Chicago police train in "police legitimacy"

Dec 23, 2013

Over the last year and a half the Chicago police department has trained eight thousand officers in something called police legitimacy. IPR'S Robert Wildeboer reports.

The concept is based on research by criminologists, research that Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has read and believes in. The idea, in very broad terms, is that if police officers treat people with respect and listen to citizens, then citizens will trust the police, they’ll be more compliant and officer stress will go down and safety will go up.

Lieutenant Bruce Lipman developed the police legitimacy training. He says officers see a lot of nasty stuff.

"They wanna help people.  They come this job, that’s what they want to do more than anything, go out there and make a positive difference and make an impact and over time they start to become worn down."

Lipman says the one day training helps to remind cops why they took the job. McCarthy says this training and the ideas behind it are a key part of repairing the historically tense relationship between police and citizens in poor, minority communities.