This is a guide for police professionals on how to conceptualize, develop, and implement a community outreach program that will develop productive partnerships between police and community members for improving public safety, with the result that violent extremism and other public-safety concerns are addressed.
The recommendations in this guide were developed from a 2-year study conducted by Duke University, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It was conducted between June 2013 and April 2015. The purposes, methodology, and findings of this study provided the basis for the recommendations in the current report. Study findings and linked recommendations are presented in two parts. The first part pertains to the responsibilities of police executives and/or police officials charged with developing their departments’ outreach programs. The recommendations provided pertain to planning and implementing an outreach program. The second part of the guide is intended for outreach officers/civilian outreach team members. It presents research-based best practices for developing and maintaining relationships with community members, with attention to common challenges for police-community interaction and cooperation and how to address them. The broad-based approach to community safety through police-community cooperation is recommended as a strategy for addressing violent extremism, rather than a strategy that deals exclusively with countering violent extremism. This is considered a more cost-effective strategy for the use of police and community resources.