1 Introduction Police departments are far more complex than they were a generation or two ago. Though personnel are still accountable for traditional responsibilities such as calls for service and crime investigation, police have expanded their mission greatly, taking on the goals of preventing crime and reducing crime rates. Rather than focusing solely on responding to crimes after they are committed, today’s best police departments are looking for ways to be proactive as well. To identify these new proactive strategies PERF—with the support of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and Target Corporation—conducted a Future of Policing survey in 2012 that was disseminated to more than 500 police agencies. Based on the nearly 200 responses received from police departments across the country, the survey results helped to identify some of the biggest opportunities and challenges that police agencies may be facing in the future. In August of 2012 more than 30 police executives gathered at Target headquarters in Minneapolis for a day-long discussion of the survey findings and their perspectives on the state of the future of policing. 1 “Do we want to police in the future the way we are policing today? I don’t think so. How did we get to where we are today? We looked; we listened; we learned; we changed; we grew with the times. That’s our job as leaders today.” —Jim Fox, Chief Newport News, Virginia, Police Department Though we cannot anticipate everything that will occur in the next three to five years, we can research, survey, and discuss identified trends. We can then draw well-informed conclusions to prepare for future demands. PERF hopes that the findings reported here can help those in the field of policing adequately prepare for the coming changes. Promising Crime Fighting Strategies At the day-long meeting at Target in Minneapolis, participants engaged in discussions and provided insights into how policing could change in the next two to five years with respect to police functions and department structure, communication and the relationship between police agencies and the community, what role technology and social media will play, and how officer recruitment and retention could be affected by budget cuts. 1. Officials cited in this report are generally identified by their titles at the time they were quoted.