Reimagining Policing: New Mission Statement Focuses on Community Partnership

Temple Police Chief Shawn Reynolds has set out to reimagine policing in the 21st century. As part of that process, the Temple Police Department’s new mission statement sets expectations for police officers and how they interact with the community.

“One of the things we’ve been working on is creating a unique mission statement that fits not only our needs, but the needs of the community,” Reynolds said. “I asked three important questions when I arrived in Temple: What do we do? How do we do it? Why do we do it?  These questions evolved into our new mission statement: ‘Protecting, serving and working in partnership with our community, to prevent, reduce and solve crime with integrity, honor and dedication.’”

Reynolds said the new statement encapsulates the best qualities of law enforcement while placing a greater importance on relationships with the community.

“It pays homage to the history and traditions of the best parts of law enforcement. It also uniquely includes the community in what we do,” Reynolds said. “Police-community relations is inherently important and we know we can’t do this job on our own.”

While the department is tasked with serving and protecting the community, Reynolds said police officers can’t do their job without cooperation from the community.

“It’s a shared responsibility that we have. We need the community as partners,” he said. “We can’t be everywhere and see everything, so we need you to call when you see something suspicious and discuss with us what you have seen.  In today’s world it is important to remember if you see something, say something.” 

For Reynolds, reimagining policing means having honest and transparent discussions with the community about their expectations of law enforcement.

“Reimagination in policing means that we’re willing to engage in dialogue and conversations that perhaps we’ve avoided in the past,” Reynolds said. “Changes that are desired and necessary in policing require that we have critical and key conversations with members of the community and members of our front-line law enforcement. We’re perhaps the most divided in this country that we’ve ever been, but it’s my hope and heart’s desire that we can bring unity within the community.”