Let’s see how another police department does it

logo Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police logo

Because of what’s on the plate in front of us, Gadfly is trying to think about and get you to think about policing and our police department from as many angles as possible.

Last post Gadfly asked you to think about how the Bethlehem police represent themselves in a recruiting video.

Now let’s take a look at Allentown.  Compare the two recruiting videos.  What do you see?

Perhaps the most important thing to think about is how appropriate each video is in this period of intense national conversation following the murder of George Floyd.

What do these videos tell us about how each department sees its relation to the public and the kind of officer it wants to recruit?

This Allentown video below is pertinent too as we think about the nature of policing. It made me think of the “Building Trust” section of the Obama-era 21st Century Policing report that Alison Steele turned me on to in one of her Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist posts, that “Law enforcement culture should embrace a guardian—rather than a warrior—mindset to build trust and legitimacy both within agencies and with the public.”

Police. Guardian rather than warrior. Food for thought.

Gadfly knows he’s loading this post with too much, but since we’re talking about Allentown here’s their use of force policy to compare with ours.

2 thoughts on “Let’s see how another police department does it

  1. I was surprised by my reaction Allentown’s recruiting video and its use-of-force policy — I think they are both better than Bethlehem’s. (I must admit that I didn’t really have any sound basis for assuming Bethlehem’s would be better, except a good feeling about the BPD. The video seems to me to be much more friendly and community-centric, and while the use-of-force policy is written in a way that may be easier for the average person to follow (even if the two policies are similar in many respects and the Allentown policy does have some points that I would consider problematic).

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  2. I also want to suggest that people look at Flagstaff AZ, a city similar in size to Bethlehem. I haven’t compared the two policies point by point, but I think it’s worth noting the way Flagstaff publishes their full policy manual online; they introduce it with a statement from the Chief and a statement of their ‘Code of Ethics’. The link below is to the full policy manual; the use of force is discussed in chapter 3.
    [https://www.flagstaff.az.gov/DocumentCenter/View/48780/FPD-POLICY-MANUAL] (PDF)

    Whether the reality corresponds or not, it conveys a feeling that the PD is more focused on serving than on controlling.

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