Community policing, or community-oriented policing, is a strategy of policing that focuses on police building ties and working closely with members of the communities.
In the United States, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 established the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) within the Justice Department to promote community policing. According to the definition of COPS:
Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.—Community Policing Defined
There is no universally accepted definition of community policing however it can commonly be described as:
Defining Community Policing
Community policing is a policy that requires police to inherit a proactive approach to address public safety concerns. This type of policing has been utilized in various cities for about the last 150 years. The first form of community oriented policing is credited to the London Metro Police Department around 1830, as regular patrol areas were assigned to officers, now commonly known as “beats”. Community oriented policing was a cornerstone of the Clinton Administration and gained its funding from the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (Ahlin, Gibbs). According to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) of more than 2,000 Law Enforcement Agencies that had been using community policing for at least 1 year, 62 percent stated they had less crimes committed against citizens, 80 percent stated that they had reduced the fear of crime, and 99 percent stated that they had received increased cooperation from the citizens of the community (NIJ). The overall assessment of community oriented policing is positive, as officers and community members both attest to its effectiveness in reducing crime and raising the sense of security in a community.
"Community policing is a philosophy of full service personalized policing, where the same officer patrols and works in the same area on a permanent basis, from a decentralized place, working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identify and solve problems."
Community policing is a professional management organization that is structure for the support in the community to create proactive problem solving to address the immediate conditions that give rise to the public safety issues such as crime, social disorder and fear of crime. Community policing has partnerships between law enforcement agency and other organizations like government agencies, community members, nonprofit service providers, private businesses and the media. Government agencies includes probation and parole, public works departments, neighboring law enforcement agencies, health and human services, child support services, ordinance enforcement, and schools. Community members can include partnerships with neighborhood association that has meetings, town hall meetings and storefronts decentralized in the community. Nonprofit organizations includes advocacy of groups like service clubs, support groups, issue groups and community development corporations. These groups work with individuals that have the same interest in the community. Private Businesses have a bigger impact on the community from the health perspective. Private Businesses often identify problems that provide the resources which can include security technology for the community. The media represents a powerful pattern by which it can communicate with the community. The community policing uses the media to assist with publicizing concerns and solutions that will impact the community. The media can have an impact on the fear of crime, crime problems and perceptions of the police in the community. Community policing recognizes that police can’t solve every public safety problem alone so interactive partnerships are involved. The policing uses the public for developing problem solving solutions.
The contemporary community policing movement emphasizes changing the role of law enforcement from a static, reactive, incident-driven bureaucracy to a more dynamic, open, quality-oriented partnership with the community. Community policing philosophy emphasizes that police officers work closely with local citizens and community agencies in designing and implementing a variety of crime prevention strategies and problem-solving measures. To accomplish these initiatives, it is crucial that officers feel closely integrated with the majority of citizens and agencies in the community they serve. Typically, this means that officers perceive themselves as sharing important community values, beliefs, and goals. It also implies that officers are confident of community support and involvement in their decisions and actions.
Many common elements in community-oriented policing include:
°Relying on community-based crime prevention by utilizing citizen education, neighborhood watch, and a variety of other techniques, as opposed to relying solely on police patrols.
°Re-structuralizing of patrol from an emergency response based system to emphasizing proactive techniques such as foot patrol.
°Increased officer accountability to citizens they are supposed to serve.
°Decentralizing the police authority, allowing more discretion amongst lower-ranking officers, and more initiative expected from them.
Origins of Community Policing
The community policing era in the United States, began in the 1980s, is the result of alienation of police during the reform era. The separation between the two also prevents the collaboration of police and community efforts to reduce crime rates in the area. Public satisfaction with the police both decreased trust with law enforcement and increased fear of crime. This disorganization among the community can heavily effect the fear of crime as it can make you afraid to leave your home or walk down the street, leaving you figuratively confined to your home.
Sir Robert Peel came up with nine principles to modern law enforcement in 1829, known as the "Peelian Principles". Peel's principles explain that there is an alternative to using military force, in that police are there to prevent crimes. Police need to gain willing cooperation from the public and will lose public cooperation proportionately to the amount of force used in situations. The police need to maintain relationships with the public and keep their respect. These principles provide a basis for community policing in the current U.S. law enforcement.
Community policing was derived out of the “Broken Windows” theory; which suggested that since a broken window is not against the law then it would be ignored by the “professional” police officer. However, it is an indicator of social disorganization, and therefore requires the attention of the community-orientated officer. There have been multiple experiments, such as the Flint, Michigan, experiment involving foot patrol officers be assigned to a specific geographic area to help reduce crime in hot spots. Many community-oriented police structures focus on assigning officers to a specific area called a “beat” and having those officers become familiar with the that area or beat through a process of “beat profiling.” The officers are then taught how to design specific patrol strategies to deal with the types of crime that are experienced in that beat.
These ideas are implemented in a multipronged approach using a variety of aspects such as broadening the duties of the police officer and individualizing the practices to the community they’re policing. Refocusing police efforts to face to face interactions in smaller patrol areas to with an emphasized goal of preventing criminal activity instead of responding to it. Solving problems using input from the community they’re policing and making an effort increase service oriented positive interactions with police.
Traditional V. Community Policing
Very few incidents of crime are isolated, most are results and symptoms of underlying problems. Meaning they will recur predictably, while officers handle the problem at the time they do not address the underlying issue in many situations. The goal of traditional policing is to protect law abiding citizens from criminals. They do this by identifying and apprehending criminals while gathering enough evidence to convict them. Traditional beat officers focus on duty is to respond to incidents swiftly, and clear 911 calls. Many officers working busy shifts only have time to respond to and clear 911 calls, this type of policing does not stop or reduce crime significantly it simply makes a temporarily fix to an ongoing problem.
In contrast community policing’s main goal is to assist the public in establishing and maintaining a safe, orderly social environment. While apprehending criminals is one important goal of community policing it is not necessarily the most important goal. Community policing  is concerned with solving the crimes that the community is concerned about, and solving citizens concerns by working with and gaining support from the community. The most effective solutions include coordinating police, government resources, citizens, and local business to address the problems affecting the community. They get in touch with the community in a variety of ways including: polls or surveys, town meetings, call-in programs, and meeting with interest groups. They use these connections to understand what the community wants out of its police officers and what the community is willing to do to solve the crime problem.
The structure of the community policing organization differs in that police assets are refocused with the goals of specific written rules to give more creative problem solving techniques to the police officer to provide alternatives to traditional law enforcement.
Evaluating Community Policing
Determining whether community policing is effective or not is a whole different dilemma. For traditional policing, determining whether police or policies are effective or not may be done by evaluating the crime rate for a geographic area. A crime rate in the United States is determined using the FBI’s "Uniform Crime Reports" (UCR) or "National Incident Based Reporting System" (NIBRS) as well as the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ "National Crime Victimization Survey" (NCVS). Community policing is more complicated than simply comparing crime rates. Due to the fact that there is no universally accepted definition of community policing and policies vary widely between departments there is also no universally accepted criteria for evaluating community policing. However there are some commonly used structures. One possible way to determine whether or not community policing is effective in an area is for officers and key members of the community to set a specific mission and goals when starting out. Once specific goals are set, participation at every level is essential in obtaining commitment and achieving goals. Street-level officers, supervisors, executives, and the entire community should feel the goals represent what they want their police department to accomplish. Objectives and goals should be reevaluated periodically to determine what progress the department and officers have made; along with whether or not those same goals are important to the community
Community alienation among police officers and its effect on community policing
The experience of community alienation among police officers would appear to be anathema to effective community policing efforts for at least two essential reasons. First, alienation appears to be closely tied to the experience of mastery. Mastery is typically defined as a state of mind in which an individual feels autonomous and experiences confidence in his or her ability, skill, and knowledge to control or influence external events. Community policing requires departments to flatten their organizational pyramid and place even more decision-making and discretion in the hands of line officers. Thus, it would seem logical that as the level of community alienation or isolation that officers experience increases, there will be a corresponding decrease in officers' sense of mastery in carrying out their expanded discretionary role. Second, a strong sense of community integration for police officers would seem to be vital to the core community policing focus of proactive law enforcement. Proactive enforcement is usually defined as the predisposition of police officers to be actively committed to crime prevention, community problem-solving, and a more open, dynamic quality-oriented law enforcement-community partnership.
Several effects of alienation on police officers' behavior have been demonstrated in the literature. For example, scholars found that a lack of community support resulted in an increased sense of alienation and a greater degree of apathy among police officers. It was also found that a lack of community support and working in a larger populated community was associated with an increased sense of alienation and a greater degree of inactivity among police officers. Moreover, it was discovered that an increased sense of alienation resulted in a greater degree of negative feelings and lethargy among police officers. Finally, it was found that the more police officers felt socially isolated from the community they served, the more they withdrew and the more negative they felt towards its citizens.
- Evidence-based policing
- Intelligence-led policing
- Predictive policing
- Proactive policing
- Problem-oriented policing
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Effect of Community Policing To the Role of Policing Supervisor Name: Course: Number: Date: Effect of Community Policing To the Role of Policing Supervisor The evolution in the fight against crime within our societies has led to the establishment and the changing of the policing departments as well as the formation and implementation of the community policing systems. Community policing has become a value system that effectively brings together the policing department (traditional model), and individual citizens, communities, public and private organizations in the process of identifying and resolving security issues such as fighting crime within communities. Many a time’s community policing has been misunderstood, as it has brought a different approach to the policing aspect within the communities. This paper looks into how the system or the aspect of community policing has affected the role of policing supervisor in the society as well as in the process of maintaining security and fighting crime, in comparison with the tradition policing model (Alarid & Montemayor, 2012). Community policing has brought along different approach to the aspect of policing both to the supervisors and the police workforce personnel’s. The traditional role of the policing supervisors has involved the supervisors managing police officers who have undergone training in the field of providing security to the people, and the community at large. The aspect of community policing has brought other parties into the fight against crime in the society. This includes the public, private and public organizations as well as other inclusive personnel’s. In other words, they become Human Relations manager as they have to manage the different groups that contribute to the wellbeing of the security system (Rosenberg, Sigler & Lewis, 2008). Unlike the traditional role, the police managers were only mandated to manage the police officers from the station assigned. This has undergone evolution to involve other relevant parties as defined by community policing. Community-based police subdivisions identify the fact that the police cannot effectively deal with such issues alone, and must partner with others who share a mutual responsibility for resolving problems. Community policing stresses prevention, early identification, and timely intervention to deal with issues before they become unwieldy problems. This has in turn led to the change in the scope of the functions of the police supervisors to identify and implement the effective working relationship between the relevant contributing departments. The supervisors are hence required to implement the most appropriate mechanism of management and equipping them for their tasks within a tight performance and accountability framework for fostering better policing (Rosenberg, Sigler & Lewis, 2008). On the other hand the aspect of community policing has changed the scope of police supervises to include training and coordination of the relevant parties in the implementation of security to the society. It’s the role of the police supervisor to ensure the community is educated on the functions of each group towards effective achievement of the objectives at hand. Thus, this has greatly impacted the magnitude of the role of supervisory. He acts as the coordinating tool to make sure investigations are carried out effectively, and within the law. He assigns each of the involved parties in the aspect of community policing (Palmiotto, 1999). Community policing has brought along has led to the adoption of transactional and transformational leadership styles in order to have successful functionality of the different elements involved. Finally, the community policing aspect has changed the policing role form crime fighting orienting to the focusing on livability. Problem solving and community policing has also contributed to the changing of the aspect of role of police supervisor towards security maintenance. Policing habitually has been case-oriented and incident-driven, and it has depended on primarily or entirely on the actual or threatened use of officers’ coercive authority. On the other hand, community policing has approached the security aspect from a ‘problem solving’, point of view. This in turn is an essential module of community policing that involves the identification and scrutiny of problems. Thus, the implementation of community policing and problem solving calls for officers not only to perform old tasks in new ways, but to perform substantially new tasks as well. As a result, the shift to problem-oriented policing is truly paradigmatic in nature (Palmiotto, 1999). The transitional, from the traditional aspect of policing to the community based policing approach the roles of every department in the policing departments has equally evolved in order to accommodate the different partners in the security aspects. The role of the police supervisors has undergone changes in order to accommodate the definition or the approach defined by the aspect of community policing. Community policing has been implemented to focus on social disorder, and crime through the delivery of police services that entails the traditional law enforcement approach as well as the community engagement, prevention, and problem solving as defined by the community policing approaches. The roles of the police supervisor have evolved to fit into the structures and the demands of the community policing approach, such as addressing the causes of crime I a society rather than combating the criminals once the crime has been experienced (Correia & Jenks, 2011). Conclusion Although many constraining influences on the role of police supervisors' attitudes and actions, they mainly are responsible for the fulfillment of their organizations' missions, ensuring their subordinates' productivity and producing impacts in their jobs. The implementation of community policing has brought a diverse approach to the roles of policing supervisor. The evolution caused by the adoption of the community policing aspect has brought along changes to the roles of the relevant people towards implementation of the police duties in the communities. Community policing as identified above, has brought along a different approach to the idea of policing, turning the supervisors from commanders to managers of the different elements that implements security in the society. One major impact is the changing of the policing leaders from autocratic oriented to transitional leaders.
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