Community policing is a proven method for lowering the crime rate in the United States. Community policing has been a law enforcement strategy for nearly thirty years. In august of 1994, the United States Department of Justice formed the Community Policing Consortium. The goal of this consortium was to develop a framework for understanding and implementing community policing in neighborhoods across America. The consortium consisted of representatives from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriff’s Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the Police Foundation. According to the consortium, community policing consists of two core components, community partnership and problem solving (Gaffigan, 1994, p. 13). Community partnership focuses on a mutual trust between local police departments and their community’s residents. In order to facilitate this mutual trust police should encourage residents to come forth with any information they may have. In turn police departments should send representatives to speak with neighborhood groups, participate in business and civic events, work with social agencies, and take part in educational and recreational programs for school children (Gaffigan, 1994, p.13). The consortium also encourages police departments to perform duties outside of the normal law enforcement scope. Some of these duties include helping accident or crime victims, providing emergency medical services, helping dissolve domestic and neighborhood conflicts, working with residents and local businesses to improve neighborhood conditions, and providing a model of citizenship (Gaffigan, 1994, p.13). The second core component, problem solving, is the elimination and prevention of crimes. A number of underlying factors affect the way in which this can be accomplished. “These conditions might include the characteristics of the people involved (offenders, potential victims, and others), the social setting in which these people interact, the physical environments, and the way the public deals with these conditions” (Gaffigan, 1994, p. 18). In order for police departments to combat these problems they must look not only at their own concerns but also those of the community. The Community Policing Consortium states that implementation can occur in a variety of ways. The first step to lowering the crime rate is for elected officials to push for legislation in favor of community policing programs in order for them to be successful and community involvement. “Just as the police need to determine the best ways to respond to and solve problems of crime and violence, political leaders and service providers need to find ways to direct all available resources at these critical social problems” (Gaffigan, 1994, p. 38). The extent of change from the current day-to-day operations of a police department may also hinder or help implementation. If a special community-policing unit is formed it may be more detrimental than beneficial. Officers may become more separated (Gaffigan, 1994, p. 30). Early support is also critical and must come from the top down (Gaffigan, 1994, p. 31). This would be essential due to the fact that each level of supervision looks to the next for guidance. The consortium states that the deployment of personnel is also essential to the success of community policing. The second step to lowering the crime rate is that officers should be assigned to the same shift and beat in order to develop close community partnerships. “Officers working long-term assignments on the same shift and beat will become familiar figures to community members and will become aware of the day-to-day workings of the community” (Gaffigan, 1994, p. 24). The third step to lowering the crime rate involves supervision and support from the Chief down. “Chiefs who do not invest in assessing and responding to the honest attitudes of managers, who do not invest in defining the new roles managers are expected to play,...
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