CCJS 340 Law Enforcement Administration
The purpose of this paper is to weigh the pros and cons of community policing in hopes of inflicting insight. Upon the ending of this paper I hope the Mayor deems the information worthwhile and persuasive in choosing a side, whether that side be to support community policing or to denounce the topic all together. Since the standpoint on the matter of community policing from the out-going chief of police is unknown, I have decided to omit the interview from the police chief on the topic. As a result of omitting the out-going police chiefs interview, may the mayor and whomever may read this paper be able to remain open minded and willing to gain a perspective of each point of view.
Pros are to include Building a Community Relationship/ Building a Community Partnership, Deterrence, and Problem Solving.
Cons are to include Funding, Is Community Policing Really Effective? and Commitment of both law enforcement and citizens within the community.
Building a community relationship/ Building a community partnership: In order for law enforcement to build a relationship with the people of a community, interaction and communication are imperative. People of the communities need to see the progress and understand it to see that law enforcement is working hard to reduce crime rates while increasing the safety of the community at the same time. Interaction with the community may be used as a method of teaching and learning between officers and citizens to build a relationship rather than act as opposing teams. Communication may allow officers to gain insight on what the citizens feel are the worst issues or crimes happening within a community as well as offer ways that certain issues could possibly be resolved. (Chapter 7: Community Policing, 2014)
Deterrence: It is common for criminals to see a law enforcement officer or witnesses in the area and decide to not commit a crime that they were thinking about acting upon. Community policing allows more officers to be out and visible within the community rather than being stationary until a call comes through from dispatch. This form of policing allows officers to get out of patrol cars, walk around the community, converse with business owners and ask how can I help you or what can be done to better serve you. Officers would be able to interact with the children in the community and teach them various safety tips which could aid in deterring crimes. (Chapter 7: Community Policing, 2014)
Problem Solving: A positive relationship between the community and law enforcement officers could aid in solving problems within the community, possibly even before the crimes are committed. With cooperation from communities’ officers will be able to better judge what the problem areas are in an effort to resolve or prevent these problems from occurring. The people in the community could aid in planning or relay information of what is going on in the community to gain interaction as well as see the efforts that are being made toward creating safer communities and reducing crime rates.
Funding: Like most things in life money is a necessity to make it happen, Community policing requires extensive funds. Funds would be needed for officers who are committing extra time to the cause, because no one like to work for free. If the grantees of funding for community policing are not seeing the preferred results of community policing or deem the method ineffective funding may be cut or greatly reduced at the grantees discretion. Most of the funding comes from tax payers but some grantees or people of the community who make generous donations contribute. As to who will receive the funds is based on importance or need, whichever organization is most promising or in dire need of the funds. Funding for police departments and law enforcement officers is an issue and is making it difficult to keep people staffed. (Community Policing p.387, 2015)
Proof of Effectiveness: “My findings indicate that community policing, is indeed, a continuation of professional law enforcement, a modest brake with these practices, and another fashionably ineffective bureaucratic program”.(Lyons, W., 2002). Community Policing has been around for decades and has been attempted many times with different results each time. Each time there has been people and organizations who have found the method ineffective, but in some cases there has been slight progress. It is hard if not impossible to gage whether community policing will prevail with positive effects on preventing crime and reducing crime rates. There have been many reports to show the results and progress but the areas and crime rates in that particular area have never been consistent leaving results and data inconclusive.(Lyons, W. (2002). The politics of community policing)
Commitment: Another con to community policing is how the community would react to such a method of policing. Many factors would have to play into community policing in order for the method to make a difference and be successful. Citizens in the community would have to be willing to cooperates and work alongside officers to acquire a successful end goal. Not everyone has the same values or visions for the community and not all of the citizens are going to agree with the methods used for community policing. The progression of community policing could turn to regressing if citizens are not aiding in efforts and communicating with the citizens to solve problems. Essentially both parties involved would have to put aside differences for the greater good of a safe community. In order for the partnership between law enforcement and the community both parties would have to be committed to being both respectful and maintaining a professional relationship.
My Take on Community Policing
From the research that I have conducted and the material I have read over it is my conclusion that I would in fact pursue the method of Community Policing. The reason I would pursue community policing as an option is out of all of the overall research and examining the pros and cons I did is that majority of the information and results collected is from the past. Law enforcement has evolved so much over the last decade that in my opinion an updated plan of action including community policing could be beneficial. Due to the amount of evolving that has occurred over time the structure, organization, and management of police departments has evolved as well. Police departments are more racially and ethnically diverse than they have been in the past and has more available resources and connections at hand. One issue that I foresee with this method is the current rift between communities and law enforcement officers. Through, social media many accounts have been witnessed where differences, and I mean all differences, were set aside, so communities could come together to support one another, this includes law enforcement officers and citizens from the community. Unfortunately, there has also been unappealing situations that have been in the media involving law enforcement and citizens. From my standpoint, if these unappealing situations continue to occur, I feel as though the rift between law enforcement and citizens will continue to gradually increase to where it is unrepairable. It is crucial that people no matter that their differences are find a way to coexist with one another. Until something gives and the communities and law enforcement are able to communicate and interact in a more professional manner, the community policing may not be possible. Another scenario could be that community policing might aid in repairing and building better relationships and partnerships with the communities.