Vision 2029: Policing in the next decade and beyond

The inaugural Vision 2029 police leadership conference will focus on the critical leadership challenges that will define the policing profession over the next 10 years


The year 2029 will mark the 200th anniversary of the creation of the first metropolitan police force in England by Sir Robert Peel. Known as the father of modern policing, Peel issued a set of ethical guidelines that all police officers and police agencies should follow in order to be effective, setting forth the basic principles of policing in a democracy.

Historian Charles Reith explained in his "New Study of Police History" that these principles constituted an approach to policing "unique in history and throughout the world, because it derived, not from fear, but almost exclusively from public co-operation with the police, induced by them designedly by behavior which secures and maintains for them the approval, respect and affection of the public." Those same basic guidelines still serve as the foundation of the profession of American policing.

There is no doubt that the profession of American policing is about to enter a new era. The past 10 years have challenged law enforcement like no other period. In the past decade we have seen nothing less than a societal examination of the role and purpose of our most visible public service agents. One of the most basic of Peelian philosophies states that “the power of the police comes from the common consent of the public, and not from the power of the state.” What the last decade has shown is that when the common consent of the public is disrupted, the perceived legitimate authority of the police begins to erode, just as Peel predicted it would.

Vision 2029 conference aims to create leadership strategies for the next decade of policing. (Photo/Pixabay)
Vision 2029 conference aims to create leadership strategies for the next decade of policing. (Photo/Pixabay)

There is much debate as to how and why the police/public relationship has changed. In reality, the list of contributing factors that have combined to result in this current state are long and complex. Many factors originate from events that are unrelated to the professional delivery of public safety services, and others have been capitalized and exploited by those who seek purposes other than public safety. What is clear is that some of those factors, perhaps most, we simply cannot control. The most obvious path forward then, is to focus on what we can control.

Providing effective police service to the community, at all levels and in all aspects, begins with the leadership culture of the service agencies themselves. Organizational cultures that do not emphasize the pivotal values of the profession, as outlined by Peel, result in performance at the service level that is substandard and, in some of the more egregious cases, unprofessional and unworthy. Such organizational failures reflect not only on the individual agencies themselves, but also on the legitimacy of the profession as a whole.

Strong leadership cultures are at their best when faced with challenges, both internal and external. The profession of American policing is now facing significant challenges, some of which are nearing a crisis point. And with crisis, comes opportunity.

In the new era of American policing we must critically examine the culture of our organizations, the strategies and tactics we use to address the issues and challenges that we face, and the manner in which we ensure that our message as a profession is shared not only with our communities, but also with those that seek to join our ranks as the next generation of police professionals. Beyond this examination, we must also be prepared to break from the status quo and to embrace the transformations necessary to achieve the true ideals of the profession.

Where Vision 2029 begins

The concept of Vision 2029 is to re-define the critical challenges that face this era of professional policing, and to set new standards for policing leadership that can be pursued and realized within the next decade.

The Vision 2029: Policing in the Next Decade and Beyond conference, presented by The Center for Excellence in Public Safety Leadership at Cardinal Stritch University in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, will share innovative leadership strategies to help police organizations address the critical issues currently facing the profession, as well as build and implement best policies, strategies and tactics to help prepare police leaders and their organizations for the challenges of the coming decade.

To achieve this, the Vision 2029 curriculum focuses on six critical leadership challenges that will define the policing profession in the next 10 years and beyond:

  • How do we create values-based organizational cultures of excellence?
  • Can we re-define policing effectiveness and establish new standards of accountability?
  • What are the best policies for ethical leadership development and succession planning?
  • What tactics will be successful for next-generation recruitment and retention?
  • What are the best strategies for successful communications and media engagement?
  • How do we build, or maintain, mutually beneficial police-community relationships?

As the profession of policing that Peel envisioned concludes its second century, it is time for American policing to focus on the challenges ahead while re-embracing those Peelian principles upon which all modern policing is based. These are not quaint or antiquated notions of public service with little relevance to modern society or the challenges faced today by our policing organizations. On the contrary, the declarations on policing that Peel issued nearly two centuries ago are more relevant to today’s modern democracy than they ever have been.

Featured presenters at Vision 2029 include:

  • Chief Cameron McLay (retired), Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
  • Mike Steffes, Deputy Administrator, WI Department of Justice
  • Chief Alfonso Morales, Milwaukee Police Department
  • Chief Rod Covey, Port of Seattle Police Department
  • Commander Mike Parker (retired), Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
  • Anne E. Schwartz, Principal Consultant, Schwartz Public Strategies
  • Dave Mather, EdD, Police leadership consultant and instructor
  • Chief Noble Wray (retired), Madison (Wisc.) Police Department
  • Sue Rahr, Executive Director, Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission
  • Sheriff Dave Mahoney, Dane County (Wisc.) Sheriff’s Department
  • Chief Dave Funkhouser, Kiel (Wisc.) Police Department

To register for the Vision 2029 Milwaukee conference, click here.

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