Term Paper: Community policing is a strategy

Pages: 8 (2590 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] In order to produce such a working environment the bureaucratic rank and file structure can be maintained; however, transformational leaders encourage the subordinates to participate in the decision-making process. Officers would be encouraged to bring creative viewpoints to the table regarding issues at department faces and work on these issues together. This type of attitude can be extended to the relationship that police departments have with the community. For example police departments should encourage regular open meetings with the public regarding issues and listen to citizens' complaints, suggestions, etc. And then work together with citizens in order to find solutions for them. Such a policy results in everyone feeling as if they are part of the whole process and this can create stronger ties between the community and the department as well as between the department and police officers. Thus, this aspect of organizational management can extend beyond the simple issues of the police department and can be used to facilitate communication and cooperation between the community and the department. Transformational leadership behaviors alter the higher order needs of others by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and values (Engel, 2003).

Other areas of organizational change that the psychologist can be extremely helpful with include such things as personnel management, hiring, conflict resolution, training, internal and external evaluations of police officer performance, deployment of officers, etc. There is a large field of psychology known as Organizational Psychology or Industrial Organization that a well trained psychologist can draw on to help the organization improve and address change via multiple channels.

With regard to problem solving there are a number of areas where the psychologist can be valuable. First, in terms of group decision-making there is a large psychological literature that has dissected decisions made by groups and what types of variables/conditions can facilitate good decision-making and what kinds of variables/conditions hinder solid decision-making. For example, the phenomena of Groupthink, where highly cohesive groups with strong leaders, strong feelings of invulnerability, the drive towards morality, stereotyped views of others, and very little self -- censorship can lead to decisions that did not consider alternative courses of action, do not realistically look at all of the issues involved, and a failure to consider how the decisions affect everyone involved (Janis, 1997). A psychologist can suggest ways to avoid such issues and then make sure that these means are implemented. Other issues the regarding problem-solving that the psychologist can assist both the community and the police department with include understanding how to change the attitudes of certain groups of the community towards the (again using sound methods of persuasion), how to rectify issues that are detrimental to the goals of community policy, understanding social influence, understanding how certain styles of thinking known as cognitive biases affect both the officer and members of the community regarding the relations between them, and many others. Since psychologists are experts regarding human behavior they can offer quite a bit of help in the development of policies, their implementation, etc. As well as designing cooperative associations with the community and the department.

An important aspect of maintaining healthy relations with the community is to make sure that the community views police officers as servants and members of the community and not as authoritarian external agents that are put in place to " correct transgressions" in a manner that is perceived as punitive by the public. There is a whole psychological literature on the effects of certain behaviors regarding the reduction of conflict and crime (e.g., Seligman, 2009). The psychologist can draw on this rich literature to suggest ways for police department to reduce the incidence of crime and at the same time increase its image with the community.

Of course there are obvious clinical implications regarding the officers of the police department that the psychologist can be of assistance with. It is important for all members of the police department to have an outlet to file complaints, get help with personal issues such as depression or substance abuse, seek advice, etc. This is exactly what the police psychologist (especially if the police psychologist is trained in clinical psychology) can offer members of the police department. It is important for police officers to have a "safe haven" and that they can use to discuss such issues in a confidential environment where they will receive support and help. Likewise it is important for the community to know that police officers that work in high risk situations have such resources to draw on.

These are just a few of the ways that psychologists can contribute to more effective community policing. Because the field of psychology involves a vast number of areas including social psychology, clinical psychology, industrial organization, etc. It can offer a number of different perspectives in order to increase cooperation between the police departments and the community which they serve and for the police to conduct themselves in accordance with Peel's original ideals.

References

Brennan, R.E., & Valcic, B. (2012). Shifting perspectives -- How the masks we wear can facilitate

and inhibit channels of communication in the social -- environmental policy context. Ocean & Coastal Management, 62, 1-8.

Densten, I.L. (1999). Senior Australian law enforcement leadership under examination. Policing and International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 22(1), 45-57.

Engel, R.S. (2003). Influence of supervisor style on patrol officer behavior. Washington, DC:

National Institute of Justice..

Gottfredson, M.R. & Polokowski, M. (2011). Determinants and prevention of criminal behavior. In Brewer, N., & Wilson, C. (Eds.) Psychology and policing (pp. 63-81). Hillsdale, NJ: Psychology Press.

Janis, I.L. (1997). Groupthink. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press.

Lentz, S.A. & Chaires, R.H. (2007). The invention of Peel's principles: A study of policing

"textbook' history." Journal of Criminal Justice, 35(1), 69 -- 79.

Petty, R.E., & Cacioppo, J.T. (1986). Communication and persuasion:Central and peripheral routes to attitude change. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Ratts, M., D'Andrea, M., & Arredondo, P. (2004). Social justice counseling: "Fifth force" in the field. Counseling Today, 47(1), 28-30.

Seligman, M.E. (2009). What you can change... And what you can't*: The complete guide to successful self-improvement. New York: Random House LLC.

Skolnick, J.H. (2011). Justice without trial: Law enforcement in democratic society. New York:

Quid Pro-Books.

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. (nd). Community

Policing Defined. Retrieved on March 1, 2014 from www.cops.usdoj.gov

Vito, G.F., Suresh, G., & Richards, G.E. (2011). Emphasizing the servant in public service: the opinions… [END OF PREVIEW]

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