his or her community. According to GALLUP’s research, community is important to one’s overall well-being because it promotes interactions with others, which can increase one’s social network, and can contribute to accomplishing goals and establishing a sense of purpose in one’s life.
Community well-being is of the upmost importance for law enforcement officers since they are assigned to protect the community in which they live. It is important that law enforcement and the community have a strong working relationship built on trust and cooperation; this ensures that officers can safely and effectively perform their duties and that citizens understand and accept the role of law enforcement. Considering the importance of community well-being, GALLUP comprised a list of three suggestions that may lead to an increase in community well-being:
- Find a way you can contribute to your community by focusing on your individual capabilities.
- Talk to people in your community about your strengths in order to increase your chance of being connected with associated groups in your community.
- Starting small is the best way to increase your community well-being.
It is the IACP’s position that no injury to or death of a law enforcement professional is acceptable. The IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness strives to improve awareness on all aspects of officer safety, health, and wellness. Please feel free to contact the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what well-being means to you.