Citizen Advisory Boards are designed to ensure that members of the public are actively involved in the policy-making process. According to Miller (2018), these councils were constituted as a way of addressing the concern that members of the public are often ignored when enacting and implementing policies that affect their lives directly. As such, these forums offer them the opportunity to understand the relevance of the new policies and to participate in their implementation.
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They are meant to build mutual trust between the public and different government organs meant to formulate and implement these policies. Although some stakeholders have complained about the length of time it takes to have a policy approved by these boards, the outcome is often beneficial to parties involved. In this essay, the aim is to discuss the benefits of this trust-building technique to improve service delivery among the local police.
Maintaining law and order in the country is one of the most challenging tasks in any country. Police officers are constantly expected to ensure that citizens, some of whom have decided to embrace crime as their way of life, do not break the law. When an offense of any nature is committed, these officers are expected to conduct a thorough investigation and to present a convincing case to the court so that those who break the law can be subjected to appropriate punishment.
It is not easy for these officers to execute their duties without proper support from members of the community. According to Nalla and Newman (2014), the Federal Bureau of Investigation is often considered one of the most efficient investigative authorities in the world because of its ability to get the necessary tips from members of the public. The officers may not be present at scenes of crime. They have to rely on people who witnessed the events to help them find vital leads when conducting investigations.
The local police chiefs often find it challenging when it comes to enforcing some laws or conducting an investigation. Miller (2018) laments that the rate at which police officers are attacked by members of the public is worrying. It has created a constant fear among the officers who are then forced to use lethal force at the slightest of provocation. Such actions further erode trust, making a section of the society convinced that they also have to be ready to use lethal force to defend themselves against rogue officers (Thurman & McGarrell, 2015). Working in such a hostile environment where trust is totally lost can be frustrating.
Citizen advisory councils offer a perfect platform through which such mistrusts and suspicions can be eliminated. Members of the public can be invited into such forums to discuss their concerns. The officers can also discuss the challenges they face. In the end, a policy can be developed that is acceptable to both the law enforcers and members of the public. When mutual trust and friendship are developed, members of the public will become partners in law enforcement within a given area.
It is true that public participation in policy-making can be time-consuming. It may also give an opportunity for some disgruntled members of the community to unfairly express their frustrations against the officers (Thurman & McGarrell, 2015). However, these forums also offer a perfect platform to create mutual trust and a foundation upon which members of the public can work closely with law enforcement agencies. Police chiefs should embrace a positive attitude towards these forums as a way of making the work of their officers easy and safe.
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Miller, L. S. (2018). Community policing: Partnerships for problem solving (8th ed.). New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Nalla, M.K., & Newman, G.R. (Eds.). (2014). Community policing in indigenous communities. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.
Thurman, Q., & McGarrell, E.F. (2015). Community policing in a rural setting (2nd ed.). London, UK: Routledge.