The 21st Century Policing Task Force Report offers several recommendations for building enhanced relationships between law enforcement officers and the community that they serve, including
acknowledging the role of policing in past and present injustices. One of the recommendations notes the importance of embracing a guardian mindset.
An example of acknowledging past and present injustices is the history walk in the Atlanta, Georgia, Police Department (APD). There is a hallway within the department that greets visitors and employees with images of the department’s past. There are pictures and newspaper clippings of the City of Atlanta and the police department’s historical moments. The pictures convey the great strides that the department has made. The history walk shows just how far the department has come in an effort to increase justice in the City of Atlanta.
In an effort to connect with the local community and get officers top-quality training, APD
has partnered with the King Center and their Nonviolence365™ Training. Nonviolence365™ is an interactive, train-the-trainer model experience that engages participants in discussions about Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology. The curriculum was integrated into the police training academy’s program to focus on guardian mentality and to highlight the history and culture of Atlanta.
Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy advocates for seeking to defeat injustice, to win understanding, and to have courage in the face of violence. Law enforcement officers are taught the nonviolent philosophy and methodology from a police perspective. The Nonviolence365™ training is way to ensure that future injustices are reduced and that officers and residents work together to produce a safe community.
Together with the help of the community, the Nonviolence365™ training focuses on the core issue and not the symptoms to significantly reduce violence and disorder. The training is a holistic training that empowers the police and the community to make the necessary changes.
The next steps in the training will be for the King Center to work with APD and help train the community and various stakeholders, such as the faith community, businesses, school administration, probation officers, judges, and youth.
This blog post is part of a series highlighting best practices in advancing 21st century policing as part of the IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations. Atlanta is one of fifteen sites selected for participation in the Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative, a joint project of the COPS Office, CNA, and the IACP to highlight agencies who are actively embracing the principles in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.