Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Police Learned from One of the Most Challenging Periods of Our Lives.
Critical Issues in Policing
Police Executive Research Forum
Published: December 2021
This report summarizes findings from a review of nearly 120 Daily COVID-19 Reports produced between March 17, 2020 and March 16, 2021, along with additional research into how policy departments and sheriffs’ offices responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is intended to provide law enforcement agencies with continuing guidance on how to manage their response to the pandemic, as well as to other public health emergencies in the future. The report begins by reviewing what police already knew when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and then describes how internal police operations changed during the pandemic. Initial responses to the pandemic are reviewed, as well as strategies that included adjusting staffing to reduce COVID-19 transmission and ensure staff availability, adjusting the police response to requests for services, preventing the spread of COVID-19 in jails, ensuring compliance with public health orders, engaging the community, and utilizing technology. The impacts of COVID-19 on training, recruiting and hiring, and police budgets are also noted. Chapter 2 focuses on officer safety and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic and discusses how safety protocols were implemented, the support for officers and families, and the vaccination of officers. The final chapter explores how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted crime and the work of policing. Information is provided on the increase of homicides, shootings, carjackings, and hate incidents targeting Asian Americans, how police assisted vulnerable populations, and multi-agency collaboration. The report concludes with the policing profession not only rose to the challenge of the pandemic, police became COVID-19 humanitarians. Challenges as the pandemic continues are noted. 216 references.
COVID-19; Police; Police role; Police training; Law enforcement; Criminal justice system; Disaster response; Service delivery