By Thomas Lemmer. Published in the December 2015 issue of the journal Forum by the Executive Institute of the Illinois Law Enforcement Standards and Training Board.
Public safety within America’s towns and cities relies heavily upon the strength of the relationship between the police and the community. Public perceptions relative to police legitimacy and the appropriateness of police actions are greatly influenced by media coverage. This is particularly true of negative media coverage. The 1952 film classic “High Noon” is set in the fictional town of Hadleyville. It is an epic tale of a broken bond between a community and its marshal.
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In real life, many community members have become openly resistant to even the most basic police actions. Additionally, many police officers have shown reluctance to engage in proactive policing efforts that might require a use of force. Our communities must avoid these “High Noon” risks. Ensuring that such a break in the bond between our police officers and our communities does not occur will require the active involvement of our police officers, elected officials, civic leaders, and the community-at-large.
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