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ACCPD believes in the Community Policing philosophy and instills Community Policing values in its employees, policies, and training. Community Policing "promotes strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime" - U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services. As one part of these efforts, the Department has a Community Liaison Program that pairs individual officers with more than 100 groups, organizations, or associations from among the community (e.g., churches, Homeowners Associations, Business Associations, non-profits, etc). By forming lasting partnerships with our community stakeholders, our officers better understand problems from the community’s perspective, and together, we develop improved long-term solutions for addressing the root causes of these problems. Our goal is to police the community in a manner that co-produces public safety with our community and enhances our legitimacy as guardians of the Athens community.
ACCPD’s policy and expectation is for our officers to discharge their duties in a procedurally just manner. The tenets of procedural justice in policing begin with treating all people with dignity and respect. We believe that every human being deserves respect regardless of the circumstances that bring them in contact with the police. An extension of dignity and respect for the person is the recognition that every person has a voice, a perspective. Officers who embrace procedural justice allow citizens the opportunity to voice their thoughts, concerns, and opinions (when circumstances allow) and genuinely listen before making a decision or taking enforcement action. However, once a decision is made or an action taken, the procedurally just officer is transparent and takes the time to explain his/her actions. Procedural justice recognizes the trust enhancing benefits of Transparency in Policing and good communication. When our officers embrace procedural justice in their police actions, they recognize that how they treat each and every person matters, and very often matters more so than the outcome of the encounter. This is the essence of procedural justice in policing.
ACCPD believes that the sanctity of life and protection of life is at the core of everything we do. The fundamental principle is prioritizing the preservation of human life (all lives) above any other value. We instill this value in our officers through our policies on Use of Force, as well as the training we provide our officers (e.g., Integrating Communication Assessment and Tactics [ICAT]). When our officers embrace the sanctity of life principle, the recognize each person they encounter as a life worth saving regardless of the circumstances. Officers embracing this principle actively work to gain compliance and achieve other lawful objectives by exhausting other reasonable means (e.g., communications, tactics) before resorting to force.
ACCPD’s motto is to protect and serve as guardians of the Athens community. We instill the guardian mindset into each of our officers through our culture at ACCPD. Officers who embrace the guardian mindset see themselves as protectors of the community who work with and for the community to co-produce public safety. The actions of the guardian are not driven by fear but out of a desire (even at the risk of personal danger) to stand together with the public and rid the community of crime, social disorder, and fear of crime. The warrior, on the other hand, sees the community as something to fear and to be on guard against, not to embrace. Our officers embrace their community and strive to carry out their duties with the mindsets and hearts of guardians.