There has always been a love-hate relationship between the public and the police. When called upon to help, they can be something sent from God, but when they are writing tickets, or taking a friend to jail, the view changes from a savior to a presence that is unwanted and often hated. An effort to improve the public view of law enforcement is being attempted by many departments. Using different styles of policing techniques, mainly community based policing, has proved to be the best way to improve the image of law enforcement.
Community based policing can best be defined as, "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" (Willard Oliver). Community based policing is the idea that the role of the police is not that of catching "bad guys," but more that of serving the public. In order for community based policing to have an effect, the presence of crime isn't needed, in fact it's often more effective without the involvement of crime, "Modern police departments are frequently called upon to help citizens resolve a vast array of personal problems--many of which involve no law-breaking activity" (Tim Newburn). The role of the police officer in community based policing, is to have an active part in the community
Community policing consists of two complimentary components - community partnership and problem solving. The police must develop positive relationships with citizens to improve crime control and prevention, and to better utilize the resources available to address the most urgent concerns. Community signifies a legal subdivision or jurisdiction which is commonly too expansive or too diverse to be susceptible to a single community-Wide program or method of policing (Willard Oliver). To be successful, community-policing programs operate on a neighborhood scale, finding solutions to neighborhood problems. Successful programs recognize that something, which works well in one neighborhood, may be totally inappropriate to another, requiring that problems are identified and solutions arc developed, one neighborhood at a time (Willard Oliver).
Community policing is based on several different principles that help police officers and the community to work together. The first major aspect is to prevent crime and disorder, also police must enforce laws impartially. Another main point requires polices to only use force as a last resort and the best indicator of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder. This is shown by statistics or the number of arrests made in a certain area. I just got done covering the main points of community policing so now I will discuss what community policing is and what community policing is not (Tim Newburn). Community policing is not just proactive but reactive and also is involve in problem solving. It allows officers to get acquainted with a specific geographical area and the members of that community. Statistics and surveys help police departments to customized there neighborhood by knowing what equipment and resources they need for a specific area (Tim Newburn). This next paragraph will discuss some misconceptions about what community policing really is.
Community policing is not a quick fix nor is it soft on crime and therefore it requires participation among all law enforcement not just a few. Police officers are not social workers and there is no singular technique to resolve all problems. Community policing does not propose that we stop fighting crime and disorder, but that officers employ new and innovative strategies that will make us pro-active and preventive in nature rather than exclusively reactive (Tim Newburn). Enforcement is very much a part of the concept. Officers are encouraged to give warnings whenever possible however, they are still required to make traffic stops and arrests. There is still...
Cited: Maudlyne, Ihejirika. Illinois: More than 3,000 guns turned in. Chicago Sun-Times. 04/28/2006. http://www.freerepublic.com
Oliver, Willard. A Systemic Approach to Policing. New York, 2006
Newburn, Tim. Policing: Key Readings. New York, 2005
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