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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Community Policing: Varied and Diffused Methods of Effectiveness

Community Policing: Varied and Diffused Methods of Effectiveness

Making any definitive claims regarding the success of the community policing concept as a whole is an impossible task. We can see that community policing is a philosophy, not a methodology or a set of defined tools. Docobo discusses the community policing model is basically a philosophical approach with three key components; “creation of and reliance on effective partnerships with the community and other public/private-sector resources”, “application of problem-solving strategies”, and “transformation of police organization and culture to support this philosophical shift.”(2005, p.1). We can also see that community policing is an inchoate concept, and that different agencies take different approaches to how it is applied. Further, we can see that community policing approaches are attempts to resolve dilemmas that have faced police departments since their inceptions. Measuring success as a whole, in this case, is akin to adding apples to oranges and expecting a final tally of bananas.
However, this is a strong argument for community policing; because it's successful implementation in any jurisdiction requires a specific application to that community. The needs of the community will differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The use of p problem-solving strategies leads to experimentation to see what works. Carter discusses this approach in the context of the Kansas City Preventative Patrol experiment
First we learned that police officers and researchers produced a creative team approach in developing and testing concepts that were non-traditional. This, it should be noted, was not the conventional wisdom of the early 1970s. Second, we learned that experimental research could be effectively performed in a police agency without posing undue threats to public safety and at the same time maintaining the integrity of the research design (1995, p. 3).
There are a multitude of concepts that have been spawned by the concept of problem solving focus; problem-solving policing (POP), intelligence led policing (ILP), broken windows, hot spot policing, etc. Treverton et al point out that “All of these approaches—OMP, deterrence through presence, and directed patrol—are improved by the community era’s focus on problem-solving. Herman Goldstein’s theory of problem-oriented policing (POP), a concept usually discussed in conjunction with community-based policing, calls for 'analysis, study, and evaluation' as a necessary precursor to successful law enforcement” (2011, p. 31). Treverton et al further explain that the foundations of broken windows can combine with other law enforcement techniques to further community policing principles:
Because both aggressive OMP and computer statistics (CompStat) are associated with William Bratton’s time as police commissioner in New York City, the two are often linked. But CompStat can be seen as the transition from community policing to intelligence-led policing (ILP)(2011, p. 27)

The transition to ILP demonstrates two of the ways that law enforcement agencies can maximize their efficiency, in the use of technology, and the use of studying local issues (as presented by Carter above). A study by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) “suggest(s) there will be considerable growth in the practice of two strategies: predictive policing and intelligence-led policing” (2104, p. 2). The PERF study uses the model used by the LAPD, a predictive policing model, as an example; while not conclusive, PERF found initial results of the program to be “promising” (2014, p. 6). The PERF study also found integration of technology to make policing more effective, pointing out that LAPD used social media to help guide departmental activities in policing large scale events such as
NBA All Star Game and the Stanley Cup (2014, p. 27).
The third method that police can use in more effective operation is to find ways to increase positive norms. This is line with the community policing philosophy of “creation of and reliance on effective partnerships with the community”. A 2004 PERF study found in crime ridden communities, “the law-abiding majority has effectively been silenced. Dr. Carl S. Taylor of Michigan State University calls this the dangerous and increasing normalization of ignorance and violence” (p. 76).


Carter, D. L. (1995). Reflections on the move to community policing. Regional Community Policing Institute. Retrieved August 10, 2014 from http://webs.wichita.edu/depttools/depttoolsmemberfiles/rcpi/Policy%20Papers/Reflections %20on%20Comm%20Pol.pdf

Docobo, J. (2005). Community policing as the primary prevention strategy for homeland security at  the local law enforcement level. Homeland Security Affairs, 1(1)

Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). (2004). Community policing: The past, present and future. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.policeforum.org/assets/docs/ Free_Online_Documents/Community_Policing/community%20policing%20-%20the %20past%20present%20and%20future%202004.pdf

Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) (2014). Future trends in policing Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.policeforum.org/assets/docs/Free_Online_Documents/Leadership/future %20trends%20in%20policing%202014.pdf

Treverton,G., Wollman, M., Wilke, E., and Lai, D. (2011). Moving toward the future of policing. Santa Monica, Ca. The RAND Corporation. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2011/RAND_MG1102.pdf

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