I think it is safe to say that 2016 has been a year that many of us will remember for a very long time. The question is, what will we remember about 2016?
Will we just remember the Presidential election? Will we remember a favorite entertainer or political figure that passed, or a major sporting event? Will we remember the very difficult year that the men and women in policing have had while attempting to serve and protect? Or will we remember the difficult times communities had trying to understand complicated policing issues?
This year has been particularly challenging, with unacceptable attacks on police, an astounding number of ambush attacks, controversial police use-of-force cases and community protests. We struggled to find strategies that reduce and keep crime low, while building community trust. Don’t get me wrong, policing’s men and women responded well, with unity, pride, courage, and a redoubling of efforts to reach out, despite protests and violence. I am proud of my former colleagues who serve as Chiefs, Sheriffs, Directors, Commissioners and Superintendents, who have done more than their share to understand and engage the community and political leaders, but also fulfill their solemn duty to support, defend, and lead those who serve. And I am proud of the work we’ve undertaken to support them and to help communities build trust and confidence in their policing agencies.
The Police Foundation is honored to serve and support these leaders and the many outstanding men and women who form the thin blue line that separates good from evil, trust from betrayal, and honor from dishonor. Together, they are the foundation of our democracy. Our 2016 accomplishments and successes are dedicated to each of them, and they are significant.
In 2016, the Police Foundation conducted a critical incident review of the devastating terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, and we reached hundreds of law enforcement officers with information about near-misses, based on reports to our Law Enforcement Officer Near Miss Database. We published a foot patrol study that demonstrated the potential of foot patrols in reducing crime and enhancing community relations. We developed and released a popular and practical infographic on use of force that has been utilized in dozens of agencies around the country for training staff and educating citizens, and we launched an online blog series called “On Policing”, giving policing leaders and others an opportunity to share their thoughts on America’s most noble profession. Several of these projects were funded entirely, or in large part, by the Police Foundation itself, without reliance on grants or contracts.
We are hopeful that 2017 will be a better year for policing. But we also know that our work – advancing policing through innovation and science – will be needed more than ever. Our research portfolio has expanded tremendously. We started a new study on the effect of legitimacy in hot spots policing, are continuing an unprecedented data collection effort with the Major Cities Chiefs to study officer-involved shootings, and will serve as the sustaining partner for the National Police Research Platform, a groundbreaking initiative to provide law enforcement agencies with near real-time access to data and analysis. Our training and technical assistance portfolio will expand to assist agencies in leveraging technology, enhancing officer safety, and improving the quality of law enforcement investigations. At the same time, we will continue efforts to further explore the use of unmanned systems, advanced analytics and data practices, robotics, and virtual and augmented realities.
To continue making progress – to see research put into practice, officer safety improved, and the development of a profession more prepared for future challenges – we need your help. As we prepare for new challenges in 2017, please consider making a donation to support the work we do for law enforcement professionals. To make a donation, please click here or click the Donate button below. The Police Foundation is an exempt organization under IRC section 501(c)(3). Donations are deductible to the full extent of the law and will help us continue our critical work.