Consolidating police agencies

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The International Association of Chiefs of Police outlined several methods that involve varying degrees of consolidation.They range from “functional” consolidation, where two or more agencies combine certain functional units like police dispatch or record keeping, to “regional mergers,” where several agencies come together and delineate jurisdictional lines by geographic area.

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A unified structure poses other benefits, such as consistent training and protocols for policing activities, pooling of resources, and the elimination of duplicative operational and administrative costs.Local departments may find their “identities” subsumed by the larger, newly created department, which could diminish – or even completely eliminate – the trust and legitimacy citizens once imbued upon their regional law enforcement.Consolidation could also result in a loss of local autonomy over how the community wants to be policed, and it can erode the community values instilled and enforced by the local police departments.Fragmentation leaves departments with inadequate funding and creates awkward disparities that reach nearly all aspects of policing: from hiring and training to cross-department interactions, all the way to civilian interaction and record keeping.These funding issues undermine effective policing, leaving communities without adequate protection from law enforcement.

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