Nicholas Corso of Algonquin explains how police officers can build valued relationships with the communities they serve.
A new generation of police officers are entering the workforce, and many struggle to build connections with the communities they serve. A strong community relationship is essential for public safety and positive policing.Nicholas Corso of Algonquin, a retired police officer with over 20 years of experience, believes that cops should get to know the citizens they protect, and the values they hold dear.
One essential thing a police agency can do is provide transparency. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin explains that when serious incidents occur, the agency should do its best to release as much information as possible. Another useful tip is to release information as quickly as possible so that people do not feel like information is being withheld from them. According to Nicholas Corso of Algonquin, police agencies should always tell the media that new information may not be correct, but as things come to light, more will be shared.
Recently, some poor tactics have been used in neighborhoods that caused the people to mistrust police officers, especially in minority communities. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin notes that one officer’s misconduct can damage relations in the city for quite some time. A case that draws nationwide attention can change how people feel about cops overall.
Nicholas Corso of Algonquin recommends familiarizing yourself with the history of your community to better understand people’s feelings toward the police. Once you know this information, you can work on changing perceptions by being a good example and by reassuring your citizens that you are only there to help. People will trust the connections they make and the kind officers they meet, but only if the officers make an effort to display that.
Another useful tool for improving police-community relations is for cops to live in the neighborhoods in which they work. It shows people that you are a neighbor, family man, and friend. According to Nicholas Corso of Algonquin, it shows people that you are on the same level as them, living side by side to get through everyday life. It’s not always possible to make this happen,
Police officers serve and protect their communities every day. However, volunteering in your community is another way to build relations. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin suggests taking the uniform off to volunteer with your neighbors and help those in need. It’s an excellent opportunity to spread the truth about your profession and have people off the streets see you differently. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin notes that a heart of service should always be looking for ways to serve.
People have largely become disconnected from the police. News and statistics often dehumanize cops, making the general public feel nervous. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin notes that police should know more law-abiding citizens than they do criminals. Nicholas Corso of Algonquin suggests interacting with people in non-enforcement situations as much as possible. Be a friendly face at your child’s school and in the neighborhood!
As a result of the coronavirus, things are a little more on high alert than usual. “It might be a bit more common to see tensions flare as a result of the economy tanking, fear, and the lack of necessities in the supermarket like toilet paper,” says Nicholas Corso Algonquin, a veteran police officer for the Village of Algonquin in Illinois. “We have got to keep cool and maintain a straight head when dealing with these problems.”
No neophyte to stressful situations and confrontations, Nicholas Corso Algonquin has been part of the Village of Algonquin police department for the last two decades. “When it comes to on-street confrontations, I have seen my fair share of issues. At the end of the day, it is important to understand that this will happen at a greater frequency so you need to be on higher alert at certain times of the day and in certain locations,” Nicholas Corso Algonquin continues.
When asked how he would deal with what is going on, Nicholas Corso Algonquin mentions that it must be dealt with by a case by case basis. “You need to see what is happening in the environment around you before you make a decision.” As a result, Nicholas Corso Algonquin is proud to offer his three tips on how to deal with heightened tensions. “Thanks to my years of experience, I’m happy to offer anything that I can in moments like this and the current environment.”
Tip 1: Always Take Stock of Where You Are and What Time It Is
“Sometimes you’ll go somewhere that is completely safe during the day time but can be a location for seedier characters in the night,” Nicholas Corso Algonquin says. “We had this one area that was near a bowling alley that would be a hot spot for youth dealing drugs. Now with an economy that is clearly not as strong as it once was, that location has become a much stronger area for potential criminal activities that we have to be more cognizant of in the community.”
Tip 2: Make Sure You Keep Calm
“We have gotten more phone calls from supermarkets about people fighting over goods in the supermarket in the past month than we’ve gotten over the past few years,” Nicholas Corso Algonquin says. As a result, supermarket security officers have to break up situations that could become a bigger deal than what they truly are. “Make sure you keep a cool head when you do your shopping. If you can’t pick up that bunch of toilet paper at one location, check another one. Nothing is worth getting into a fight over in a supermarket. Trust me.”
Tip 3: Your Officers Have Your Best Interests In Mind
As a result of the crisis, everyone has gone on high alert including police officers. “We’ve been preparing for things to go wrong because that is what our bread and butter is on a daily basis. Trust that your local officers have your back and are doing their best to keep things from falling down into a state of anarchy,” Nicholas Corso Algonquin says. “Our number one goal is to keep people safe and if that includes enforcing social distancing measures, then we are up to the task.”
As a trained law enforcement officer, Nicholas Corso Algonquin is working to protect the people in his own jurisdiction but hopes that “people can learn to protect themselves”. By taking stock of your own surroundings and environment, keeping a cool head, and trusting your law enforcement, citizens can do just that.