Service Before Self, Honor Above All

Policing in the 21st Century

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Advancing 21st Century Policing Overview

We know community policing works in Arlington.  In Washington D.C. last summer, the Department of Justice recognized the Arlington Police Department as a “forward thinking” agency when it comes to building trust and community collaborations.

The Arlington Police Department is one of 15 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. chosen to lead a charge to ensure that law enforcement remains a valued and trusted part of the community. Trust is critical to the stability of our city and the safety of each and every individual.

In 2014, a national task force was formed and charged with identifying best practices and making recommendations on how  the country’s more than 118,000 police departments can promote effective crime reduction while building trust.

Their recommendations and action items were all centered around six pillars. The six pillars are often described as the “gold standards of policing for the 21st century.” The Arlington Police Department is dedicated to following these standards to build an even better agency for its residents.

This website highlights our efforts toward becoming a model police department for the 21st century.

What is the Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative?

An Executive Order was issued in 2014 establishing the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. This action came at a time when tragic events occurring in the U.S. were exposing rifts in the relationships between police officers and the community we are sworn to protect and serve.

The task force was charged with identifying best practices and recommendations on how policing practices across America can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust.

A Summary of Policing in Arlington

Under the leadership of Police Chief Will Johnson, the Arlington Police Department engages in strong community policing efforts every day to prevent crime, build trust and strengthen police/community relations.

From within the city’s four geographic areas, teams of police officers are available to participate in activities with schools, faith-based, civic and youth groups.  Officers do more than attend community events. They are hosting meetings and actively participating in community discussions. Officers have also implemented effective mentoring programs.  The Mentoring Arlington Youth Program, for example, pairs minority at-risk adolescent males with officers for an 18 months of structured after school workshops and activities. Another program, Coach 5-0, is allowing officers to mentor and work closely with student athletes.

Arlington leads the nation in celebrating police and community partnerships as part of its participation in National Night Out. In a comparison of large U.S. cities with populations over 300,000 people, Arlington ranks #2 in the country in National Night Out participation.  With a commitment to procedural justice, APD is also focused on enhancing officer wellness, training and policy development.

When it comes to safety, nothing is more important than trust and mutual respect between police officers and the community.

Six Pillars: Building Blocks of Community Policing

Pillar 2: Policy and Oversight

Pillar Two emphasizes that if police are to carry out their responsibilities according to established policies, these policies must reflect community values. Law enforcement agencies should collaborate with community members, specifically in areas disproportionally impacted by crime, to develop policies and strategies for deploying resources that aim to reduce crime, foster cooperation, increase community engagement and build relationships.

Click here for our report. 

Click here for video.

Pillar 3: Technology and Social Media

Pillar Three guides the implementation, use and evaluation of technology and social media for law enforcement agencies. While national standards for the research and development of new technology being built, law enforcement agencies are asked to adopt model policies and best practices for technology-based community engagement that increases trust and access.

Click here to see what Arlington is doing?

Pillar 4: Community Policing and Crime Reduction

Pillar Four focuses on the importance of community policing as a guiding philosophy in reducing crime. Community policing emphasizes neighborhoods working together with law enforcement to identify problems and collaborate on solutions.  This Pillar also requires communities to recognize the voices of its youth in decision making and problem solving and offer leadership and life skills training that builds positive youth/police interactions. 

Click here to see what Arlington PD is doing?

Pillar 5: Training and Education

The need for expanded and more effective training is becoming critical. Today’s officers and leaders must be trained and capable to address a wide variety of challenges ranging from international terrorism to immigration, changing laws and issues of mental health. Pillar Five focuses on the training and education needs of law enforcement.

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Pillar 6: Officer Wellness and Safety

The wellness and safety of law enforcement officers is critical to the public safety profession. Pillar Six emphasizes the support and effective implementation of officer wellness and safety training programs.

Click here to see what Arlington PD is doing?