The Future of Community Policing

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The Future of Community Policing
The Department of Justice defines community policing as a philosophy that “focuses on crime and social disorder through the delivery of police services that includes aspects of traditional law enforcement, as well as prevention, problem-solving, community engagement, and partnerships.” There are three key components to the community policing philosophy. These include: The creation of and reliance on effective partnerships with the community and other public/private-sector resources, the application of problem- solving strategies or tactics, and the transformation of police organization and culture to support this philosophical shift. In other words, community policing is not in itself a tactic or strategy, but instead a philosophical approach to how policing is conducted. At its core, community-oriented policing is based on law enforcement and the community joining together to identify and address issues of crime and social disorder. In 2002, the Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing talked about a series of community-oriented policing resources and practices that have a direct application to terrorism prevention. Included is crime mapping with GIS systems, data collection and analysis protocols, and technologies that may be used for gathering intelligence to measure terrorism weakness. In addition, the community partnerships formed by police in the course of community-oriented problem solving provide an agenda for engaging citizens in helping police to identify possible threats and implement preparedness plans. Rob Chapman and Matthew C. Scheider, senior analysts at the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, state that community policing could play an integral role in homeland security. They oppose that by applying the principles of organizational change, problem solving, and external partnerships, community policing can help police to prepare for and prevent terrorist acts, and respond to the fear such threats produce. Community policing helps build a trust between the community and law enforcement, and allows officers to gain more knowledge of their own community and resident activity and can provide vital intelligence relating to potential terrorist actions. Local law enforcement can gain information from ethnic or religious community groups that they have established relationship with; most of the time it is the citizens that observe the unusual behavior. According to Chapman and Scheider, problem-solving models typically used in community policing are well-suited for preventing and responding to possible terrorist activity. Using existing data sources, agencies can conduct target vulnerability assessments and develop risk-management and crisis plans. Community policing is built on the idea that citizens should be empowered to prevent crime or the problems that lead to crime. Establishing and maintaining joint trust is the main goal of community policing because it allows law enforcement to gather valued community information leading to potentially to the prevention and resolution of crimes. The partnerships formed in support of community crime prevention efforts can also provide a framework for engaging citizens to help police identify possible terrorist threats and infrastructure vulnerabilities. Effective community policing involves not only developing partnerships between law enforcement and citizens, however, but also intergovernmental and interagency collaborations with state and federal agencies. These partnerships are essential for the collection and exchange of intelligence, the identification of threats and vulnerabilities, and the sharing of resources in the event of an attack. Like traditional crime, terrorism is a local crime issue and is an obligation shared among federal, state, and local governments. Certainly, traditional crime and terrorism are inextricably linked. International and domestic terrorist groups are well-organized and...
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