Everywhere, there are calls for transparency around policing. A critical component of transparency is letting the communities know how they will be policed. Here at the Policing Project, we are developing best practices for policy transparency. In our Manuals Initiative, we are looking to provide guidance and support for police departments and communities who want to to put their department’s operational manuals online in an accessible and understandable manner.
Creating an effective online manual is easier said than done. Putting the whole department manual online may not do the trick. Current manuals and patrol guides are full of details and jargon that may be of little interest to the public. And important policies that will be of interest to the public—such as those concerning use of force—may be scattered throughout the document.
We’ve thought long and hard about how police departments should go about publishing their manuals, and what they should include. We hope this website will provide guidance to police departments and their communities on how to publish an effective manual.