Community Policing

Topics: Police, Terrorism, Law enforcement Pages: 9 (3112 words) Published: January 16, 2012
A great deal of the responsibility for preparing for and responding to terrorist events rests with local police departments. Community policing presents an overarching philosophical orientation that agencies can use to better deal with the threat of terrorist events and the fear that they may create. The community policing philosophy can be roughly divided into three interrelated elements: organizational change, problem solving, and external partnerships. Each element applies to the issues of terrorism prevention and response, as well as to fear. Since 11 September, the federal government has greatly increased terrorism prevention and response efforts. However, a large degree of responsibility for dealing with these threats and for alleviating citizen fear rests at the local level. To some degree, the majority of local police departments in the United States have worked to reduce the fear of future terrorist attacks and to prevent and plan for attacks. Law enforcement officials are strategically rethinking public security procedures and practices to maximize the potential of their resources. The philosophy of community policing is important for police in preparing for possible terrorist acts and in responding to the fear they may create. Community policing involves broadening the nature and number of police functions compared to traditional policing models. It emphasizes organizational change, active problem solving, and external partnerships to address issues that concern both the police and citizens. In recent years, the philosophy of community policing appears to have been adopted to differing degrees by a large number of law enforcement entities in the United States. For example, a 2001 U.S. Department of Justice report indicates that from 1997 to 1999, departments employing personnel designated as community police rose from 34% to 64%.1 In addition, the absolute number of community policing officers rose from 21,000 to 113,000. However, traumatic events can cause organizations to revert to more traditional modes of operation. The events of 11 September may have been no exception for U.S. law enforcement. Some police departments may have been quick to dismiss community policing efforts and programs for seemingly more immediate and pressing security concerns. However, the community policing philosophy is well positioned to play a central role in local law enforcement responses to terrorism. Community policing shifts the focus of police by placing equal emphasis on crime control, order maintenance, and service provision.2, 3 In addition, it asks police to work with citizens and with other government agencies in efforts to increase overall quality of life. Thus, the model moves away from police-dominated crime control through reactive responses to calls for service. Community policing models move toward active problem solving centered on the underlying conditions that give rise to crime and disorder and on fostering partnerships between the police and the community.4, 5, 6 There is no one commonly recognized definition of community policing. Here we offer one possible definition that we will then apply to preventing and responding to terrorist events. Community policing can be defined as a philosophy that, through the delivery of police services, focuses on crime and social disorder; the philosophy includes aspects of traditional law enforcement as well as prevention, problem-solving tactics, and partnerships. As a fundamental shift from traditional, reactive policing, community policing stresses the prevention of crime. Community policing requires police and citizens to join as partners in identifying and effectively addressing the underlying conditions that give rise to crime and disorder. Community policing can be roughly divided into three inter-related elements: organizational change, problem solving, and external partnerships. The Community Policing Philosophy

Organizational Change
Ideally, community...

References: Click on an end note number to return to the article.
1. Matthew J. Hickman and Brian A. Reaves, “Community Policing in Local Police Departments, 1997 and 1999,” Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report (Washington, DC: Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, 2001).
2. Robert Trojanowicz and Bonnie Bucqueroux, Community Policing: A Contemporary Perspective (Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing, 1990).
3. James Q. Wilson, Varieties of Police Behavior (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968).
4. Herman Goldstein, Problem-Oriented Policing (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1990).
5. Michael S. Scott, Problem-Oriented Policing: Reflections on the First 20 Years (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services, 2000).
6. James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety,” Atlantic Monthly, volume 249, no. 3, March 1982, pp. 29–38.
7. Herman Goldstein.
8. Michael S. Scott.
9. A. Steven Dietz, “Evaluating Community Policing: Quality Police Service and Fear of Crime
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