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Article - 4 ways to stave off the 'Ferguson effect'

7/6/2016 12:00:00 AM

Cops and Kids

The 'Ferguson effect' is a trend toward a reactionary model of policing where a proactive approach to crime fighting is significantly limited


"The nobility of policing demands the noblest of character." This quote from Dr. Stephen Covey should be an overriding theme throughout this article as our profession is faced with a unique challenge right now. That challenge is derisively referred to as the "Ferguson effect,"which developed in part from the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, although its incubation period may have already been in place before that incident.

The "Ferguson effect"is a trend toward a reactionary model of policing where a proactive approach to crime fighting is significantly limited. Basically, officers will continue to give an honest day's work, which is still rife with serious risks to their health and safety, but they may be a little more cautious to go "above and beyond"to the degree they had before.

That extra effort, which is difficult to define with a bright line or a policy statement and is not easily reflected on a timecard, is a big reason our profession is so special and why so many Americans have appreciated the work we do to try and keep them safe.

An Understandable ThingAs we see crime spike in many areas of our country, a recent survey by PoliceOne contributor David Blake - who heads an independent law enforcement consulting and training firm - found that many of the 500 officers surveyed had reducedtheir proactive efforts.

There is cause for concern that the "Ferguson effect"may be making unfortunate inroads within some of our police ranks.

It is easy to understand why many police officers may be led in this direction.

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Posted In: Articles, Community Policing/Relations, Leadership/Supervision, Mental Health,
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