Future Changes in Community Policing Term Paper

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Community Policing

Future changes in Community Policing

What is community policing?

Community policing is a policing philosophy that focuses on rooting out and eliminating the causes of crime rather than the retributive aspects of punishing crime. It might be called the law enforcement equivalent of preventative medicine. Community policing focuses on working and engaging with members of the community to improve crime prevention techniques and problem-solving between members of the law enforcement community and the community afflicted by crime. By establishing a relationship of trust between the community and law enforcement, individuals are less likely to want to commit crimes, or to see criminal activity as potentially desirable. Through community engagement and partnerships "the community policing model balances reactive responses to calls for service with proactive problem-solving centered on the causes of crime and disorder" ("What is community policing," 2008, COPS, 2008).

Although community policing grew in popularity and prominence during the 1970s, it continues to evolve and adopt to current law enforcement needs. The new demands of today's America are particularly well-suited to community policing, because better relationships between community residents and businesses allow for the type of situation-specific policing that improves the ability of the police to meet the security challenges of the 21st century.

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Term Paper on Future Changes in Community Policing Assignment

Concerns about protecting students during terrorist attacks, and attacks from students within schools have dominated the headlines of recent years, as have increased parental concerns about their children's in-school safety. Also, drug and alcohol prevention programs such as DARE that use law enforcement personnel to educate students in drug prevention and awareness are likely to continue to be an integral part of school safety and community policing efforts, although the questioned efficacy of such programs may require them to be reformulated in future years. Community-based school safety measures that have proven effective include "developing partnerships with parents, local businesses, school bus drivers, school officials, and students to develop outcome-based solutions to school safety problems" ("School safety," 2008, COPS). Because so many individuals shape impressionable student's lives and minds, crime prevention in relation to school safety must be holistic in nature.

Due to the individuated nature of school communities, community policing may be one of the most useful models for dealing with student-related problems. Police can further enhance safety promotion by engaging in regular visits to the school to prepare prom-goers for safe post-prom partying, educating new drivers about driving responsibly, and basic street safety. Anti-sexual harassment, anti-bullying, and anti-gang violence sessions may prove helpful as well. If the police can become part of regular police-student communication in a positive way, students are less apt to view the law in a hostile manner. Officers can provide additional assistance in protecting students going to, coming from, and within schools as well as mentoring students and exposing them to positive role models through frequent visits.

If students see the police as friendly, rather than hostile individuals, they will be more likely to report crime to law enforcement when they see it occurring. This includes drug use and abuse in the school area, but also suspicious or hostile activity manifested in their fellow students. Many of the perpetrators of the violent actions that have transpired on high school and college campuses manifested ample warning signs, and if only their fellow students had been trained to spot such behaviors, and had a chain of communication been open between themselves and law enforcement, perhaps such crimes could have been prevented.

Even young students are frightened about the potential of terrorist violence, given recent world events. Engaging in disaster preparedness training and information sessions with schools will help reduce panic in the case of such an event and also establish effective bonds.

Identity theft

The Internet has made it easier for criminals to use technology to steal people's identity. Although identity theft is often seen as a national problem, it can have local dimensions. Officers can work with local retailers and banks to limit check and card fraud by enabling store personnel to watch for potential red flags, stopping the crime before it starts. Working with merchants so stores can use anti-theft policies to minimize the likelihood of the fraudulent use of credit cards is an important step in crime prevention. Officers can work to "convince retailers that they can recoup the cost of increased security through reduced losses from fraud...enlist the support of the local Chamber of Commerce or other business organizations in persuading business owners to improve security; and brief (with care) the local media on the problem and the proposed solution" (Newman 2008). For smaller businesses within communities that may have less modernized identity verification systems, the police can provide information and resources as to how to improve their procedures.

Identity verification is also an important part of fighting against underage smoking and drinking. When retailers strictly comply with the law about verifying identification, and know how to spot false IDs they become frontline fighters in the defense of community safety. On the other hand, the abuse of the elderly through fraud and confidence schemes can be prevented by educating the potential victim -- issuing regular alerts about such schemes through reverse '911' alerts enables the community to be vigilant about various criminal practices that people may be using to compromise individual's identity and assets.

Police integrity

Effective crime control requires a collaborative working relationship between law enforcement and the communities that they are sworn to serve and protect. A culture of police integrity is essential in building respect and trust and, in turn, mutual respect and trust between police and citizens is essential to effective crime control. Local law enforcement agencies operating within their legal authority, in accordance with accepted police practices, and in an ethical manner consistent with community expectations, means police integrity" ("Police integrity," 2008, COP). Fears of racial profiling have often created hostile relationships between minority members of the community and the police. This has been exacerbated by the perception that the police are willing to use excessive violence, even deadly violence to realize their aims against members of minority communities.

Recruiting members of the force from within the community creates a greater perception of trust that the police are working to improve the area and reduce rather than exacerbate violence. The police can better understand the body language, slang, and code of conduct in the community in a way that enables them to communicate better, and also to watch for potential criminal activity. Crime reduction by the presence of a trusted member of law enforcement drawn from the community is perhaps the essence of community policing.

Community watch groups also create positive relations because they help community residents feel empowered about watching over their own lives and help them see the difficulty and the value of reducing crime such as drug dealing and gang violence. This enables community members to identify with law enforcement, rather than criminals. The difficulty of encouraging residents to identify with the police can be challenging if many members of the community have had hostile relationships previously with law enforcement. But if a real improvement in their lifestyle is evident, coupled with added respect through the law through the self-empowerment of creating a neighborhood watch, community-police relations can improve. The police must remember that quite often law-abiding community residents do not want criminals in their midst, and will work with law enforcement if they are treated as partners not as potential criminals.

Establishing a police presence in non-law enforcement arenas also adds to a perception of police integrity. Having a youth sports league coached by police officers shows that the officers care about the welfare of community residents beyond their official duties. Seeing officers use local businesses likewise suggests that the officers, not the criminals, are part of the community and that law enforcement is an… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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