A fundamental role of the state is to provide security and order, and the police are the consummate street-level bureaucrat serving to provide these functions, but their success fundamentally relies on earning the trust and cooperation from citizens. We explore how positive relationships between citizens and the police are built. We examine existing work on community relationships and the police in the United States and, especially, across developing countries; in both contexts, we look at traditional policing and crime as well as nontraditional enforcement on countering insurgency and enforcing quarantines. We propose to reanalyze studies across context to see what they suggest in aggregate; to explore short case studies on moments of change in policing structures to understand variation in citizens’ trust and cooperation with the police from developing countries; and, finally, to generate new collaborative work where existing literature has left gaps in our understanding of these dynamics.

Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash