TEN PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNITY POLICING
Trojanowicz, Robert & Bucqueroux, Bonnie (1990).
Community Policing: a Contemporary Perspective.Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co.
1. Philosophy and Organizational Strategy
Community policing is both a philosophy (a way of thinking) and an organizational strategy (a way to carry out the philosophy) that allows the police and the community to work closely togetin creative ways to solve the problems of crime, illicit drugs, fear of crime, physical and social disorder (from graffiti to addiction), neighborhood decay, and the overall quality of life in the community. The philosophy rests on the belief that people deserve input into the police process, in exchange for their participation and support. It also rests on the belief that solutions to today’s community problems demand freeing both people and the police to explore creative, new ways to address neighborhood concerns beyond a narrow focus on individual crime incidents.
2. Commitment to Community Empowerment
Community policing’s organizational strategy first demands that everyone in the police department, including both civilian and sworn personnel, must investigate ways to translate the philosophy of power-sharing into practice. This demands making a subtle but sophisticated shift so that everyone in the department understands the need to focus on solving community problems in creative, and often ways, that can include challenging and enlightening people in the process of policing themselves. Community policing implies a shift within the department that grants greater autonomy (freedom to make decisions) to line officer, which also implies enhanced respect for their judgment as police professionals. Within the community, citizens must share in the rights and responsibilities implicit in identifying, prioritizing, and solving problems, as full-fledged partners with the police.
3. Decentralized and Personalized Policing
To implement true community policing, police departments must also create and develop a new breed of line officer who acts as a direct link between the police and the people in the community. As the department’s community outreach specialists, community policing officers must be freed from the isolation of the patrol car and the demands of the police radio so that they can maintain daily, direct, face-to-face contact with the people they serve in a clearly defined beat area. Ultimately, all officers should practice the community policing approach.
4. Immediate and Long-Term Proactive Problem Solving
The community policing officer’s broad role demands continuous, sustained contact with the law-abiding people in the community, so that together they can explore creative new solutions to local concerns, with private citizens serving as supporters and as volunteers. As law enforcement officers, community policing officers respond to calls for service and make arrests, but they also go beyond this narrow focus to develop and monitor broad-based, long-term initiatives that can involve all elements of the community in efforts to improve the quality of life. As the community’s ombudsman, the community policing officer also acts as a link to other public and private agencies that can help in a given situation.
5. Ethics, Legality, Responsibility and Trust
Community policing implies a new contract between the police and the citizens they serve, one that offers hope of overcoming widespread apathy while restraining any impulse of vigilantism. This new relationship, based on mutual trust and respect, also suggests that the police can serve as a catalyst, challenging people to accept their share of responsibility for the overall quality of life in the community. Community policing means that citizens will be asked to handle more of their minor concerns themselves, but in exchange, this will free police to work with people on developing immediate as well as long-term solutions for community concerns in ways that encourage mutual accountability and respect.
6. Expanding the Police Mandate
Community policing adds a vital, proactive element to the traditional reactive role of the police, resulting in full-spectrum policing service. As the only agency of social control open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the police must maintain the ability to respond immediately to crises and crime incidents, but community policing broadens the police role so that they can make a greater impact on making changes today that hold the promise of making communities safer and more attractive places to live tomorrow.
7. Helping Those with Special Needs
Community policing stresses exploring new ways to protect and enhance the lives of those who are most vulnerable–juveniles, the elderly, minorities, the poor, the disabled, the homeless. It both assimilates and broadens the scope of previous outreach efforts such as crime prevention and police community relations.
8. Grass-Roots Creativity and Support
Community policing promotes the judicious use of technology, but it also rests on the belief that nothing surpasses what dedicated human beings, talking and working together, can achieve. It invests trust in those who are on the frontlines together on the street, relying on their combined judgment, wisdom, and experience to fashion creative new approaches to contemporary community concerns.
9. Internal Change
Community policing must be a fully integrated approach that involves everyone in the department, with community policing officers serving as generalists who bridge the gap between the police and the people they serve. The community policing approach plays a crucial role internally by providing information about and awareness of the community and its problems, and by enlisting broad-based community support for the department’s overall objectives. Once community policing is accepted as the long-term strategy, all officers should practice it. This could take as long as ten to fifteen years.
10. Building for the Future
Community policing provides decentralized, personalized police service to the community. It recognizes that the police cannot impose order on the community from the outside, but that people must be encouraged to think of the police as a resource that they can use in helping to solve contemporary community concerns. It is not a tactic to be applied and then abandoned, but a new philosophy and organizational strategy that provides the flexibility to meet local needs and priorities as they change over time.
About Community Policing
What Is Community Policing?
Effective community policing has a positive impact on reducing neighborhood crime, helping to reduce fear of crime and enhancing the quality of life in the community. It accomplishes these things by combining the efforts and resources of the police, local government and community members.
An Idea for the Times
Community policing is a collaborative effort between the police and the community that identifies problems of crime and disorder and involves all elements of the community in the search for solutions to these problems. It is founded on close, mutually beneficial ties between police and community members.
Community policing offers a way for law enforcement to help re-energize our communities. Developing strong, self-sufficient communities is an essential step in creating an atmosphere in which serious crime will not flourish.
A Practical Approach to Problems
Community policing seeks the input and talents of all members of the community in the effort to safeguard our neighborhoods.
Community policing is being advocated by leaders at the highest levels of government. It has even been suggested that community policing can play a primary role in directing the way government services are provided at the community level.
Getting Back to the People
At the center of community policing are three essential and complementary core components: community partnership, problem solving and change management.
Community partnership recognizes the value of bringing the people back into the policing process. All elements of society must pull together as never before if we are to deal effectively with the unacceptable level of crime claiming our neighborhoods.
Problem solving identifies the specific concerns that community members feel are most threatening to their safety and well-being. These areas of concern then become priorities for joint police-community interventions.
Change management requires a clear recognition that forging community policing partnerships and implementing problem-solving activities will necessitate changes in the organizational structure of policing. Properly managed change involves a recognition of the need for change, the communication of a clear vision that change is possible, the identification of the concrete steps needed for positive change to occur, the development of an understanding of the benefits of change, as well as the creation of an organization-wide commitment to change.
What Makes Community Policing Different?
Law enforcement has long recognized the need for cooperation with the community it serves. Officers speak to neighborhood groups, participate in business and civic events, consult with social agencies and take part in education programs for school children. Foot, bike and horse patrols bring police closer to the community.
More Effective Ways to Solve Ongoing Problems
Law enforcement leaders seeking innovative ways to enhance performance and maximize resources have struck a responsive chord across the nation with a variety of community policing initiatives. Government and community leaders are increasingly cognizant that they must accept a share of the responsibility for problems caused by lapses in many areas of society. Police have long borne a disproportionate share of this burden.
Renewed Emphasis on Crime Prevention
Law enforcement is looking to enhance its tough stance on crime with renewed focus on strategies that help prevent crime, reduce fear of crime and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. This requires an intimate knowledge of the community.
Policing concepts currently in vogue have tended to isolate officers from the communities they serve which can hamper crime-control efforts. Community policing allows law enforcement to get back to the principles upon which it was founded, to integrate itself once again into the fabric of the community so that the people come to the police for counsel and help before a serious problem arises, not after the fact.
How Does Community Policing Work?
Expanded Policing Goals
Crime prevention takes on renewed importance in community policing as the police and the community become partners in addressing problems of disorder and neglect that can breed serious crime. As links between the police and the community are strengthened over time, the partnership is better able to pinpoint and mitigate the underlying causes of crime.
Community Policing Relies on Active Community Involvement
Community policing recognizes that community involvement gives new dimension to crime- control activities. While police continue to handle crime fighting and law enforcement responsibilities, the police and community work together to modify conditions that can encourage criminal behavior. The resources available within communities allow for an expanded focus on crime-prevention activities.
Police Services Delivered Through the Neighborhood Patrol Officer
Patrol officers and deputies are the primary providers of police services in community policing efforts. They handle the daily policing needs of the community. The entire police organization backs the efforts of the neighborhood officers.
Effective community policing depends on optimizing contact between patrol officers and community members so that the officer develops an intimate knowledge of the day-to-day workings of the community and becomes a familiar figure to community members.
Trust Is the Heart
Establishing and maintaining mutual trust is the central goal of community partnership. Trust will give the police greater access to valuable information that can lead to the prevention of and solution of crimes. It will also engender support for police activities and provide a basis for a productive working relationship with the community that will find solutions to local problems.
Given the current climate of distrust in many of our communities, sheriffs and police chiefs and their officers will need to make a concerted effort to forge bonds of understanding and cooperation with community members. Building trust will require ongoing effort, but it is essential to effective community policing.
Long-Term Commitment Needed
Community policing does not offer a quick fix. It requires a long-term commitment by police to work with community members to reach mutually agreed-upon goals. Forming lasting partnerships to eradicate the underlying causes of crime will take effort, time and patience on the part of all involved.
Law enforcement is finding that in addition to bringing police closer to the people, community policing offers a myriad of other benefits. Making effective use of the talents and resources available within communities will help extend severely strained police resources. As police interaction with the community becomes more positive, productive partnerships will be formed, leading to greater satisfaction with police services and increased job satisfaction among officers. Reduced levels of crime will allow more police resources to be allocated to services that have the greatest impact on the quality of community life.
How Do We Get Started?
Understand Community Policing
Ideally, members of a community desiring a transition to community policing have a basic understanding of the philosophy underlying it and the strategies required to make it work. A first step in that direction is to read and disseminate the material that is located on this web site. Especially useful to community policing beginners is the Consortium’s monograph,Understanding Community Policing: A Framework for Action. The Consortium’s newsletter, Community Links features community policing success stories that illustrate how community policing philosophies translate into local strategies that meet communities’ needs. The Consortium’s curricula offer insights into the Framework, problem solving, community mobilization, change management, and strategic planning. The Information Access Guide, Electronic Library and links to other Internet sites direct you to additional resources.
There is no single recipe for successful community policing implementation. The appropriate implementation strategy will depend, in part, on conditions within your law enforcement agency and your community. However, common to all community policing strategies are the three core components of problem solving, community partnership and change management. The basic requirements of these components are communication, cooperation, coordination, collaboration and change. Getting started requires a commitment to this community policing strategy.
Talk About It
Communication is the foundation for cooperation, coordination, collaboration and change. It is important to start communication early in the community policing implementation process.
If you are a representative of a law enforcement agency that is interested in implementing community policing, examine with your peers the crime control problems in your community and discuss how a community policing approach can enhance your current enforcement efforts. Share what you know about community policing with community members and representatives of community groups. Begin talking to them about their perceptions of crime and disorder in their neighborhoods.
If you are a civilian, contact your local law enforcement agency to discuss its community policing efforts. Ask them how you, as a member of the community, can assist them in addressing the problems of concern to you in your neighborhood.
Federal Community Policing Initiatives
If you would like to obtain information about COPS programs, or to request an application for a COPS grant, call the Department of Justice Response Center at (800) 421-6770.
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