- April 16, 2020
Community Policing in America Today
CommunityPolicing in America Today
CommunityPolicing in America Today
Communitypolicing does not represent a particular program, set of activities,or employee designation. Comparably, it serves as a law enforcementpolicy as identified by Williams, 2015) aimed at enhancing publicsafety. The method increasingly gained popularity as an alternativeto the failing conventional policing associated with street crime,particularly drug trafficking and violence. Community policingencourages mutual coordination and trust between the police andmembers of the public while simultaneously helping in neighborhoodempowerment on the dangers of drugs, crime, as well as, a mixture ofunrest and despair. Multiple individuals argue that neighborhoodpolicing equates to problem solving. Howbeit, it permits the lawenforcement agencies to return to their previous founded principlesthat ensure their integration with the community to promote crimehelp and counsel before the fact. Elevating a community’s qualityof life is significant although it distinctly differentiates fromefforts of restoring harms related to certain crime violations.Despite the benefits that community policing presents to the society,not all American police departments utilize this strategy to policing(The United States Conference of Mayors, 2015). Some of them do notunderstand community engagement and usefulness, police legitimacy,and public safety problem solving. In view of this, American policinghas found difficulty in attempting to deviate from the call-centered,reactive system, which defines the traditional mode of policing. Inthis paper, I aim to discuss whether neighborhood policing is stillan appropriate method of dealing with the crime rates in America.
America’sprofessional policing method began in 1920 and run through to 1970(Lawrence & McCarthy, 2013). Under this framework, thepublic-police relationships were distant because the police worked asa separate entity from the proper they are to assist and protect. Thepolice authorities then supported this idea assuming the importanceof police professionalism towards citizen interaction. Consequently,the separation approach resulted in police inefficiency in assistingand protecting the community due to the relationship drift. In the1960s, the situation got worse prompting the police administrators toseek for a modern strategy and philosophy to restore police adequacy(Lawrence & McCarthy, 2013). Community policing was theninitiated to increase police-public interactions. In the 1980s, thepolicing model evolved to a modern framework that involved extensivetechnical assistance and training. The police formed helpfulpartnerships with the community inhabitants and researchers throughregional networks of community policing institutions. Since then, theintensified recognition and funding of this policing method developedsuccess stories ensuring its ongoing implementation across the UnitedStates of America.
Inthis twenty-first century, while a good percentage of policingdepartment have successfully mastered the community policinglanguage, only few utilize the three principle strategy facets. Thesedimensions include organizational reform, community partnerships, andproblem-solving (Alarid & Montemayor, 2012).
Modifyingthe police departments operations and institutional structure formsthe first element to a favorable community-policing program.According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (2012), thesealterations can identify as employee practices, organizationalstructure, information technology setups, and management policiesalong with other ways in which departments operate. The policedepartments under this community-policing element organize ingeography-oriented allocations and assignment manner because theyallow close and frequent contacts between officers and the community.With enhanced contact, police are able to understand theneighborhoods concerns and priorities, as well as, have moreunderstanding of the local assets and resources useful in policing.When it occurs at every police department level, both the communityand officers will benefit since they will hire employees willing topractice service-related policing. Despite the effectiveness of thisform of policing, police departments receive limited budgets forcingthem to have a reduced number of staff. With community policing, theymanage to work with civilian employees who handle dispatch, crimescene forensics, and administration among other roles. Gill etal.(2014) claim this relieves sworn officers guaranteeing theirunlimited focus in community policing endeavors and law enforcementassignments.
Overthe previous two decades, the law enforcement agencies have utilizedcomputer technology progressively. For instance, the 21stcentury presents potential concepts that would favor communitypolicing including the use of internet (Kilburn & Krieger, 2014).Given technology’s diminishing cost and upgrading power,development in innovation application expansions and mobilecommunication, computer use is constantly applied through policedepartments in the U.S. Organizational transformations offer manyadvantageous factors to the police department however, most fail totake that into account. Social media offers an effective arena toeducate and communicate with the community citizens. Despite this,many police departments continue to have a very limited presence insocial media platforms, others primarily focusing on Facebookcomparative to others like My Space and Twitter among others. Forexample, the Transverse City police department fails to takeadvantage of the social media platforms in engaging their community(Transverse City Police Department, 2016). It however decided onembracing the trend and opened up their departmental page of Facebookbut face problems in adoption other platforms owing to budgetconstraints and staffing limitations.
Inthis digital age, organizational reforms are essential because mostof the community citizens participate in these platforms. It is truethat many people cannot fail to check on their social media accountson a daily basis making it easier and quicker for the police to relayvaluable announcements to the public along with soliciting criminalinvestigation tips (Kilburn & Krieger, 2014). Furthermore, theoffices must go through appropriate training to understand andsufficiently employ social media tools that allow the establishmentof a safe community. When applied wisely, law enforcement presence insocial media can attract dividends such as transparency. Especiallyif a member of the police department is found on the wrong side ofthe law, it becomes easier for their affiliate department to separatethe deeds from their institution through social media (Rosenbaum etal.,2011). They can post a formal apology to the public and initiatefurther discussions. Through such acts, the community inhabitants maydevelop trust for their police solidifying their relationship.Additionally, a maximum police-community communication structuresupports the 911 utilization on genuine emergencies to respondquickly to situations.
Communitypartnership components aim to create and maintain patrol officers andthe community’s mutual trust. American police acknowledge thecoordination needs with the public. To fight the severe crimes,police encourage community members to volunteer useful information.Carter & Carter (2016) claim they have worked in collaborationwith social agencies, conversed with the neighborhood groups,attended and engaged in civic and business events, and participatedin recreational and academic programs related to schoolchildren.Furthermore, police special units offer various crisis mediationservices. In agreement with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (2012),under community partnerships, police are vital elements in communitycultures, while the public helps define the ultimate priorities andresource allocations.
Theconcept of community partnership allows police to develop a policingviewpoint, which surpasses the regular law enforcement strategies.The approach identifies valuable operations that ensure thewell-being and structure of the community. The operations range fromhelping out in case of accidents, crime victims, neighborhood andfamily disputes, to offering social and medical emergency services,and controlling pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic (Gill etal.,2014). They also work alongside the local businesses and residents inimproving community conditions, help protect personal constitutionrights, and present frameworks of citizenship. In a scope, these formof strategies help create officer-community trust. Rosenbaum etal.(2011) claim the trusts guarantees the police access to vast numbersof informative data from their affiliated communities helping them insolving or preventing crimes. It is important for the whole policedepartment to involve themselves in community cooperation strategiesto promote security and safety.
However,trust requires patience since it is progressive. Even so, it is theinitial necessary tool before assessing community needs and trying toestablish close relationships that would attract neighborhoodsupport. For police to build trust, their contact with residentsshould have a sensitive and respectful attitude. If they persist toemploy arrogance, rudeness, or force when dealing with the members,they will inhibit coordination. Moreover, the police must realizethat they should use distinct methods in diverse communities. It ismuch easier for them to gain approval from the wealthy andmiddle-class residents opposed to the less privileged ones. Toreinforce their trust with these poor communities, patrol officersmust build bonds through helping the basic social structures dampenedby intense disorder or crime. Carter & Carter (2016) claim underthis component of community policing, the police serve asfacilitators and catalysts since the community becomes needs toparticipate actively in policing rather than serve as an informationsource.
Further,community alliance should not have prescribed limits such as certaincircumstances or sequences of circumstances that are confined bygiven period inhibitions. If they primarily stick to theselimitations, then it is possible that they will not get all therequired information to create community peace and prosperity. Theoutlook should be equal and enduring breaking down traditionalcivilian versus professional notions (Rosenbaum etal.,2011). Additionally, when specific officers have a consistentpresence in a community, it is more likely that these people willidentify with them at a greater level, which will encourage theirresponse on matters crime. Even so, this alone is not substantial.The police organizations in their entirety should ally vigorouslywith neighborhood members to make sure there is all-round crimeprevention, as well as, order preservation program.
Asfar as the patrol officers are concerned, the police-communityrelationship involves offering the residents with security advices inthe comfort of their homes and engaging the neighborhood businessowners in a bid to understand their issues (Bureau of JusticeAssistance, 2012). Additionally, it entails organizing and supportingthe resident’s normal meetings and watch groups. In case of aseries of burglaries in a certain region, these patrol officers oftenrevisit the affected community members whenever the culprit isapprehended. They will also extensively engage in controversialtopics within the community and educate them on tactics needed tohandle such situations. Lawrence & McCarthy (2013) claim theywill also provide useful insights on how the community residents cansuppress gang activities and in turn directly welcome the communityleaders, resident, groups along with local government authority’sfears and suggestions.
Whenone comes across this word, many explanations come to mind. Incommunity policing, the problem-solving concept exceeds basic crimeeradication and prevention rather it assumes that criminal anddisorderly activities can decline when small locations are studied(Gill etal.,2014). The evaluation involves identifying the problemcharacteristics in the region ensuring the applications of properresources. Furthermore, individuals tend to come up with gooddecisions when faced with situations that influence their livesdirectly. Essentially, police acknowledge the effectual nature ofthis form of approach. In the recent years, more awareness isdirected towards the involvements of neighborhoods in the success ofproblem solving. Crime causes determinants associate with the extentto which the affected community is knowledgeable. Due to this, Carter& Carter (2016) point out that the police forces and communitiesbenefit from the residents’ contribution towards problem solvingonce their input is prioritized. Additionally, collaborative problemsolving components offers perfect communication channels reinforcestrust, and results in other area identifications, which need mutualpolice-community attention.
Tocreate a sufficient problem-solving program, the law enforcementofficers must solely direct their attention amid recognizing thecommunity issues validity (Lawrence & McCarthy, 2013). It is truethat the police and community-related groups will have somedisagreements based on the prioritization of certain challenges. Forexample, the officers may consider robberies to be a huge menace invarious communities whereas the members of this neighborhood may havea different menace including the beggars in the streets. In short,the community and police prerogatives may be different causing astrain to problem solving. To rectify this challenge, both the policeand communities should be able to identify the main problem andexchange information regarding the same. Once this is accomplished,they will be able to develop trust and ultimately solve the problemsof the community associated with crime.
TheBureau of Justice Assistance (2012) asserts that multiple solutionsexist that can handle different problems but they have variousdegrees, which may solve even the most complicated issues. The limitof problem solving is attributed to creativity, enthusiasm,imagination, and perseverance. Overall, community policing offersplatforms where solutions can be fashioned to fit specific communityconcerns. The most successful ones satisfy every community member,improve safety, boost order, reduce anxiety, limit coerciveactivities, and solidify links between the law enforcement andneighborhoods (Rosenbaum etal.,2011). They may include computer systems and mobile applications thatensure prompt communications of problems to the police so that theparties involved can come up with a suitable solution.
Everymember of the police force should have a hand in problem solving asper the problem severity and scope. Without their involvement, it ismore likely that they might miss an important aspect of achievingsecurity and well-being since they will lack most of the information.Further, they must be able to relate crimes to community residentbehaviors like in cases of spouse battery owing to heavy drinking inillegal clubs working later than the required time. In such cases,the community members, police, and supervisors may round up andensure the closing of these clubs minimizing drunk-related crimes.
Uponlooking at the narrations shown on the news, there is a wide mistrustgap exists between the police and some communities in the UnitedStates. Numerous resident reports claim harassment, rudeness, orarrogance by police with no substantial reason. The accusations evenrise to the uncalled for shooting of individuals who are on the rightside of the road as in the cases of the #BlackLifeMatters campaignsaround states in the country. Due to such scenarios, the mistrustbetween the two parties has even grown wider especially with the useof internet and social media platforms to drive the matter home intomostly the African American communities. Kilburn & Krieger (2014)claim the target of a particular group unfairly cuts any chances oftrust development making it even more difficult to rebuild it onlater times. If the police understood the three principles ofcommunity policing, they would have realized that unfair treatment islikely to be passed online. Once this is done, this digital age picksit up very easily and spreads the news at a fast rate diminishing thename of the police department. Consequently, the community residentssee no use in collaborating with the same institution that victimizesthem.
Anotherproblem related to the matter is the misinterpretation of the rolesof the components by police. Primarily, the police department viewevent organizations as the central community policing strategy, whichis untrue. They fail to understand that community policing involvesmuch more than handing community residents foodstuffs or physicalaid. The American police should undergo extensive training on thissubject in order to integrate all three elements of communitypolicing. In agreement with Rosenbaum etal.(2011), this will make sure they restore the already damaged trustacross the country.
Ultimately,it is possible for the American police to change their attitudestowards community policing and embrace it in its totality. When thisis done, the concept can work as a valuable tool not only to oneneighborhood but also to the entire United States of America society.They should acknowledge that proper community policing needs hardwork. When the police restructure their mode of organizations, theywill be able to round up long-term commitment and sufficientresources from the authoritative departmental personnel along withthe community leaders. Change of departmental culture may bechallenging compared to the changing of procedures, training, andpolicies. The law enforcement and community in question must embraceand maintain meaningful partnerships through inclusive training anddesignated responsibilities to enjoy fruitful outcomes.
Communitypolicing brings forth a modern viewpoint of handling the root causesconnected with crime. The policing method needs vast support amongthe domestic society as a whole. It is the duty of the policeofficers to educate community members in the identification of realemergencies and non-emergencies. Through this, the law enforcementswill reduce the number of invalid calls that flood their phone lineson a daily basis. The police should also change their perceptions onthe use of community in solving and eradicating crimes. They mustconsider them as partners instead of information tools so that trustcan build facilitating the proper passing of information. When thelaw enforcement officials adopt the actual intentions surroundingcommunity policing, they will find it very helpful and reduce crimerates in a bigger scale.
Alarid,L. F., & Montemayor, C. D. (2012). Implementing restorativejustice in police departments.Police Practice & Research,13(5), 450-463
Bureauof Justice Assistance. (2012). Understanding Community Policing: AFramework for Action. Monograph,retrieved online on 11 November 2016, fromwww.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/commp.pdf
Carter,D. L., & Carter, J. G. (2016). Effective Police HomicideInvestigations. HomicideStudies,20(2), 150.
Gill,C., Weisburd, D., Telep, C., Vitter, Z., & Bennett, T. (2014).Community-oriented policing to reduce crime, disorder and fear andincrease satisfaction and legitimacy among citizens: a systematicreview. Journalof Experimental Criminology,10(4), 399.
Kilburn,M., & Krieger, L. (2014). Policing in an information age: theprevalence of State and local law enforcement agencies utilising theWorld Wide Web to connect with the community. InternationalJournal of Police Science & Management,16(3), 221.
Lawrence,S. & McCarthy, B. (2013). What Works in Community Policing?.Warren Institute, retrieved online on 11 November 2016 fromwww.lsw.berkeley.edu/files/What_Works_in_Community_Policing.pdf
Rosenbaum,D. P., Graziano, L. M., Stephens, C. D., & Schuck, A. M. (2011).Understanding Community Policing and Legitimacy-Seeking Behavior inVirtual Reality: A National Study of Municipal Police Websites.PoliceQuarterly,14(1), 25.
TheUnited States Conference of Mayors. (2015). StrengtheningPolice-Community Relations in America’s Cities. Areport of the U.S. Conference of Mayors,retrieved online on 11 November 2016, fromwww.usmayors.org/83rdWinterMeeting/media/012215-report-policing-pdf
TransverseCity Police Department. (2016). Community Policing and Relations.TCPDCommunity Policing Task Force Analysis & Proposal-2016, retrievedonline on 11 November 2016, fromwww.traversecitymi.gv/downloads/community_policing_study_2016.pdf
Williams,R. (2015). Policing under review: discord among Americans on thenature of policing has law enforcement officials, community leadersand lawmakers searching for solutions. StateLegislatures,(10), 12.