Law enforcement operations have been heavily altered through the effects of COVID-19. Substitute methods of penalty have been applied to keep both civilians and front-line workers at a lower risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Quarantine regulations presented complications within departments nationwide as many officers did not return to duty after their temporary leave had ended. Due to a lack in personnel, strategic planning was necessary to rebuild new shift schedules. So, how will departments bounce back post COVID-19 changes? What changes will revert to original procedure and which will remain?
COVID-19 Policing Changes
Police departments and other counterparts reconfigured policing efforts with COVID-19 as the center of concern. New policies and modified procedures were temporarily put in place to equally benefit police officers and civilians against the invisible threat, COVID-19. Listed below are recommendations for pandemic policing, taken from non-profit organization, Center for American Progress:
- Reduce police stops and custodial arrests
- Prioritize responding to and preventing domestic violence
- Distribute and require personal protective equipment (PPE) to every officer on duty
- Limit amount of calls for service that officers physically respond to
By creating these short-term modifications, police departments were able to reimagine and restructure policing efforts. With protocols lasting several months, new methods of policing are being experimented. These experiences under updated methods of patrol are giving insight on what may be an ultramodern spin on traditional practices of policing.
What Changes Will Remain After COVID-19 Restrictions Are Lifted?
The future presents numerous questions in which most do not know the answer to. For police and other vital workers, this can create a disconnect in effective planning and safety. Consistency is a great way to ensure productivity and safety when other concerns are left uncertain. Creating an expectation within your department to uphold and abide by simple restrictions, such as wearing a face mask, can reassure the public and reduce the risk of contamination.
Adjustments made during the pandemic may be more effective than what was previously established. For instance, the use and reliance on technology has spiked within the law enforcement industry. The more jobs that can be assisted through technology, the less physical contact needed. However, when the pandemic truly subsides, technological resources that have been applied will mostly likely remain in use due to their efficiency.
Effective Alternatives for Performance Goals and Execution
With these unprecedented times, budgeting time and money are important to note. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) Best Practices Guide, personnel services take up approximately 85% of a department’s total budget.
Particularly for smaller police agencies, managing yearly budgets is critical to ensure safety and security among civilians and staff. However, managing a squad within a smaller department through automated scheduling makes for easy, visible changes. Regardless of your department’s size, with automated scheduling, the entire workforce has access to viewing schedules with any device. This increases communication and understanding between staff and makes for a more cohesive change.