Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Community Policing

There are many reasons police today have trouble performing their duties and investigating real crimes. Distrust in certain communities is a major factor. The way departments are structured is another. I believe the creation of new crimes by politicians who have no real world understanding of what their legislation will do is the greatest.

I believe there are many members of department command staffs across America trying in good faith to establish positive relationships with citizens. Community policing is a wonderful idea but it misses the point of exactly what it should be. Neighborhoods being policed by local residents who just happen to be sworn officers with real authority. This ensures those patrolling have a vested interest in the safety of that area. There was a time when an officer was required to live in the municipality in which they served. Many of these policies have been relaxed or tossed out completely for fear of losing the best talent. That may be a noble reason, but I would rather have a competent officer who lives down the street, than one who is the department's shining star but lives in the bordering city or county. A multitude of problems would be reduced in this scenario. An officer who knows everyone in the neighborhood by face if not by name is less likely to fear for his or her safety in a seemingly tense situation. That officer would have far more success obtaining information from fellow residents when a crime is committed. They would probably lose sleep when a violent or property crime goes unsolved for even a night.

The centralized structure of many major departments may make these things infeasible at the moment, but it is desperately needed in order to build neighborhood solidarity which would in turn lead to citizens being more willing to report crimes and give information because they would not feel alone.


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