Community Based Policing: Improvement For The Police And The Community. There has always been a love hate relationship between the public and the police. When called upon to help, they can be something sent from God, but when they are writing tickets, or taking a friend to jail, the view changes from a savior to a presence that is unwanted and often hated. An effort to improve the public view of law enforcement is being attempted by many departments. Using different styles of policing techniques, mainly community based policing, has proved to be the best way to improve the image of law enforcement.
Community based policing can best be defined as, "a collaborative effort between the police and the community that identifies problems of crime and disorder and involves all elements of the community in the search for solutions to these problems" (Sykes). Community based policing is the idea that the role of the police is not that of catching "bad guys," but more that of serving the public. In order for community based policing to have an effect, the presence of crime isn't needed, in fact it's often more effective without the involvement of crime, "Modern police departments are frequently called upon to help citizens resolve a vast array of personal problems -- many of which involve no law-breaking activity" (Schmalleger). The role of the police officer in community based policing, is to have an active part in the community. This can be something as simple as stopping in at a school just to talk to the kids, or even playing basketball with them. It can also be stopping in at local Wolters 2 business and having a cup of coffee with the employees.
The idea behind this is to show the public that the police are not someone to fear, but more someone who can help. There are two main benefits of community based policing. The first is the improved image of law enforcement. By having a more active part in the community, law enforcement changes itself from being the enforcer, to being the preventer. This is a shift in the view of the public that make life easier for the officer, and safer for the community. The second benefit of community based policing, is the safer community that it creates.
With involvement from both the police and the public, crime in communities can be greatly reduced. Community based policing requires the public support in order to succeed. Through meetings between communities and the police, areas of crime or concern can be address and some sort of action taken, "Community policing attempts to actively involve the community with the police in the task of crime control by creating an effective working partnership between the community and the police" (Sparrow). Without public support, community based policing would fail. This would lead the fear of crime in communities, and the hatred of the police.
Essentially it would be a step backwards in time. "Police departments throughout the country continue to join the community policing bandwagon" (Schmalleger). Almost all departments are making some sort of attempt with community based policing. The biggest challenge is convincing the officers to preform a servant role rather than an enforcer role. Once this idea can be implemented, the safety of the community, and the public view of the police can be greatly improved. Wolters 3 Works Cited Sykes, Gresham M.
The society of captives. NJ: Princeton University Press, 1958. Schmalleger, Frank Criminal Justice. NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc. , 2001. Sparrow, Malcolm K.
Implementing Community Policing. DC: U. S. Department of Justice, 1988.