Improving Exchanges with Citizens

Here we provide general guidance for high-quality exchanges with citizens, who can be  persons reporting crime, suspects , victims, witnesses, bystanders and others. Research shows that when officers act in these ways, they can not only increase citizen satisfaction with their services, but can potentially increase cooperation and compliance, even when outcomes may not be favorable to an individual (e.g., they are being arrested or a case cannot be resolved).

1. Treat parties professionally and respectfully, with restraint and empathy. This includes avoiding foul language, judgment and ridicule.

2. Respect an individual’s privacy.

3. Be neutral to all parties involved.

4. Explain to individuals the reason why you stopped them and the actions you will or have taken.

5. Explain to individuals your broader crime prevention goals and the reasons for your actions.

6. Ask victims and witnesses what they would like to see happen, or ask community members for input on how to address a problem.

7. Be empathetic by imagining yourself in the individual’s shoes.

8. Thank people for their time, statements, and cooperation.

In an effort to provide helpful suggestions in areas that have not yet been fully studied or evaluated, we have included ideas for responses and activities that may not yet be considered evidence-based or evidence-informed. Therefore, not all actions and strategies included within this App are evidence-based or evidence-informed.