Community based policing essay

Community based policing essay

Community Policing vs. Traditional Policing Essay

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In addition, the solid, familial bond of brotherhood and sisterhood that exists within the casing of the traditional style of policing will also be presented and explained. Community oriented policing is the second side of policing that we are going to deal with; focusing on its American roots, effectiveness, and future direction of community-oriented policing. A brief biographical sketch will be painted of the person who many law enforcement researchers and analysts have credited with the implementation of the community-oriented model of policing. His basis, reasoning, and a cross-section of his 9 Policing Principles will also be discussed. The public reaction and relationship to-wards the community-oriented model of policing will also be brought to light. The many triumphs, pitfalls, differences, similarities, and core effectiveness of both models of policing will be contrasted and compared.

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The subject of what method or rule is best to use in the protection of the citizens who live, work, and raise families in the United States will more than likely remain a hot-button issue for many years to come. Depending upon the current governmental administration that is occupying our nations’ highest office, partisan politics play a vital role in how law enforcement precincts across America are funded, staffed, and managed. The prevailing morality views and sentiments of the community-at-large, and what they feel is most important to them, in terms of the main focus of law enforcement in their town, must definitely must be taken into account; when law enforcement agencies are outlining a departmental plan of action.

More community action groups, government watchdog organizations, youthful offender programs, positive, after school athletic activities, youthful offender programs, peer mentor-ship programs, faith-based, community initiative alliances, and law enforcement partnering with the community that it serves, (not just with City Hall and its partisan policies), are sorely needed in cities nationwide. When the law enforcement brotherhood is able to gain a crystal clear understanding of what type of services are needed in the various communities that each individual department serves, then and only then will the proverbial bridges begin to be built. Then healing and reconciliation can finally start between law enforcement and concerned citizens. All of these factors are core essential; to ensure that cities across America are able to grow and maintain a peaceful existence.

Surprising to many, who may think that modern-day policing has its roots in the United States, the original formation and concept for the Metropolitan Police department was started in London, England. Sir Robert Peel, (also known affectionately as, “orange peel”), is credited with creating the first organized police force in 1829; while serving as Home Secretary of England. According to Peel, the true core concept of policing is, “the police are the people and the people are the police”. Sir Robert Peel established nine separate bedrock principles for policing that continue to stand as a road map for law enforcement agencies across America. The first principle Peel outlined in his plan was that, “the basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder”. This could arguably be one of his most important principles. Peel established a force of officers, also known as, “Bobbies”, and, “Peelers”, as they were known, in London.

The new Bobbies were given beats, (particular area a Bobbie would be responsible for). While walking the beat, the Bobbies would interact closely with shop owners, and ordinary citizens. The close proximity of law enforcement in the community established not only an authoritative presence in the community, but also a sense of security for citizens. Bobbies wore dark, professional uniforms that further established their authoritative presence, (the uniforms from the 1800’s are still quite similar to the ones worn by the New York City Police Department).

According to an article concerning the significance of uniforms, Richard R. Johnson, suggests from much research that:The uniform worn by also elicits stereotypes about that human beings status, authority, attitudes, and motivations. The police uniform serves to identify a person as one vested with the powers of the state to arrest and use force. The uniform also serves to establish order and conformity within the ranks of those who wear it by suppressing individuality. The psychological impact of the police uniform should not be underestimated, Johnson, (2005).

This very professional, paramilitary style of uniform worn by most American law enforcement officers is a perfect visual representation of the image that a traditional police officer should portray; one of power, professionalism, and trust.

Building off of the professional concept of serving the public interest through uniform, clear-cut channels, we will explore the traditional police concept. The traditional method of policing, if practiced correctly and efficiently, is an extremely effective mode of operation for any successful police unit. The professional, paramilitary style of dress places the law enforcement officer in the frame of mind that he is a polished professional; and must live up to the image that his uniform represents, on or off the job. The traditional concept of policing also focuses on police administration, (also known as brass), to make most, if not all administrative decisions for all officers in a department or unit.

This type of set-up relies almost totally upon loyalty, duty, and the honor code that exists among law enforcement officers; to ensure compliance with the way that daily official law enforcement business is handled from department to department. Depending on the particular department, law enforcement officers may adhere to an extremely strict code of fraternal brotherhood and sisterhood. This very same bond is usually only found in the armed services; this is the reason why many soldiers are honorably discharged or retire from the armed services to pursue fruitful careers in law enforcement. It means a great deal to a law enforcement officer to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he or she can definitely depend on their fellow officer no matter what.

Contrastingly, the community-oriented side of policing relies very heavily on placing much of the administrative and social duties that were once reserved for upper-level management in the laps of street level law enforcement officers. One of the earliest accounts of active community policing in the U. S. was in 1962 by the San Francisco Police Department; who established a specialized unit of law enforcement officers based on the core concept that, “police would help to reduce crime by reducing despair—- by acting as a social service agency to ameliorate some of the difficulties encountered by minority group persons”, Patterson, J. (n. d.). With the creation of this unit, as officers assigned to this unique unit began to draw closer to the people in the surrounding community, the citizens’ new found relationship with members of this new, community-based police unit prompted some of them to muster enough courage to file formal complaints against regular patrol officers.

While on the one hand, the close relationship with the community was a good thing, the tension that now existed between the community-based unit officers and the regular patrol officers was one of major distrust and constant scandal. The community-based officer program was started to create a balance in community/police relations, but instead, stirred up a huge political mess in the San Francisco Police Department. In any event, the program was discontinued due to the dis-harmony that now existed between these separate sides of the police force. Many times solving one problem only creates a much larger dilemma. Community-policing had seen a major upswing in the 80’s and 90’s; but, departments across America are beginning to realize that the traditional-style of policing is one that commands the most overall respect from citizens.

In closing, as law enforcement technology continues to increase at an almost feverish pace, the styles of law enforcement, (although slowly evolving), will basically remain the same. It would probably be safe to say that many police departments across the nation do not rely totally on community-oriented policing or traditional-policing; each department more than likely has a unique mixture of both of these policing concepts. Whether a particular leans toward the community concept or the traditional concept depends on the individual communities that each department serves. When law enforcement officials take time to conduct research on the various communities that they serve, then our cities can begin the process of placing their trust back in the hands of the police departments that patrol our multi-cultural communities every day.

Community Policing Essay

Community policing (CP) initiatives can be broadly understood as a more or less coherent response to the ethical tension, inherent in a democratic society, of using an elite cadre of professionals (the police) to distribute the use of coercive force across the social body. Over the past 30 years CP, sometimes known as community oriented policing, has become a frequent point of reference in police public relations press releases and local and city government policy statements.

Despite this ubiquity CP has been notoriously difficult to define, a fact that is reflected in the voluminous scholarly debates surrounding its core principles and practical applications. For example, to the dismay of many, the term is often used interchangeably with such alternative labels as “problem-oriented policing,” “broken-windows policing,” “hot-spots policing,” and even “zero tolerance policing.” In part, this difficulty may be a result of CP’s very nature as an open and adaptable approach to policing; a common feature of CP approaches is that, while they may operate under a set of organizational goals, the task of deciding upon the means of achieving those goals is left to lower-level practitioners. As such, there is—by design—no set tool kit of techniques that are deemed applicable across the diversity of situations encountered by community police forces.

Many scholars have attempted to identify a set of core principles that animate community policing initiatives, such as: a reliance on organizational decentralization; increased emphasis on “problem-solving”; facilitated communication between police and the public, including public input on both the proper goals of policing and the best ways to meet those ends; and finally, a broader sharing of policing prerogatives with community members and organizations so that they might be able to participate in their own security. Taken as a whole these principles suggest that, within the larger ethical debate about the proper distribution of force across the social fabric in a democratic society, CP strategies most often push toward a broader participation in decision making and against the narrowing focus of a community of experts.

As with all institutions of contested definition, the historiography of CP is in large part tied to the problem of its conception. While some authors emphasize the functional continuities between more ancient forms of social control and modern CP strategies, for example, in its emphasis on the use of informal social control mechanisms to enforce community norms outside of a formally legal context, most see CP as a strategy which emerges from the historically specific phenomenon of modern police institutions. Such scholars point out that key elements of CP can be traced to the original inception of modern professional police forces as a distinct group of technical experts claiming the special privilege to perform coercive violence legitimately. This special police legitimacy is based in part from authority delegated from the nation-state and in part on the police’s ability to use said force apolitically; that is, in a way that is at the same time legal, nonpartisan, and operating for the larger social good. Within the context of a democratic political system this formulation creates a special paradox: how to square democratic principles of widely shared governance with the politically sanctioned use of force by a small group of individuals? This framework sees CP initiatives as one example in a long line of attempts to resolve this paradox.

However, most authors identify the important shifts in police orientation at the core of community policing strategies as beginning in the mid to late 20th century. These authors suggest that the development of CP be read against the model of urban policing prevalent in the rapidly expanding urban milieu of the United States in the 19th century. This style of policing was directly “political,” they argue, in the sense that it was specifically invested—through the political patronage system—in the maintenance of power of certain political machines. This investment in turn led to extensive corruption, understood specifically to mean not only the punishment of political enemies but also the selective under enforcement of the law such that party favorites were allowed to conduct illegal businesses, which became the key municipal issue of the day. Out of these municipal scandals, such authors argue, emerged the general reform-era (roughly conceived as the time period between 1920 and 1960 in the concerned literature) momentum toward distancing policing policy and administrative decision making from local, or community, control in favor of ostensibly more transparent, and politically neutral, measures of bureaucratic accountability, often under the sign of a broader thrust toward “professionalism.”

By the 1960s, however, challenges to police authority—fueled mainly by urban racial tensions—made this distance untenably pronounced and encouraged the search for new, more viable, approaches to policing. Other factors that have been identified as influencing the rise of community policing include: the emergence of a Hispanic and African American electorate in big U. S. cities, and the consequent rise in politicians interested in assuring that police serve rather than target their constituents; the emergence of well-educated police administrators, with degrees in management and operations research that encouraged them to organize police work so as to “get more for less” at exactly the same time that the effectiveness of traditional approaches to police work were being questioned; the work of police intellectuals in cooperation with a network of federal agencies and think tanks; and wider societal trends toward decentralization, cutting of management layers, and the privatization of public services.

While this history has its merits and is therefore largely persuasive, it should be highlighted that the particular problematic outlined here is culturally, geographically, and historically specific to a degree not explained by CP’s international appeal. It also suggests that perhaps CP is best understood as a number of diverse reactions against a set of historically, geographically, and politically specific policing strategies rather than in a coherent approach in itself. For example, the role of urban police in the political patronage system was by no means globally universal in the 19th century, and its geography does not map perfectly onto the diffusion of CPstyle approaches in the 21st century. In this sense, CP initiatives can be broadly understood as a historically, geographically, and politically specific set of responses to the ethical perplexity of how to distribute the use of coercive force, or violence, across the social body in a democratic society.

Community policing strategies have also garnered a fair share of criticism. As mentioned above, one strain of criticism focuses on CP’s conceptual and definitional ambiguity. Defining what exactly “community policing ” means on a practical level has been a notoriously difficult, if not an inconsonant, task. Some scholars have argued that its intentionally open ended approach has led the term to be applied in describing widely disparate policing apparatuses or, at best, assemblages of policing practice that themselves need to be conceptually distinguished to understand the practical import of the particular policing apparatus under consideration. For example, “community policing” is often confused with other policing strategies such as “broken windows” and zero-tolerance policing, which, many argue, are anathema to the key democratizing principles of community input central to CP. Others have argued that the term’s wide application obfuscates how policing practices operating under its aegis have themselves evolved. Still others have highlighted the conceptual ambiguity associated with the formulation of “community” in “community policing.” A final important strain of criticism points out that while claiming to resolve, or circumvent, political consideration through deference to local or community interests, community policing initiatives are in fact the result—and crucial to the functioning—of the contradictions inherent in neoliberal governance by effectively “privatizing” police work.

On a practical basis, many observers have lamented the lack of institutional and fiduciary investment allotted to CP efforts, arguing that most support is rhetorical in nature and oriented more toward public relations than real organizational élan. A number of factors have been suggested as being at the core of this negligence, including CP’s supposed incompatibility with a masculinist police subculture, dissonance with folk theories of crime and social order, countervalence to neoliberal political economic transformations that divest socially oriented state programs toward more punitive measures, and penal administration trends that look myopically to actuarial measures as indices of “effectiveness” in criminal justice efforts.


  1. Correia, M. E. “The Conceptual Ambiguity of Community in Community Policing–Filtering the Muddy Waters.” Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, v.23/2 (2000).
  2. Greene, Jack R. and Stephen D. Mastrofski. Community Policing: Rhetoric or Reality. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1988.
  3. Herbert, Steve. Citizens, Cops, and Power: Recognizing the Limits of Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.
  4. Skogan, Wesley G., et al. Community Policing, Chicago Style. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  5. Skolnick, Jerome H. and David H. Bayley. “Theme and Variation in Community Policing.” In Crime and Justice, M. Tonry and N. Morris, eds. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1988.
  6. Stenson, Kevin. “Community Policing as a Governmental Technology.” Economy and Society, v.22/3 (1993).

Community Oriented Policing and Problem Oriented Policing

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In the current paper we will compare and contrast Community Oriented Policing and Problem Oriented Policing. The concept of community police officers (called Community Policing and Neighborhood Policing) is based on the assumption that an effective fight against crime and antisocial behavior requires close cooperation between the Police and members of the community. Community Oriented Policing is aimed at working with the community, taking into consideration the opinion of people and thoughts considering the issues, according to Community Oriented Policing (2011).

Assumptions concept. The concept of community police patrols involves increasing the number of pedestrians. Police officers (and other similar services) should be members of the communities in which they work. Building mutual trust and faith in the rule of law continues in through the establishment of direct contacts with the people-police should be open to citizens by showing patience, understanding and willingness to help, even if you entrusted to the problems that have no direct connection with the violation of the law. Conceptually, the police officer has to be more a sort of a “friend” than a civil servant and representative government. You can then count on the active participation of community members in efforts to combat crime.

In the past, the view prevailed that the task of the Police is merely react-in a manner provided by law-the fact of the crime (the repressive function). There was allowed only interference with pathology. Today, it is believed that the role of police is not only to ensure safety, but also the concern for the quality of community life. The first step should be here to determine the needs (problems) in community (for example, homelessness, importunate begging, alcohol abuse), and then preparing and implementing programs tailored to these specific needs. Also, it is desirable here active as organizing talks about drugs or encouraging young people to play sports, according to Community Oriented Policing (2011).

Problem-oriented policing approach to policing has parts of police business (each of which consists of clusters of similar incidents. It can be either crime or acts of disorder that the police are expected to handle, can be microscopic examination, taking into consideration the especially honed skills of crime analysts and the previous experience of the field staff. That is why, there is a hope that what had just been learnt about each problem will lead to the discovery of new and more effective strategy to address it, according to Problem Oriented Policing (2011). Problem-oriented policing is has to implement new strategies, with the help of evaluating their effectiveness, and then to communicate the results in such a way that they will be useful for other agencies and police, which finally contributes to building a body of knowledge that supports the further professionalization of the police.

It should be noted that in the late 1970’s, researchers, police and politicians have become interested in improving the efficiency of the police. Research during this period has had limitations random patrol, rapid response and further criminal investigations-practices that were the basis of police for many years. These results have laid the groundwork for the emergence of problem-oriented policing. All in all, Problem Oriented Policing is aimed at solving problems, at making changes and implementing new approaches in order to be more successful in preventive measures and challenges in future.