The Proactive Alliance approach integrates policing methods with adapted concepts from counseling psychology created by a licensed professional counselor and a police officer. This collaborative approach is a prevention model based on building relationships with the community in a variety of settings and using the humanity of the individual police officer as his or her most valuable instrument.
Although forging collaborative relationships has been suggested and encouraged to most police departments and in the context of the “Broken Windows” theory, exactly how to develop and improve existing skills to achieve this goal has been uncertain. The ability to create lasting, purposeful relationships with stakeholders is not an innate skill but can be taught. While some police officers have a natural talent for social interaction, all personality types are capable of learning how to build productive relationships with the appropriate training. Building a productive relationship requires effective communication and empathy, but must also incorporate collaboration. Proactive Alliance recognizes the value of the transactional de-escalation techniques that police use to defuse adversarial conflict and empowers officers to actively engage with the public before a conflict occurs. When a crisis does occur, the relationship acts as a problem-solving medium, giving the officer more options than enforcement alone, including the ability to draw from the community for the most effective solution.
The concept of Proactive Alliance, developed by Molly Mastoras, LPC, is a method of collaboration among police, businesses, and community members fostered by active listening techniques, effective communication, and empathy to develop purposeful and productive relationships. This approach draws from and adapts counseling psychology concepts including Family Systems Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Person-Centered techniques, the Stages of Change, Trauma-informed techniques, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
This presentation describes Proactive Alliance, an innovative training program created by Molly Mastoras, MA, LPC, that draws on evidence-based principles from counseling psychology to teach police officers specific, immediately applicable techniques to establish long-term working relationships with community stakeholders. Proactive Alliance builds upon the three fundamental principles of community-oriented policing—community partnerships, problem-solving, and organizational transformation—by empowering officers to become change agents in pursuit of the “co-production” of public safety. The presentation describes the theory and research behind the Proactive Alliance approach and outlines a proposed evaluation plan to develop a future evidence-base for the training itself.
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