5. Stakeholder Interviews

21CPTF Diffusion Assessment

The NPF assessment team conducted a series of stakeholder interviews with individuals from a variety of organizations related to the law enforcement field. NPF conducted interviews with representative from state and local law enforcement agencies, standards and training organizations, community groups, national criminal justice organizations, academia, mayors and city managers, and federal law enforcement agencies. Additionally, NPF interviewed original members of the 21st Century Policing Task Force (“Task Force”).

Individual stakeholders were asked a series of questions pertaining to the six pillars referenced in the 21CPTF Final Report, including their opinion on their current importance in the law enforcement field. These pillars are: Building Trust and Legitimacy, Policy and Oversight, Technology and Social Media, Community Policing and Crime Reduction, Training and Education, and Officer Wellness and Safety. Through an analysis of the stakeholders’ responses, the NPF assessment team was able to derive the information below.

During each remote interview, which was conducted and recorded via Zoom, NPF staff took notes according to the interviewees’ responses to questions regarding the six pillars mentioned in the 21CPTF Report. These notes and recordings were uploaded to a secure “Human Subjects Restricted” folder within NPF’s cloud storage service. All local copies were subsequently deleted from the NPF staff members’ personal computers. In each interview, participants were asked: for each of the issues listed below, are these still considered a priority today for stakeholders, decision makers, lawmakers, police chiefs, and city managers?
  1. Building trust and legitimacy
  2. Policy and oversight
  3. Technology, data, and social media
  4. Community policing and crime reduction
  5. Training and education
  6. Officer wellness and safety

In addition, the participants were asked to comment generally on the utility and value of the report itself. In total, NPF staff completed 46 interviews with individuals from a multitude of organizations, community groups, and law enforcement agencies. Responses were organized in a spreadsheet with the aforementioned question categories as tabs. Each interview served as a unit of observation that included participant(s) name(s), agency or affiliation, agency type, and answers to the questions. Additional variable columns were populated with common themes derived from the 21CPTFR literature and interview data. Each tab had its own set of themes and each interview was examined by multiple NPF staff. If an interviewee mentioned a theme during the interview, “1” was coded in the corresponding cell to denote “yes, this theme is related to this pillar.” For any discrepancies that arose during amongst the different coding spreadsheet, a consensus was reached prior to finalizing.
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5.1 Building Trust & Legitimacy


regarded the themes “warrior mentality,” “occupying force,” and “militarization” as detrimental to building trust and legitimacy between police and communities


stated that a “guardian mindset” needs to be adopted by law enforcement officers in order to build stronger relationships with the public

We in law enforcement serve the people to hopefully exceed their expectations. We are not an occupying force to come and police them, we are public servants to come alongside them and enhance public safety. It is not only the role of the police to make sure any community is safe, it’s a collective among the people that we serve…When the community trusts us, when we have legitimacy in their eyes, we have better cooperation, we have better public safety, we have a better ability to bring people to the table and collectively address challenges that our communities face.

5.2 Policy & Oversight


believed that civilian oversight bodies should receive some sort of formal training.

“You want to have oversight to some degree, however these oversight bodies become very political in nature and they’re filled by political appointees and they may not have expertise on how policing works. So, they might put out stipulations that don’t necessarily make sense, but they fit a political agenda. They should have some training and some experience in policing.”

5.3 Technology & Social Media


highlighted that law enforcement agencies must ensure that policies are in place to govern and guide the usage of new technologies.

I think they [leaders in law enforcement] put a higher value on this than almost anything else because it’s a tangible thing that you can see; I think vendors are very good at selling technology…the unfortunate thing is that policy has never caught up to technology and the proper use, proper storage of the data.

5.4: Community Policing & Crime Reduction


interviewees stated that building healthy relationships between police and the community is crucial to achieving public safety.

…I believe that the most successful places you look at across the country have this [community policing] as a philosophy. The relationships that they form with the community, when officers go out into the field on their own time, not as officers, builds a relationship with the community that is the essence of was COP (community-oriented policing) is. It isn’t necessarily police work, but it does mitigate crime.

5.5 Community Policing & Crime Reduction


of the interviewees mentioned budget cuts and funding issues as a threat to officer training.

(Training is) critical, and I understand economic issues, and other government services are important. But if we want the best qualified public servants in law enforcement, and we want to avoid some of the problems that we have, training is a critical part of that…And it’s about guiding what a guardian mindset truly is, and they (officers) have to hear what this culture is about and what it means to serve here. We have to keep training; we have perishable skills…Budget cuts on training will only make the problems worse, and for a longer amount of time.

5.6 Officer Wellness & Safety


agreed that although the rates of officer suicide are more readily acknowledged, more dialogue, understanding, and solutions are needed

“There is a general acceptance that the rates of [officer] suicide have grown exponentially, and that something needs to be done about it…There’s definitely less of a stigma, but again, there’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. It’s grown in visibility, but maybe there aren’t enough solutions yet.”