This paper will concern itself primarily with community policing and problem-solving policing, two departures from the traditional form of policing that has been in place in many areas of America for years. Presented here will be the two new policing strategies that are being pushed as the new form of policing in contemporary American society (Dempsey, 2005)
In this paper, the features of community policing and problem-solving policing will be juxtaposed and analyzed to show that these two technically benefit a community in a specific order, and, when both are in place, will improve the social status of the community holistically.
The philosophy behind this new policing strategy is based on the partnership between the police force and the members of the community (Office of Community Oriented Policing Service, USA, 2008). With this partnership, the police are no longer a ‘reactionary’ force, as they were with traditional policing, but a facilitator of policing, fully-paid by the government to assist and become the medium for policing which the citizens must participate in as well (Dempsey, 2005).
According to Dempsey (2005), community policing is “an attempt to involve the community as an active partner with the police in addressing crime problems in the community,” however, it will be shown later that it no longer an ‘attempt’ but rather a reality currently in practice all over America.
With the involvement of the community in policing, this strategy would benefit it by affording citizens more knowledge on the police and justice process (Dempsey, 2005), promote participation and involvement in community issues, promote prevention and community-based actions towards crime, and effectively utilize personnel within the police force.
After mentioning the benefits of community policing, the process of the subject must be presented. Several towns have been able to implement their own form of community policing. Some forms of community policing would include organizing events that would involve the police officers and the community members such as sports competitions, public forums and meetings, or placement of an officer in a community residence or location (Dempsey, 2005).
The Federal Government and Community Policing
The American Federal government has established an office known as the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS. This followed the mandate by the Crime Bill that funds would be allocated to promote community policing in America (Dempsey, 2005).
The program of the Office has four overarching goals, which are mainly to increase the amount of officers visible on community streets, promote partnerships between the police and the community and develop new technologies that will aid in preventing and reporting crime (Dempsey, 2005).
As the term implies, this strategy of policing requires police officers to analyze and assess problems that they encounter in their work.
Using this approach to policing would require officers to assume that incidents of crime and disorder are brought about by underlying social problems and that to eliminate crime, these social problems must be addressed (Dempsey, 2005).
This would mean that the police now have the responsibility of improving all the social aspects of a community and not only the peace and order situation. This would also mean that policing would be an integral and interconnected aspect of the social services that the government provides (Marion, 2006).
Similar to community policing, problem-solving policing would approach crime elimination from a non-reactionary point of view, focusing its efforts more on the prevention.
The process of problem-solving policing would involve “the scanning, analysis, response and assessment of various incidents.” (Dempsey, 2005).
The police officer would be required to view an incidence of crime as a problem in itself with underlying causes. Once the problem has been identified the police officers would research data concerning the problem. This data would include surveys, statistics, and even personal accounts of the members of a certain community. The data would then be analyzed and a solution will be formulated.
This solution would be implemented in cooperation with other members of the community. After this implementation, the result will be assessed and evaluated in order to help with future decisions. Appropriate feed backing would be done for all the stakeholders and participants in the issue.
This strategy of policing would certainly be enhanced with the collaboration of the academe within a community. The members of the academe will be able to lend their expertise and scholarly resources to the police’s endeavor in analyzing and addressing social problems.
This type of policing would entail praxis or action-reflection-action to occur, wherein the decisions and results of a certain incident would influence future decisions when similar incidents occur.
With the presentation of two strategies, the writer is of the opinion that the two may be used in conjunction with one another to improve not only the peace and order situation of a community but the social conditions as well.
Community policing may be introduced first through various methods such as placement of officers and other teambuilding activities that would involve the community members and the police officers.
This way, the basis for involvement and relationship between the tow groups would not be on crime incidences which are no doubt of negative nature, but on a bond brought about by positive activities that build trust and camaraderie.
Once a bond has been in place and trust has developed, it would be easier for the community members to cooperate with the police officers and assist them as well. The officers and the citizens may talk about how to improve the community or more personal matters. Resolution of crime would increase because of the citizens’ cooperation.
Once the trust is in place, incidences of crime may be brought to light to the citizens in an endeavor to analyze the problem. The research that this would entail would then be more valid because of the cooperation of the community in generating and acquiring data.
Essentially, these two approaches to policing would heighten the people’s participation in their own well-being, helping them understand their status as stakeholders in the peace and order of their community.
Though an underlying assumption is made that a great amount of discretion would be afforded to the police, the involvement of the community will also serve as a check and balance to the police discretion. Unwarranted and abuse of such discretion may easily be identified and acted upon because of the community’s knowledge of the system.
Dempsey, J. (2005). An Introduction to Policing. New York: Wadsworth.
Marion, N. (2006). The Public Policy of Crime and Criminal Justice. Washington D.C.:
Office of Community Oriented Policing Service, USA. (2008, April 30). What is Community
Policing? Retrieved August 7, 2008, from COPS Office: