Relational Policing: Using the Power of Connection to Build Trust

Relational Policing: Using the Power of Connection to Build Trust
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-05-25
Unit 1Slide Deck: Relational Policing
Unit 2Transcript: Relational Policing
Unit 3Workbook: Relational Policing
Unit 4Recording: Relational Policing

According to a Gallup Poll, the public’s confidence in law enforcement has declined for both the Black and White segments of the population and has been its lowest point in 2020. With this in mind, law enforcement departments across the US are trying to figure out ways to re-earn that confidence and trust from the communities that the profession has sworn to serve and protect.

This session’s instructor is Sheryl Victorian, the current Chief of the Waco Police Department. She has a doctorate in Administration of Justice and has had a prolific law enforcement career spanning 28 years where she’s served in various roles and assignments, including being the Assistant Chief of the Patrol for the Houston Police Department.

Topics covered in this webinar include:

  • A brief discussion of Chief Victorian’s realization in the course of her career that relationship-building with the communities is critical for the profession.
  • How the criminal justice system is being defined based on the actions of a few of its members that is highlighted while positive encounters are not being reported.
  • Trends over the years that show how the field of policing has suffered in terms of the confidence that the public places on their role.
  • The concept of relational policing that stresses the importance of community relationship and law enforcement’s role as both guardians and warriors.
  • Making a brand out of relational policing to serve as a reminder of the importance of this philosophy.
  • The tenets of relational policing.
    • Transparency that requires honesty, open communication, sharing prompt and accurate information, owning up to mistakes and challenges, and identifying areas of improvement and opportunities for growth.
    • Respect that acknowledges how every contact with the community is an opportunity to build trust.
    • Engagement with the community that allows its members to see law enforcement officers in positive interactions and environments be it in special events/programs or day-to-day duties.
    • Developing emotional capital through proactive positive relationships that can be leveraged should there be unfortunate incidents that would entail withdrawals from the emotional capital.
    • Ensuring accountability, fairness, and consistency in the due process for both community members who broke the law and law enforcement officers who do not abide by agency policies.
    • Trust-building through constant practice of the previous tenets and how this increases community cooperation, partnership and participation, advocacy, and shared understanding.
  • How leaders can apply the tenets of relational policing to build trust and relationships with their staff.
  • Procedural justice that further expands relational leadership where results trickle down the chain of command and is then demonstrated by those in the frontlines to the community they interact with.
  • Videos and photos were used to showcase how relational policing is practiced by both the Waco and Houston Police Department.

Points tackled during the Q&A are on:

  • Building relationships with alcohol and drug prevention coalitions as part of relational policing.
  • More resources on this top.
  • Applying relational policing to different scenarios and industries.
  • How the tenets of relational policing can influence recruitment strategies and training in the Academy.
  • Utilizing social media to build up on efforts related to relational policing.
  • Instances where certain tenets of relational policing may be more important than others.
  • How relational policing overlaps with mental health efforts to provide support for law enforcement officers.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “The presenter was very passionate about the topic with the first-hand experience! Waco is very fortunate to have a Chief who knows how to do it all the right way! Thank you for the easy-to-remember acronym!” — Roseann
  • “The PowerPoint was direct and to the point. Just enough slides so that the presentation did not feel rushed at all. Great job Chief!” — William
  • “How to define the position, interactive questions with statistics was very helpful. She was very well-spoken and the training was very interesting.”– Corinne
  • “I really enjoyed the way in which Chief Victorian embedded procedural justice into the TREEAT framework without making it a stand-alone focus.” — David
  • “I like the model. As the Chief said, they needed to write it down to be able to articulate what the expectations were from the Chief on how they would connect with the community.” — Chris
  • “The value of relationships, the fact that 68 percent of officers believe the public respects them (which seems a good thing) and the importance of respect. … another great webinar.” — Trent
  • “Dr. Victorian expresses #RelationalPolicing with great conviction and compassion.” — Philip



Additional Resources
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