The most efficient way to reduce crime is to unite the police department with the community it serves. The police alone can not prevent crime and need to summons the assistance of its citizens. Without community policing, much of the police response ends up being reactive instead of proactive. We always look at statistics in a way that shows reactive status, but proactive status can not be figured into account. Some programs of community policing are bicycle, foot, and mounted patrol. Others may be police athletic clubs or after school programs sponsored and ran by the police department.
Another more modern program started by many police departments is a citizens police academy. All these programs have one main objective, to prevent crime from occurring, utilizing the community and the police department. One of the most cost-effective ways to start with community policing is the foot patrol. This method is utilized in many urban areas and elicits citizens to meet and greet the police one on one. The officer walks his beat, or patrol district, and has the opportunity to meet the public and engage in brief conversation, smile and continue with his work. When a crime does occur, the citizens are more apt to speak to the police and maybe even give more information than usual as the citizens have grown to know the police and feel more comfortable in speaking to the officers.
A positive report with police shows to be one of the greatest accomplishments the police can have with the community. The bicycle patrol is a more steadfast response to incidents taking place as well as a way for the police to cover larger police patrol areas. This type of community policing patrol serves well in that the police have the opportunity to encounter more citizens and extend their contacts in the community. Many police departments have been adapting bicycle patrols into their community policing programs due to the positive response given by the community and the officers.
The mounted patrol is probably one of the greatest ways to develop police-community relations. The mounted patrol shows great pride with in the police department as well as giving a commanding presence of the officer. Adults and children all love looking at the police officer on a horse and it opens the opportunity for the community to stop and converse with the officer as well as to pet the horse. Mounted patrol has been around for centuries and will continue to be around as there is always a positive response from the community.
Police athletic clubs and after school programs have been in existence for many decades in many of the larger urban areas. The police athletic leagues were started based upon the need for juveniles to have a safe haven and a constructive after school activity. Police athletic clubs have been existing due to many families needing a dual income to survive, with both parents working, there is little to no supervision at home. Broken families, one parenting situations have also given need for these programs to exist.
It is known that without the proper adult supervision, juveniles can find trouble and would easily be lead into criminal activity. The police athletic clubs have enlisted police staff as well as civilian employees of the police department working the club in a volunteer status or at minimal pay. The community children have the opportunity to see the police department and its officers in a different way. The juveniles' get a chance to get to know the officers and develop a relationship unlike found in any other way. The juveniles have the opportunity to be tutored, play games or just talk about their problems with the officers. The children see the police officers as positive role models, father, mother or sibling figures or maybe just as a friend.
Citizen police academies have been started in many urban areas of the United States, these programs have given the community a chance to see what the police department does to prevent crime, what the police department capabilities are and what citizens can do the curb crime in there community. The police department can show how they intend to work with the community from a variety of programs being DARE (Drug Awareness Resistance); Community policing patrols, DUI programs and saturation patrols. The police department can show the diagram of the policing unites being community policing, traffic unit, criminal investigation unit, saturation patrol unit, or any other specialized positions within the police department. Citizens are informed of the way they can protect themselves, their family and their property in various ways. Citizen police academies have shown to be very positive and will continue to be used to identify the needs of the community, share common interests and most importantly, to control the crime in their community. As far as the direction and advice needed to be given to our police officers, a standard rule should be followed, this also known as the golden rule, "Treat others the way you would expect to be treated by others in the same situation." I have always thought about how police officers shall treat suspects, victims and witnesses.
All need to be treated with respect and concern for their safety and needs. Even though all victims, witnesses and suspects are not alike, all should be treated with humanity. Police officers within the district should be given ample training and supervision in order to keep the standard rule and principals in line. The police officers should be ethically trained as well as diverse within the different ethnic groups which are found within the community.
So many times police departments get involved in shootings, profiling and other terrible situations because they do not fall back upon their ethics. As a police chief, what ever happens within the police department and its officers, falls back to its command staff and ultimately chief of police. As a chief, involvement with the officers is key and with proactive training, many situations which bring bad publicity could be avoided. I would always want to keep in contact with my police officers both in the station setting and in the community.
I would always be open to hear complaints or suggestions which would help the officers become better prepared for their career or to make their jobs easier. Supervision is key to success and this needs to be conducted by many non-commioned officers within the department. Corporal, Servants and officers need to keep a keen eye on its subordinants in identifying any problem areas. Field supervision needs to be a common occurrence and needs to be done with direct compliance. Field supervision is shown to keep a possible bad situation becoming worse and gives younger, less experienced officers the opportunity to learn the correct ways at maintaining order in a terrible situation.