Three Styles of Policing

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Project 1, Memorandum
Kirsten Atwood
CRJ 160
Evan Wright

City of Monterey

Inner-office Memorandum

Date:February 29, 2012

To:E.J. Wright, City Manager

From:Kirsten Atwood, Chief of Police

Subject:Management of the Monterey Police Department

With my new achievement of Chief of police within the Monterey Police Department, it is my goal to provide this city with the best policing style that I believe will be the most beneficial regarding the everlasting fight on crime here in our city. In order to provide the people of Monterey with the best results of our policing style, it is most important to diagnose the reoccurring problems that have effects on the city and community as a whole such as the shocking homicide rates. As the Chief of Police, it is my duty to understand the three different styles of policing introduced by James Q. Wilson, which include the Watchman Style, the Legalistic Style and the Service Style, and to make my decision on which style I wish to pursue for the Police Department of Monterey, which will ultimately result in the service style. First, I would like to familiarize everyone with what a policing style is. As Kuykendal (2001) states, “A police style is how each department and officer view their particular mission or purpose and identify with particular methods or techniques to fulfill that purpose.  At the departmental level, style reflects the historical legacy of the agency, and to a lesser degree, the socio-demographic characteristics of the population it serves.” Here in Monterey, our mission statement reads as follows, “Responsive to all, second to none every time.” This shows that we deeply care about the citizens residing here in Monterey and respect the fact that they have put their trust in us to serve and protect them as sworn peace officers. In order to determine a proper style for the city of Monterey, I must first delicately analyze each policing style. The first person to study policing styles was James Q. Wilson.  Each department usually has one of three styles, although some may be a mix of two.  The three styles are: watchman; legalistic; and service.  Briefly according to Wilson, a watchman style is generally found in poorer communities and emphasizes informal police intervention persuasion, threats, avoiding arrest because the priority is maintaining order.  A legalistic style is a commitment to enforcing the letter of the law and frequent use of arrests in a focus on community safety, but takes a hands-off approach to community problems that are not crimes.  A service style is bent on helping the community by working hand in hand with social service agencies, and by using referrals rather than arrest. While all these styles can be applied to a department, and all of them have their own unique benefits, it is of my best interest to suggest the service style of policing for the Monterey Police Department. The reason in which I believe that service style of policing will be the most beneficial to the Monterey Police Department is because of the lack of community affiliations and community oriented programs available in the county. Monterey, like all other police departments, has been paralyzed with budget issues, preventing them from initiating community policing programs. It is very important to get involved, and as Sir Robert Peele once said, “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” This shows the significance of community oriented policing. As Weisheit, (1994) states “One of the major issues between Law Enforcement and the community is a lack of trust.” If the community is incapable of trusting the people in which are supposed to be protecting and serving them, then this can...
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