Understanding The Prevalence Of Community Policing Report
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The community policing philosophy establishes a positive relationship between the police authorities and the members of the community. According to Dolling and Feltes (1993), the concept of community policing revolves around the establishment of bringing together the police force and community members in solving various community problems. The ideals of the philosophy are to build harmonious and collaborative efforts between the law abiding citizens of the community and the police and to give the community members an opportunity to participate in setting police priorities. The outcome of community policing is the enhancement of coordination by the authorities with the people within the neighborhood.
The main reasons why the US law enforcement agencies adopt the community policing philosophy are to respond to the changing demands of the community needs in terms of accessing police services. Owing to the growing numbers of crimes in the community, police management and administration need to become more flexible and to expand the scope of police services. According to Siegel (2010), the elements of community-oriented policing include the exercise of decentralized decision making and accountability, fixed geographic accountability and generalist responsibility, the use of volunteer resources and enhancers. With the growing crime rates, the police authorities cannot cover all areas in the delivery of prompt and efficient police services. The law enforcement agencies can benefit from the help of community members in solving contemporary community problems that may be related to crimes, violence, accidents and other neighborhood conditions. They see community policing as a primary prevention strategy that can help unburden the police agencies in solving community-related problems and crimes. Under the philosophy, the police exercise broader functions aside from the enforcement of criminal justice, which also include fear reduction and the maintenance of peace and order. There are reasons why the function of the police evolves towards community policing. Research studies provide that police operations alone does not effectively eradicate crimes and does not guarantee public order because crime is a product of socioeconomic conditions, as well as by a poor public policy (Kappeler and Gaines, 2011). This makes the cooperation and participation of every member of the community more beneficial to the police. In addition, in order for the police authorities to have a significant impact in enforcing the law, they first need to have an impact to social conditions.
The most important aspect of community policing that the community finds attractive is the recognition of the essential roles of community members in the maintenance of peace and order in the neighborhood. According to Clear, Hamilton and Cadora (2003), the community-building strategies enforced by the police authorities strengthen the community’s own ability to reduce crime. This approach promotes a community-based intelligence where the police officers take the time to communicate and interact with the local residents and business owners. This is highly beneficial to the community members because this practice allows them to freely communicate their concerns to the police and at the same time the authorities are able to directly provide them the information about crimes or trouble spots in the neighborhood that promotes better awareness to the community members. The presence of personal interaction of the police authorities to the community members also gives the latter the sense of importance in their role in maintaining order in their neighborhood, thereby making them more accountable for their actions.
The police agencies, on the other hand, find that the most important aspect of community policing that is attractive to the workforce is the opportunity for the police to interact with people. Traditionally, the police authorities usually exert more effort in extracting information from the community members that are necessary to help them take the appropriate initiative on how to maintain peace and order and to enforce criminal justice in the neighborhood more effectively. With community policing, it provides a method that will promotes more personal and close interaction between the police and the community members. Consequently, the community members’ attitude in cooperating is more enhanced and the police officers can easily gain external information about important issues in the community that will help them improve their ability to respond to it. Through their regular interaction with the community members, the police force develops a genuine concern to the people around them beyond their role of enforcing criminal justice while gaining the trust of the community in their ability to render police services that boosts the morale of the police agencies in the neighborhood.
The prior policing models that are not acceptable in today’s communities are the traditional roles of the police authorities as mainly enforcers of the law with the attitude of superiority that alienated them from the community. The traditional police organizational structures dictate a more paramilitary organizational approach that Reisig and Kane (2014) pointed out to be mechanistic where the main roles of the police is only law enforcement that insulates them from the public. The community’s need has change where a more lengthy, stable, and personal involvement of the police officers is preferred to be more effective. The doctrine asserting that law enforcement in the main component of a police job is no longer applicable to the current community conditions. The job of the police authorities are now viewed not mainly as law enforcement, but also includes solving community problems, maintaining order and providing services that are drawn from their initiative and ingenuity.
Clear, T.R., Hamilton, J.R. and Cadora, E. (2003). Community Justice. Oxford: Routledge.
Dolling, D. and Feltes, T. (1993). Community Policing: Comparative Aspects of Community Oriented Police Work. Germany: Felix Verlag.
Kappeler, V.E. and Gaines, L.K. (2011). Community Policing: A Contemporary Perspective. Massachussets: Elsevier.
Reisig, M.D. and Kane, R.J. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Police and Policing. New York: Oxford University Press.
Siegel, L. (2010). Introduction to Criminal Justice. California: Wadsworth.
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