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Progressing the Impact of Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy within Law Enforcement

In a Clubhouse event earlier this year, Truleo Co-Founder & CEO Anthony Tassone and VP Product Hallie Aston were joined by retired Assistant Chief of Police Anthony Trevino to discuss police legitimacy and procedural justice and their growing importance within the law enforcement community. This article summarizes the discussion, the what and why of these concepts and how body camera analytics can play a meaningful role in progress in these areas.

About Chief Trevino

In addition to serving as Assistant Chief of Police for the San Antonio PD, Chief Trevino was a police officer for 23 years and served as a Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force. During his tenure, Chief Trevino collected numerous prestigious accolades and was nominated by The Department of Justice for the Crime Suppression Award. Today, he sits on several technology committees as he continues to seek ways to serve the public.

In San Antonio, Chief Trevino acted as President of the Hispanic Police Officer Organization and was a member of the Black Officer Coalition. He also pioneered the deployment of San Antonio’s body-worn camera program which became a national model.

In 2021, Truleo brought Chief Trevino on as a strategic advisor to help inform our approach to helping police departments improve performance with body camera analytics.

Procedural justice: what is it and why is it important?

Procedural justice is founded on four key principles:

  1. treat others with dignity and respect

  2. give citizens a voice during an encounter

  3. exercise neutral decision making

  4. convey trustworthy motives.

It is not just a program or a theory, it is and needs to be the foundation by which police officers operate within their communities.

The focus on procedural justice as a policing foundation comes from a recent shift within law enforcement thinking from focusing solely on tactics to both tactics and treatment.

Is upholding the pillars of procedural justice in all circumstances realistic?

Practicing the pillars of procedural justice is only realistic if the values are portrayed and taught organically within a department itself. Within departments, middle level management are the most critical in spearheading change and adoption of procedural justice values. The changes will stay with these members as they move up and therefore will not be discontinued with changes in leadership in the near term.

In order for long term change to happen and hold, it is imperative that the mindset and organizational shifts begin in the culture of the department itself.

How can body camera analytics help departments follow these principles?

To be successful, police legitimacy and police transparency need to be parallel conversations. Body camera analytics allow for that transparency and demonstrate the reality of policing interactions; they are an unbiased measure of how officers treat community members on a day to day and individual basis.

By implementing body camera analytics, the community is more likely to view the police as trustworthy and legitimate and therefore more likely to cooperate and engage, a benefit to both community members as well as police officers.

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