Giant Cop in Times Square

COPS Office Dispatch The Peace Officer Promise Takes Manhattan this Summer.

Visitors to Times Square this summer may be surprised to see a giant cop looking down on them. It is the face of the “peace officer” featured in the new Police2Peace video billboard on the top of 1500 Broadway in the heart of the Times Square Plaza. The spectacular billboard—56’ wide x 29’ high, for a total 1,624 square feet of viewing space—will show a video thousands of times this summer announcing the Peace Officer Promise, thanks to a donation of media time to national community policing nonprofit, Police2Peace.

According to Police2Peace, the number one issue facing agencies today is the public’s trust and confidence in them. The nonprofit believes that moving policing from a law enforcement model to a peace officer framework is an effective way to address this issue. While it will always be necessary to enforce the laws, the Police2Peace framework changes an officer’s approach to focus on problem-solving and facilitating conflict resolution—not arrest and enforcement of laws (unless necessary). This is the message of Police2Peace’s video “The Promise,” which will be shown on their Times Square billboard.

But “The Promise” is about more than community engagement. It also captures the nobility of policing for the public. “With the significant negative narrative about the police combined with rising crime rates, trust and confidence in the police need to be built to change this narrative, which will also support greater public safety,” said Chief Chris Davis of the Green Bay (Wisconsin) Police Department. “Trust and confidence can be advanced by publicly celebrating the inherent nobility and goodness of policing, and the nobility and goodness of policing are perfectly expressed with the framework of police officers as peace officers.”

“We live in a media-driven society where messaging routinely shifts societal behaviors and norms,” said Police2Peace Executive Director Lisa Broderick, a former tech executive who founded the nonprofit in 2018. “Other industries have mastered this and learned to harness the power of words, which capture the emotion of the benefit they deliver, like the high-tech industry with Facebook, Twitter, etc.” According to Broderick, policing has a golden opportunity to harness words to change the negative narrative by using the term “Peace Officer.”

As part of the Peace Officer framework, Police2Peace has taken the idea of medicine’s Hippocratic Oath and created a policing Hippocratic Oath called “The Peace Officer Promise.” The Promise is a way for agencies to operationalize the framework of being Peace Officers in their communities. It states:

“We, the members of the (insert department name), promise that while doing our best to control crime, we will do everything in our power to do no harm to the communities we serve and protect.”

Agencies are encouraged to personalize The Promise with their communities and then make a public announcement. Currently, about 200 agencies around the nation support The Promise. Police2Peace will soon be launching an online training platform which guides agencies through the process of adopting The Promise.

When the Peace Officer framework is operationalized in such a way as to align all aspects of a policing agency, it can transform the entire organization, thereby reshaping, recruiting, hiring, training, promotion—in short, police culture,” said Jim Bueermann, a more than 40-year veteran of policing, retired police chief, and past president of the National Policing Institute. “In the 80s and 90s, the term ‘community policing’ captured the spirit of what was then a new kind of policing. Peace Officer is poised to become the new name for community policing.”

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Police2Peace is an organization addressing the issue for our time: reimagining the relationship that communities have with the police. A national, nonpartisan nonprofit bringing a new approach to community-led policing to cities around the country, Police2Peace is using the framework of police officers as Peace Officers to redefine, reimagine and advance policing nationally.

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