Kerry D. Turner
Florence Darlington Technical College
Community policing is, in essence, a collaboration between the police and the community that identifies and solves community problems. With the police no longer the sole guardians of law and order, all members of the community become active allies in the effort to enhance the safety and quality of neighborhoods. Community policing has far-reaching implications. The expanded outlook on crime control and prevention, the new emphasis on making community members active participants in the process of problem solving, and the patrol officers’ pivotal role in community policing require profound changes within the police organization. The neighborhood patrol officer, backed by the police organization, helps community members mobilize support and resources to solve problems and enhance their quality of life. Community members voice their concerns, contribute advice, and take action to address these concerns. Creating a constructive partnership will require the energy, creativity, understanding, and patience of all involved (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). Reinvigorating communities is essential if we are to deter crime and create more vital neighborhoods. In some communities, it will take time to break down barriers of apathy and mistrust so that meaningful partnerships can be forged. Trust is the value that underlies and links the components of community partnership and problem solving. A foundation of trust will allow police to form close relationships with the community that will produce solid achievements. Without trust between police and citizens, effective policing is impossible (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). Community policing could arguably be called the new orthodoxy of law enforcement in the United States. It has become an increasingly popular alternative to what many police administrators perceive as the failure of traditional policing to deal effectively with street crime, especially crimes of violence and drug trafficking. Although the concept is defined in varying ways and its and its ability to meet its goals remains largely untested, community policing has gained widespread acceptance. The movement toward community policing has gained momentum in recent years as police and community leaders search for more effective ways to promote public safety and to enhance the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Chiefs, sheriffs, and other policing officials are currently assessing what changes in orientation, organization, and operations will allow them to benefit the communities they serve by improving the quality of the services they provide. Community policing encompasses a variety of philosophical and practical approaches and is still evolving rapidly. Community policing strategies vary depending on the needs and responses of the communities involved; however, certain basic principles and considerations are common to all community policing efforts (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). Community policing promotes mutual trust and cooperation between people and the police, at the same time it helps empower neighborhoods in danger of being overwhelmed by crime, drugs, and the poisonous mix of apathy despair and unrest. Many people would argue that the focus of Neighborhood Policing is simple problem solving. Instead, 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. People will still respond to emergencies and other calls. However, many calls to the police are not police related and are more effectively handled by other agencies. As the number of these non-emergency calls decreased, officers are able to spend more time working with citizens to solve crimes and disorder problems (San Diego PD). With better...
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