Community Policing Implementation Essay, Research Paper
Community Orientated Policing is widely held as the new and correct style for American policing. For the past decade the community policing movement has been gaining momentum acquiring the support of politicians, scholars, reformers, and the public. Police chiefs around the country are now feeling the pressures of implementation from citizens and local government officials. Many high ranking professional police organization have placed their seal of approval on the new style of policing, including the Police Executive Research forum, the Police Foundation, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, The National Organization Of Black Law Enforcement Executives, And the National Sheriff s Association. The following U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, And Ronald Reagon have all supported community policing, and with the recent passage of the 1994 Crime Act, community policing has received the approval and go ahead from the Federal government (Maguire p368).
Due to the involvement of the federal government many American police departments are reporting that they already have or are attempting to implement a community policing program, eventhough a large number of them do not fully understand the implication and obstacles they face with the implementation of the program. Most of the agencies are just inquiring due to the funding. Most of the police organizations applying for the grants do not fully understand the new style, and either intentionally or unintentionally misuse the funds. Community orientated policing is a proactive philosophy that promotes solving problems that are either criminal, affect the quality of life, or increase citizens fear of crime. It involves identifying, analyzing and addressing community problems at their source. Unfortunately, many individuals, both in and outside of policing see community policing as merely putting officers on foot or bike patrol, or by opening mini-stations amongst the community. These approaches misrepresent the true potential of community policing and establish simplistic expectations. (Glensor p14).
These simplistic goals, unfortunately, do not allow for the implementor to ready him or herself to be ready for the obstacles they face with the implementation of the program. A vague description of the obstacles they may face consist of officers concern of change, community concern, and involvement.
Within the implementation of community orientated policing the priority consists of laying a sturdy foundation for the program. Before a foundation can be properly laid the implementer must gain acceptance and support from the committee. Then the foundation begins in the police organization. The success of community policing depends on the police officers who are responsible for implementing the programs. In essence their attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors must be substantially changed before community policing can be put into practice (Lurigio p315).
Due to the fact that police officers can be very resistant to change this step can become a difficult hurdle. Many of the directives of community policing are beyond the traditional capacities and roles of officers, who were initially selected to perform only the basic activities associated with modern policing; such as patrol, investigation, order maintenance, arrest, and report writing. Hence the transition to community policing can be come a battle of hearts and minds amongst the officers. Community policing requires them to do many of their old activities, but in new innovative ways. Officers commonly hear of new programs when they are announced to from the highest levels of administration, and the officers concern is based on the fact that many of these decisions are adopted with out any of their input or acceptance. The fact that civilians play a major role in the instigation of many of these new programs touches a deep and sensitive nerve amongst police culture. They are resentful when the community is consulted about internal police business, and they are cynical about the role politics play amongst the role of their leaders (Lurigio p315).
Although the battle of implementation of community policing can be a spirited battle amongst the police officers the results are favorable. For example, in an evaluation of neighborhood policing project in Madison, Wisconsin, Wycoff and Skogan reported:
Involvement in the city s experimental police district changed the views of participating officers. Specifically, experimental district officers, compared to those assigned elsewhere, saw themselves as working as a team, maintained that their efforts were supported by their supervisors and the department was a whole, and believed that the department was truly engaged in the process of reform. They were also more satisfied with there jobs, more strongly committed to the organization, more customer oriented, more invested in the principles of problem solving and community policing, and more pleased with their relationship to the community (1993).
After implementation has been successfully administered internally the prospect of administering the program externally becomes the focus. This involves selling the program to the community. In order to sell the program to the community they serve officers must continually present the material in a professional manner. To accomplish this police officer must respond to community needs in the most stringent standards of discipline. Police administrators can ensure their officers actions through careful personnel selection and training, especially in the area of police discretion. When an agency s officers continually perform in a professional manner they will gain the support and trust of the community, and therefore implementation will come much easier (Walters p20).
Demographics of a community must be taken into consideration into which forms of community policing will be administered. Geographically large jurisdictions might find mini-stations very useful, but might foot patrols less useful. Densely populated areas provide police with a large array of possible community policing programs such as: neighborhood watch, foot and bike patrols, tenants association, and other programs that would not properly serve a sparsely populated area (Wycoff p138). In order for community policing to be successful in sparsely populated neighborhoods there must be a more collaborated effort amongst the community and the police.
Introduction of community policing into a police organization and the community it serves overides its predecessor, traditional policing, by implementing long term solutions to community problem instead of readministering the bandage day after day. However through the implementation phase obstacles will be encountered and effective methods of establishment must be pre-administered. In all the success of a community policing program depends on the professionalism and determination of those selected officers administering the program. Given time officers involved in the program will find gratitude due to the fact that they will be allowed to exercise independent thoughts and actions in order to solve community problems through cost-effective and innovative ways.
Glensor, Ronald W., FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Jul 96, vol. 65 Issue 7, p14.
Lurgio, Arthur J. and Wesley G. Skogan, Crime and Delinquency, Jul 94, vol. 40
Issue 3, p315.
Skogan, Wesley G. and Mary Ann Wycoff, Quality Policing in Madison: An
Evaluation of its Implementation and Impact (final technical report). Washington D.C. The Police Foundation.
Walters, Paul M., FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Nov 93, vol. 62 Issue 11, p20.
Wycoff, Mary Ann, Community Policing Strategies. 1994. Unpublished final
report, Washington D.C.: National Institute of Justice