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Toward a New Professionalism in Policing

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2011
27 pages

This paper discusses the decision by police organizations to move towards a new professionalism in their dealings with the general public.


The focus of this paper is to examine the trend in the United States of police organizations to adopt a new professionalism that includes accountability, legitimacy, innovation, and coherence. The authors draw upon their experiences to discuss these four areas: accountability - an acceptance of an obligation to account for police actions up the chain of command within police departments, local and State governments, and eventually to citizens; legitimacy - a determination to police with the consent, cooperation, and support of the people and communities being policed; innovation - actively invest in personnel and resources both in adapting policies and practices that have proven effective and in experimenting with new ideas in cooperation with the department's local partners; and national coherence - departments that exemplify the new professionalism participate in national conversations about professional policing. The authors also examine the history of the new professionalism as it began to emerge with the advent of community policing. 42 Endnotes

Date Published: March 1, 2011