Law enforcement agencies must ensure that all searches and seizures are made in accordance with the rights secured or protected by the Constitution, specifically the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments, along with state and federal laws. Sound Conduct by law enforcement improves community interactions, enhances communication, and promotes shared responsibility for addressing crime and disorder.
Engaging in positive and proactive interactions with the community is important to strengthening public confidence in law enforcement while balancing effective crime control. Constitutional and effective policing are interdependent, enhanced by proactive, community-focused policing techniques, and rely on a strong partnership between the police department and the communities that it serves. Community members’ willingness to trust the police depends on whether they believe that police actions reflect community values and incorporate the principles of procedural justice and legitimacy. Deepening relationships with the community can enhance trust and legitimacy between law enforcement and the community, reinforce collaborative problem-solving principles, challenge biases, and benefit criminal investigations. Law enforcement agencies should routinely examine their policies, procedures, training, and data collection to ensure that their practices are reflective of community priorities and needs, uphold citizens' constitutionally protected civil rights, support officer safety and wellness, and enhance policing efficacy.
The following toolkit highlights the components of the issue. Within each component, there is associated research, resources, and programs related to investigatory stop and detention practices that can be used by agencies to better understand the issue and how to positively address that issue.
The information provided within these modules has been gathered from various sources, including consent decrees, research, and practitioner and department-developed resources. These webpage modules are intended to be a guide for departments to use to improve their Constitutional policing practices. Additional information and resources may be needed to implement the recommendations successfully. This resource is intended to be dynamic, and the Knowledge Lab will continue to update and add to these modules to provide additional and current guidance for departments.