The Cocoa Police Department (CPD) is one of only three agencies across the country to be recognized as a model agency for its policies and practices seeking to enhance trust and collaboration in the community. Cocoa Police Department is the first agency in the State of Florida to be recognized for this achievement.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the world’s largest and most influential professional association for police leaders, awarded the department a certificate of completion as part of its Trust Building Campaign. This campaign, which launched in June of 2022, seeks to enhance trust between police agencies and the communities they serve by ensuring positive community-police partnerships that promote safe, effective interactions, create strategies to prevent and reduce crime and improve the well-being and quality of life for all. The goal of the campaign was to identify needs in an agency’s policies, procedures, culture, or practices and close those gaps.
To be a part of IACP’s Trust Building Campaign, agencies must pledge to implement key policies and practices that promote and embrace community trust and collaboration within a 36-month period. These policies and practices represent six key focus areas that are essential to enhancing trust and collaboration between communities and police. The focus areas include bias-free policing; use of force; leadership and culture; recruitment, hiring, and retention; victim services; and community relations.
“Policing has changed significantly over the past few years and it is imperative that we reevaluate and renew our focus on maintaining trusting relationships within our community,” said Chief Evander Collier IV. “We must demand the highest levels of accountability, integrity, and respect for those we protect and serve. Our agency made the commitment to implement and practice these policies and procedures to build trust within our community. I am so proud of the men and women of this agency who took ownership of implementing and adopting these practices, ensuring that we continue to reduce crime and increase the safety and quality of life for all of our residents.” The IACP plans to use the Cocoa Police Department as a model for how other agencies and organizations can demonstrate how they may implement some of these policies in their own communities.
When trust building is prioritized, community members and the police benefit from relationships focused on unified visions, goals, and values. Building and rebuilding trust in the community is critical and must remain a primary objective. As part of the Trust Building Campaign, CPD implemented:
- Enhanced training on cultural responsivity
- Enacted or enhanced policies that reflect a culture of equity, diversion, inclusion, and accountability and that promote procedural justice for the community and employees
- Included measures of problem-solving, trust-building, and cultural responsivity in metrics of officer performance
- Enhanced training on best practices, resources, and tools for communicating with community members
- Established partnerships to provide mental health and substance abuse resources in the community
- Surveyed community members to better understand levels of trust in the police department
- Established strategies to engage with youth and marginalized groups in the community to better develop positive relationships with police officers.
The IACP is the world’s largest and most influential professional association of police leaders. With more than 33,000 members in over 170 countries, the IACP is a recognized leader in global policing, committed to advancing safer communities through thoughtful, progressive police leadership. Since 1893, the association has been serving communities by speaking out on behalf of law enforcement and advancing leadership and professionalism in policing worldwide.