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Community Policing in America


Community policing is generally speaking an initiative to supplement the efficiency of the police work in the society, as well as transforming police organizations. In general, the efforts of community policing have modest impacts on the level of crime in the community. However, there has been greater impact of community policing on the relationship between the police and the general public. It is worth noting that due to community policing, police organizations have resorted to gradually implement the values and practices of community and problem-orientation policing.

Additionally, with the adoption of community policing, the perception of police officers with regard to their roles has greatly improved. The job satisfaction of police officers has also increased as a result of community policing. Overall, there is a need to deal with police bureaucracy, which has been seen as the greatest obstacle when it comes to problem orientation and community policing (Greene, 2000).

The Importance of Community Policing

By and large, community policing and problem orientation is vital in strengthening the competence of the society to oppose and avert crime as well as social disorder. Additionally, the initiative is very instrumental in building a harmonious association between the police and the general public. This is inclusive of power sharing with respect to the making of policies as well as strategic priorities which are beneficial to the community (Greene, 2000).

If carried out efficiently, community policing can go a long way in assisting to streamline the delivery of services by the police, with strong connections with relevant authorities. In this regard, community policing can result in the creation of more intricate functions for police officers (Greene, 2000). Such an arrangement can be credited with producing a more powerful, dedicated, and systematic police force. Additionally, the initiative can go a long way in processing locally administered justice to the local neighborhood. Therefore, efforts are instrumental in shifting the goal of policing to be crime deterrence and not crime containment (Greene, 2000).

What the Police Need to Shift From Traditional to Community Policing

It is vital for the police to shift from traditional to community policing. First and foremost, the organizing viewpoint needs to be incorporated into the whole police force. In this regard, it should not be seen as something new or short-term. Secondly, a new working environment needs to be created. This will be crucial in coming up with new values in the administration of the police force (Greene, 2000).

Additionally, there is great need for the community policing initiative to surmount the conflict from the subculture that is prevalent among the police. This subculture, which entrenches traditional policing, is usually focused on power, danger and competence. It is also vital to resolve the substantive crime in the society, as well as disorder challenges. As a result, the focus will definitely shift from rapid response to calls for help and completion of paperwork (Greene, 2000).

Impacting the Police Force

One of the key benefits of community policing is that it is bound to make police agencies more caring and compassionate, not only to the employees, but to their constituents as well. The police bureaucracy has largely been criticized for being traditional and alienated from the producers as well as the consumers of police services (Greene, 2000). This has the effect of creating needless nervousness. Obviously, this kind of tension effectively prevents the establishment of sound partnership between the police and the community, regarding the safety of the community.

In the professional restructuring period of policing, the police were advised to maintain some kind of professional distance between them and the community. This was apparently meant to establish internal control over the police, as well as augment their dedication to specialized values (Greene, 2000). Additionally, the practice was carried out to reduce the possibility of police being corrupted by the community. However, this had the effect of widening the gap between them and the community.

Still, it should to be noted that the police do not operate in a vacuum and, therefore, should not be expected to be alienated from the community. In any case, the kind of environment that the police operate in today requires that policing be done in an open system. With an open system, community policing will be more effective since it involves municipal finances, service support, as well as customer awareness (Greene, 2000).

Additionally, as a result of the scarcity of resources as well as the demand for greater civic awareness, it has become necessary for strategic planning to be carried out in the police service (Greene, 2000). Today, the American society is more eager and vocal about their involvement with the police. This means that the police have to avoid resistance to change, since it is a major obstacle to the implementation of community and problem-oriented policing.

Change of Strategy and Structure

The long term survival of the concept of community policing is dependent on changing the police organization. This involves a number of features including altering the values of policing, enlarging the police sphere of influence, as well as the reorientation of in-house police operations. By and large, it is vital to take on the language as well as the symbolism of community policing (Gaines & Kappeler, 2011).

On the aspect of enlarging their domain, it is evident that over the years the police have been vigilant in increasing their organizational domain, particularly in areas including the population they serve, the technology they utilize and the services they provide. In order to change strategy, police agencies have been active in adopting training techniques as well as organizational models that augur well with the community at large (Greene, 2000).

In this regard, there has been an improvement in their performance skills, as well as middle level management within police agencies (Gaines & Kappeler, 2011). However, there is need for the police to effectively put into practice community-oriented policing programs in communities with cultural multiplicities. This will go a long way in enhancing police and citizen relations as well as community associations (NIJ, 2004).

Transforming Police Work

By and large, there have been minimal changes in the way police carry out their duties over the past 100 years in the United States. On the whole, the key roles of the police, which involve gathering information and seeking to identify conditions that lead to crime, are still the same. Most of the information that the police use to fight crime comes from the public, that remains being the crucial source of information (Gaines & Kappeler, 2011).

In order to improve community and problem-orientation policing, the police have to measure their efforts and the performance of individual officers (Greene, 2000). The performance measure systems also need to be measured in such a way that they are able to replicate the different kinds of tasks they need to carry out. Additionally, changes in the policing philosophies need to be acknowledged with performing effective officers being recognized for their efforts (Greene, 2000).


On the whole, it is imperative to discover and make use of appropriate measures of police performance. This is very crucial in assisting the police to shift from traditional to community and problem-oriented policing. Otherwise, if the historical traditional way of doing things continues, very little success will be achieved. Much focus should also be put on problem solving as a key policing technological change.  

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