New Manual Identifies Community Policing Strategies to Prevent Violent Extremism

[ 0 ] June 24, 2016

by JACKIE OGBURN, PRESS RELEASE, SANFORD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY on JUNE 21, 2016:

DURHAM, N.C. — A new manual designed for police departments identifies a set of promising practices for using community policing to prevent violent extremism.

“Creating a comprehensive community outreach program can build the kind of trust necessary to combat violent extremism,” said Elizabeth Miller, lead author of the report and a research associate at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).

The manual is based on a research project led by David Schanzer, associate professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

“We believe community outreach and engagement with communities are key to preventing more tragedies like the one that took place in Orlando,” Schanzer said.

“Building trust between communities, the police and other government agencies can create the type of environment where community members will feel more comfortable identifying individuals who may be contemplating violence,” Schanzer said.

The importance of community policing cannot be overstated, said Jessica Toliver, director of technical assistance at PERF. “Using the tools and strategies outlined within this practitioner manual will assist police executives and their outreach teams in building relationships of trust with all members of the community,” Toliver said.

The manual includes advice on how police departments can plan and implement a community outreach and engagement program to prevent violent extremism. These techniques can be used to address multiple forms of violent extremism and promote public safety.

The recommendations include:

    • Using a “whole of community approach” so that no single ethnic or minority group feels singled out for scrutiny;
    • Ensuring that community outreach and engagement programs are kept separate from police units that collect intelligence and conduct criminal investigations;
    • Staffing programs with officers who are committed to community interaction and reflect the racial, ethnic, religious and gender composition of communities they serve;
    • Partnering with other local agencies to provide needed social and mental health services to community members;
    • Creating intervention programs to assess and, if appropriate, provide services to individuals who have not engaged in criminal activity but may be at risk of engaging in violent extremism.

The research project and manual were funded by the National Institute of Justice, United States Department of Justice. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these publications are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.

The manual, “Promising Practices for Using Community Policing to Prevent Violent Extremism: How to Create and Implement a Community Outreach Program” by Elizabeth Miller, Jessica Toliver, and David Schanzer, is available online here.

The research report, “The Challenge and Promise of Using Community Policing Strategies to Prevent Violent Extremism,” is available online here.

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