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Community Oriented Policing

All legal systems are covered by criminal justice which can be fostered in many different models as deemed fit by the respective authority. There are basically three different policing models within the US, which are; traditional policing, problem oriented policing and community oriented policing. This essay will look at the efforts that police agencies are trying to put in so as to win the cooperation and respect from the communities they serve.  Will describe, define and discuss community oriented policing, looking at the different methods of implementation.  The most important concepts of community oriented policing will also be highlighted. A second type of policing, the problem oriented policing, will be discussed with emphasis on its relationship with community oriented policing. The physical structure of an organization will be analyzed to see whether it hinders or helps community oriented policing and problem oriented policing.

In this world of crime, it calls on the law enforcers to look for ways to protect the people from law breakers. This has necessitated the setting up of legal systems that are covered by criminal justice. This is again implemented using different policing models depending on the needs of the people in different regions of the world. This essay is going to look at two of these models; the community oriented policing and the problem oriented policing highlighting the implementation relationships.

Community Oriented Policing is a strategy and policy that targets the achievement of effective and efficient control of crime, reduction of crime fear, improving the quality of life, police services and legitimacy by actively relying on the community. It is a full-service philosophy that is based on personalized policing in which case the same officer is specifically assigned to an area permanently, proactively working in liaison with citizens to pinpoint and solve problems. Satellite offices are strategically located within communities where the officers work from to serve the community. It does not only work to respond to crimes but to prevent them and resolve the problems of the community. Its philosophy is founded on the belief that the law officers must work together with the community as partners in solving the present challenges that face the society. These police officers are given autonomous power and freedom to act as required in carrying out their duties, this involves closely working with other organization and groups in the community in educating members on the potential hazards they may come across and also show them how to help themselves by pinpointing and reporting activities that are suspicious in their neighborhoods (Larrabee, 2007).

With all these in mind one can now see that community oriented policing can be split into three important components: Intra-departmental changes, inter- agency cooperation and lastly the community.  Intra-departmental changes calls on departments to exist and operate like open systems for the achievement of a better rapport between the police and the community. Police departments’ structure should be more decentralized for better deployment and effective use of policing officers in a region. This brings about good performance among the police offers in the different departments with no aspirations for positions. Using more civilians brings about closeness with the people and also makes available free officers to the work of the police. Deployment of police needs to be proactive, community oriented and preventive. People who are recruited in community policing should have high levels of education so that they can offer good mediation services (Larrabee, 2007).

Inter-agency cooperation encourages increased scope and interaction between police and other social services that helps them in understanding the needs of the community and also in improving their response to them. This also necessitates cross jurisdiction thereby combating crime to a very large extent. Then lastly the community itself plays a lager role in the success of community oriented policing. The underlying problems in the community must be identified and understood, this calls for the use of the community institutions such as the family, the church, schools and civic groups to preach anti-crime messages to the people (Friedmann, 1996)

The implementation of COP requires both time and effort, to discuss the implementation of this concept; we will look at what the Santa Ana. California police department did. First there was the implementation of community-oriented policing by the department administrators within the context of the commitment of the city to total quality management. A task force was then developed consisting of civilians with officers from all ranks to look into community-oriented policing. This assisted in the full implementation of the concept in the whole department. Next a police stakeholder’s task force was created whose work was to review values and criteria by which evaluation of police functions and services in the context of community-oriented policing, is done. This was followed with the installing of a state-of-the-art dispatch system that is aided by a computer whose work is to analyze information from the community that helps in anticipation and subsequent prevention of crime. All departmental personnel were then trained in community oriented policing. The physical structures, that is, the departmental facility should reflect the central functions, visions and values of the Community Oriented Policing or the Problem Oriented Policing. It should be well designed to represent the departmental administrators’ commitment to the strategy of these policing concepts. For instance, desks that are unoccupied should be put on the facility’s first floor for the temporary members in the department to solve problems occurring in specific neighborhoods. This will simply show how committed to the concepts the organization is. (Walters, 1993)

Problem Oriented Policing emanated from community oriented policing where the community and the police work together in looking at the problems that affect the community and coming up with responses that are customized to them. Here recurring crime and other hazardous issues that harm the community are examined and analyzed with the aim of preventing or deterring them from happening in the future. This type of policing goes a step ahead of just dealing with an accident to finding the signs that bring about those problems and crimes. Apparently many law agencies seem to have adopted this policing concept (Larrabee, 2007).         

In Problem Oriented Policing, problems are looked at using a four step process, the SARA model whereby S stands for Scanning-identifying of problems; A stands for Analysis where people are asked questions that help them learn more about the problem; R for response, a response to the problem is tested basing on a careful analysis and the last A stands for Assessment, which is the evaluation of the response to determine whether the problem was solved. The basic goal of POP is to reduce crime and maintain social order. Its main concern, unlike the COP, it looks at the problem rather than trying to prevent the crime. It is largely centralized as compared to community policing. In this type of policing, law officers do not have much to say and there is no time to interact with the community. It deals with conditions that would have caused a problem (Larrabee, 2007).

Both Community oriented Policing and Problem Oriented Policing have the same concept, in that in both there is the involvement of the community as a very important partner in the process of policing. They both emphasize on pro-active policing that is problem oriented rather than policing that is incident-driven (Dempsey & Forst, 2009)

Many people don’t always like change and will therefore try to resist any change that comes their way. Community policing may be seen as change and therefore is bound to receive challenges in its implementation. It has on a large extent been impeded by management that is centralized and the traditional assumption of people in the communities in which it is implemented. Police leadership organizations have many people who find it very difficult to accept the challenges that come with the exiting practices and beliefs. The lack of acceptance is also seen lower down in the police ranks, they feel that community policing is something in vein. There is also the issue of mistrust between community policing officers and the other officers and people not reporting crimes for fear of being victimized by fellow community members. And finally the biggest obstacle to the success of community policing is the people who happen to be on both sides of the equation. They hold their own different beliefs, grudges or prejudices that have to be clarified before winning their trust; this takes a lot of time and resources thereby dragging behind the implementation process (Summerfield, 2005)


Community Oriented Policing is a concept that employs the philosophy of full-service, policing that is personalized where an officer is assigned a specific area or region on a permanent basis. This Officer works pro-actively together with members of a community to pinpoint and solve problems that exist or affect the community. They work from satellite offices located in strategic locations in the community where they can easily be accessed. This concept or philosophy focuses not only on crime response but also preventing those crimes from occurring and resolving the problems of the community. Working together as partners in solving the problems at hand is the foundation of this philosophy. It empowers police officers with autonomous freedom to diligently discharge their duties in solving community based problems together with other community groups like the family, church and many others. Problem Oriented Policing on the other hand is the approach to policing in which the police and the community work together in looking at the problems that affect the community and coming up with responses that are specifically made for them. It examines and analyzes crimes and hazardous issues that harm the community with the sole aim of preventing or deterring them from happening in future. It goes a step further from dealing with a problem to identifying the signs of that problem and therefore easily preventing it from happening. This concept of policing uses the SARA model to effect its implementation where SARA is an acronym for Scanning, Analyzing, Response and Assessment.

Community Oriented Policing like any other change to practices that are accepted by a community should be implemented soberly because it is bound to receive resistance. Centralized management and traditional assumptions of people has been its major impediment. Some of the policing officers also find it difficult to accept that community policing can realize any significant change therefore deliberately become complacent in their duties watering the priceless efforts put in this initiative. Mistrust among the police officers also strains the efforts because the officers in question will not work comfortably, they live with constant fear that they may be implicated for the crimes that occur during their watch. And lastly the people in the community having varying views on the issues of policing sees a lot time and resources wasted in clarifications and persuasions to abide by them. So the people mandated to carry out these services should implement them carefully to realize their benefits (Peak, 1996).

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