The president was speaking on the occasion of meeting a group of 127 Indian Police Service (IPS) probationers at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The group is in the capital undergoing familiarisation attachments with various central police organisations and armed forces.
The president said, "The cooperation and assistance of the people is as important as earning the respect of the public for the police," if the force wanted to achieve the goal of "sensitised police for empowered society" - which is the motto of the Police Academy.
Mukherjee said his vision of the police of future India is not merely that of a regulatory body enforcing laws, but of a "pro-active service provider, a partner in growth, development and peace".
"This would require a change of role of the police from a reactive to a proactive agency which in partnership with society creates a peaceful and secure atmosphere conducive to the enjoyment of the fruits of growth and prosperity," he added.
The probationers have completed 46 weeks of training at the National Police Academy, Hyderabad.