A Basic Building Block of Transparency

Policing must be a shared endeavor between communities and policing agencies. However, if members of the public do not have access to the police department manual — the document that sets police policies and actions — it limits their ability to have a say in how their communities are policed. This is why it is critical for police departments to post their manuals online. In fact, we believe it is a basic building block of transparency.

An online manual informs the community about the department, demonstrates the department’s commitment to transparency and community engagement, and allows the department to showcase new or innovative policies. Of the police departments that actually post their manual online, only a handful ensure the manual is posted in a way that is truly transparent.

The Manuals Initiative aims to encourage police departments across the country to get their manuals online, in their entirety, and in a way that makes it easy for the public to find and understand.