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7 Top Reasons Policing in the Post Pandemic World is Better

7 Top Reasons Policing in the Post Pandemic World is Better

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 Brian Humenuk | Author | COPJOT

By Brian Humenuk, MA, COPJOT

Released: February 13, 2024

4-minute read or less

 

Introduction

It was only a few years ago that law enforcement worldwide was policing the pandemic.

Officially May 11, 2023 was declared as the day the COVID-19 pandemic was over. However for the men and women in law enforcement the end of the pandemic was the day the mandatory masks came off and social distancing ended.

With our minds still fresh from the pandemic events now is a great time to take a look at policing in the early 2020’s.How did it all turn out?

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, law enforcement agencies worldwide have been forced to adapt and evolve. Policing in a post-pandemic world presents both challenges and opportunities, requiring a reevaluation of strategies and the integration of innovative solutions.

As most were quarantined the men and women of law enforcement were on the front lines providing mostly business as usual services but with a twist.

What was that twist?

It was a shift away from traditional policing during a rapidly changing world that had many agencies on the defense to an enemy that was not human but within humans.

As I was doing the research and outlining for this article, I felt like I was right back in the middle of grad school both academically speaking and going to work everyday wondering what has changed overnight and what might change that day, for the better or for the worst.

We should give ourselves more credit than we do because although surviving the pandemic wasn’t boot camp or the police academy it was certainly exhausting, definitely longer and has permanently changed the course of law enforcement in a few different ways.

This article takes a deep dive into the impact of the pandemic on law enforcement, the adjustments made by agencies, and the potential future trends shaping the landscape of policing.

The Immediate Impact of the Pandemic on Law Enforcement

The onset of the pandemic brought about unprecedented challenges for law enforcement agencies. The need to enforce lockdowns, social distancing measures, and manage public safety during a health crisis stretched resources thin.

Officers faced new risks and protocols, adjusting their approach to ensure both community safety and their own well-being.

As Law Enforcement lost many hard-working men and women to the virus itself, many agency heads and union heads were pointing fingers at each other as local governments required the first responders be the ones to put masks on or remove others from businesses for non-mask requirements.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a seismic shift in law enforcement operations, demanding an instantaneous response to the evolving crisis.

The immediate impact on law enforcement agencies was multifaceted, ranging from ensuring officers' safety to enforcing public health measures. Police officers found themselves on the front lines, not only contending with traditional law enforcement duties but also tasked with implementing and enforcing pandemic-related regulations.

In the face of uncertainty, law enforcement had to swiftly adapt to new protocols and operational procedures.

Officers faced heightened risks of exposure to the virus, prompting the implementation of safety measures such as personal protective equipment (PPE), changes in patrol strategies, and modifications to arrest and detention procedures.

The need to strike a delicate balance between ensuring public safety and protecting officers from the novel coronavirus presented an unprecedented challenge with no end In sight.

The pandemic also spurred a reevaluation of community engagement strategies. Traditional methods of community policing, such as face-to-face interactions and community events, were curtailed to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Law enforcement agencies had to swiftly pivot, utilizing technology to maintain connections with the communities they serve. Virtual town hall meetings, online crime prevention seminars, and increased social media presence became critical tools in fostering community relations at a time when physical interactions were limited.

Moreover, law enforcement agencies were tasked with managing public compliance with pandemic-related restrictions. This introduced a unique set of challenges, requiring officers to delicately enforce regulations while maintaining community trust.

Instances of pandemic-related crime, including fraud and price gouging, necessitated a heightened focus on economic crimes, adding to the complexity of law enforcement's responsibilities.

The immediate impact of the pandemic on law enforcement was not only operational but also psychological.

Officers faced increased stress and burnout due to the uncertainty, elevated risks, and the demanding nature of their roles during a public health crisis. Addressing the mental health and well-being of officers became a pressing concern, prompting agencies to implement support programs and resources to mitigate the toll of the pandemic on their personnel.

Let's deep dive into the 7 top reasons policing in a post pandemic world is better.

1. Post Pandemic Technological Advancements in Policing

Police Administrators were quickly forced into learning and implementing technology which on a normal day takes an act of congress.

But post pandemic technology became a notable shift in policing which was accelerated due to COVID-19. For instance, agencies have embraced remote communication tools, virtual training programs, and digital evidence management systems.

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) for predictive policing and data analytics has become critical in anticipating and addressing emerging crime trends.

For smaller agencies reporting incidents by phone or email left officers safer and aware that their presence at every call for service just wasn’t as important as everyone thought it was.

SEO Keywords: Post-pandemic policing, technological advancements in law enforcement, AI in policing, digital evidence management.

Community Engagement in a Socially Distanced Era

Although most of the world was told to go hide, law enforcement agencies needed to maintain their presence and their face with the community especially when things went wrong.

During the pandemic law enforcement agencies were tasked with finding innovative ways to maintain open lines of communication, build trust, and address the unique concerns of the communities.

For many, as fast as the challenge became recognizable the solution was tested and implemented.

Since the pandemic larger urban police agencies have seen a significant shift in the face of global events and the subsequent need for physical distancing. Still to this day you can see people out in public wearing masks which tells us there is still hesitation to be in community meetings and forums where the treatment of illness lies.

Although I am sure community policing officers are happy to get back out into the local conversations, virtual town hall meetings, online community forums, and increased use of social media platforms have become essential tools for fostering transparency and open communication.

SEO Keywords: Community policing post-pandemic, virtual community engagement, social media in law enforcement.

Mental Health and Well-Being of Officers

The pandemic heightened awareness of the mental health challenges faced by law enforcement officers. Many have the belief that without the pandemic we wouldn’t be where we are when it comes to law enforcement mental health awareness.

Agencies large and small have recognized the importance of prioritizing officer well-being, implemented mental health programs, and are providing resources for stress management.

If you don’t believe it just ask me. Since coming on the job over 20 years ago I have never felt that law enforcement mental health was more of a priority than it is today.

Is it “The Priority?” Is it backtracking? Is it genuine? I’ll leave that up to you and where you are from because what most of us that are the daily lifeblood of the thin blue line know is that what might be in California may not even be on the map in Kentucky or Massachusetts.

Maybe that would be a great follow up article… Stay tuned.

But for now lets continue to dive in.

Public Health and Emergency Preparedness

The pandemic underscored the interconnectedness of public health and law enforcement.

I’ll say that another way.

Because of the pandemic many of us saw that a strong connection does exist, although we may have never known it, between public health and law enforcement.

If you are a person who didn’t see this connection, take 5 minutes and think about what the front-line officers and administrators were doing during the pandemic.

They were working together involved in communication and coordination for a better good.

Agencies have revisited their emergency preparedness plans, emphasizing collaborative efforts with public health officials.

Law Enforcement adapts to a virtual hiring process and recruit training 

Virtual Hiring Processes

The conventional methods of in-person interviews, physical fitness tests, and group assessments underwent a paradigm shift. To adhere to social distancing guidelines and minimize the risk of virus transmission, law enforcement agencies swiftly adopted virtual hiring processes.

Video interviews became the norm, allowing agencies to assess candidates' suitability while minimizing face-to-face interactions. Background checks, written exams, and psychological assessments also transitioned to virtual platforms, demonstrating the adaptability of law enforcement agencies in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Remote Training Initiatives

Training, a fundamental aspect of law enforcement, faced a substantial overhaul as traditional classrooms and hands-on exercises became potential vectors for virus transmission.

Law enforcement agencies implemented remote training initiatives, leveraging technology to conduct virtual training sessions. Officers participated in online courses covering a spectrum of topics, from crisis management to community policing strategies.

While the absence of physical presence presented its own set of challenges, agencies demonstrated resilience by embracing e-learning platforms to maintain the education and skill development of their personnel.

Police agencies and recruit academies barely ever shut down. The made it a priority to adapt and overcome, a core principle that is taught to new police officers was now being practiced by the actual people who taught it.

Experience in Overcoming a Major Pandemic

Like a successful football team who has played in the super bowl a few times, experience plays a part in future success.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic every law enforcement agency in the world has now lived through and operated during a major pandemic. Experiences like this put us in a better position to do it again and be successful if that day comes.

And..

There now exists a sort of play book or operating manual during a global widespread and sustained transmission of a contagious disease.

Conclusion

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Law enforcement agencies worldwide have demonstrated resilience by adopting new strategies to ensure public safety while safeguarding the well-being of officers and communities.

The pandemic has prompted a reevaluation of policing methods, emphasizing community engagement, transparency, and accountability all while never hesitating to responding to 911 dialers.

As law enforcement embraces these innovations, a post-pandemic world presents an opportunity for a more agile, resilient, and community-oriented approach to policing. The lessons learned during this period will undoubtedly shape the future of law enforcement, fostering a more responsive and technologically adept paradigm that enhances public safety and trust.

About the Author

Brian Humenuk isn't just an entrepreneur in eCommerce, he is also an informed leader whose experience provides followers and visitors with a look into current and past police issues making headlines in the United States.

Brian has earned three degrees in Criminal Justice with the last, a Masters of Science in Criminal Justice Administration.

Brian extends his training, education, and experience to the officers just now getting into the field so that they may become more informed police officers and stay clear of police misconduct and corruption. 

You can find Brian on Linkedin here.

Affiliate Disclosure

COPJOT is supported by its audience. If you make a purchase through links on this site I may earn a small affiliate commission. Enough to buy myself a small coffee and I want to thank you in advance. 

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