The Immediate Future of Policing in the United States: Balancing Priorities for Productivity and People


Policing in the United States has long been discussed and debated. Recent events around the country regarding purported police use of unnecessary force have highlighted the urgent need for nationwide change within law enforcement agencies. While many police leaders prioritize political considerations, policy, and procedures, it is essential to reassess these priorities and emphasize productivity for the real police and the citizens they serve. I will explore how a shift towards a more balanced approach can shape the immediate future of policing in the United States.

1. The Importance of Political Considerations:

It is undeniable that politics plays a significant role in policing strategies and decision-making processes. Police leaders often navigate complex relationships with elected officials, community leaders, and interest groups. However, when political considerations dominate policing practices, it can detract from their primary goal of ensuring public safety.

Striking a balance between political expectations and unbiased law enforcement is crucial. Police leaders should actively engage with communities to understand their needs while maintaining independence from undue political influence. Agencies can rebuild citizens' trust by fostering transparency and accountability from the criminal subculture while addressing legitimate concerns policymakers raise. In addition, during critical incidents, concerning police officers' due process should be respected and treated like all American citizens. 

2. Policy Development as an Enabler:

Policy forms the backbone of any successful organization, including law enforcement agencies. However, excessively rigid policies can hinder the agility to adapt quickly to evolving societal challenges or emerging criminal trends.

Instead of solely focusing on creating stringent policies and subjective policy violations that restrict officers' discretion, police leaders must encourage a culture of continuous improvement through policy development. This involves regular evaluation of existing policies based on feedback from officers on the ground and input from affected communities. By involving various stakeholders in policy discussions, agencies can ensure that their decisions reflect real-world experiences while balancing competing interests.

3. Procedures: Finding Flexibility within Structure:

Standardized procedures are essential for fairness, uniformity, and professionalism across law enforcement agencies. However, rigid adherence to protocols can sometimes overshadow the core principles of community-oriented policing, responsiveness, and adaptability.

Police leaders should recognize that while procedures provide structure, they must allow room for flexibility when necessary. Encouraging officers to exercise discretion within predefined boundaries can promote problem-solving and creative solutions tailored to specific circumstances. Training programs should emphasize critical thinking skills alongside procedural knowledge, empowering officers to make informed decisions that prioritize public safety while respecting individual rights.

4. Prioritizing Productivity for Police and People:

Ultimately, police leaders must ensure that productivity remains a central focus in their approach to policing. This means equipping officers with the necessary resources, training, and technology to address issues affecting communities efficiently. 

A productive police force responds effectively to crime and proactively engages with the community through education programs, neighborhood patrols, or social service collaborations. By shifting towards a more proactive mindset, police departments can work collaboratively with citizens to prevent crime rather than solely reacting after incidents occur. This strategy can be use identified and arrest violent criminals off the streets.


The immediate future of policing in the US hinges on striking a balance between political considerations, policy development, procedure adherence, and productivity for both the police force and the people they serve. By reevaluating priorities and fostering a culture of accountability and transparency within law enforcement agencies, we can build stronger relationships between communities and police officers. Through continuous improvement efforts that involve all stakeholders, positive changes can be made to ensure public safety is at the forefront without compromising individual rights or stifling innovation within law enforcement practices.