Community Oriented Policing

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There is an increase in police questioning or involvement when it comes to immigration and legal status that Latinos are dealing with (Theodore & Habans, 2016). These problems have caused many of the Latino members of different communities to feel lonely and quarantined. Theodore and Habans (2016) also reveal that Latinos have confessed that they are scared of being seen as suspicious people, which has caused them to drop out of their communities. On the other hand, it gets harder for law enforcement to apply community oriented policing when Latinos are dropping out of their communities, as there is no cooperation from the community, the crimes start becoming harder to deal with in the community, as law enforcement and the community members start to drift apart, making community oriented policing difficult for the police and less effective and productive (Theodore & Habans, 2016).

According to Luen & Al-Hawamdeh (2001); Skogan (2003), managers and executives of officers in the United States aim to develop the work of police officers when it comes to community oriented policing in order to make them more involved, as officers are requested to not worry about criminal activity only, but to also aim to be more problem-solving in general. Police officers in community oriented policing are expected to not be “working with communities to solve problems, rather than working for them” (Luen & Al‐Hawamdeh, 2001; Skogan, 2003).

A special unit for community oriented policing in the city of Racine, Wisconsin began adding more officers in communities brought from the Racine Wisconsin Police Department. This special unit is called the Community Policing Unit, which aims to work with community members, especially in areas where the members of the community fear gang activity in their community (Rosenberg, Sigler, & Lewis, 2008). The Community Policing Unit spread out multiple police officers that would report to a supervisor, who would be their sergeant. Police officers offered to join the Community Policing Unit in order to be a part of this investigation (Rosenberg et al., 2008).

Those police units and investigators were very active in the community, as they met with the community members, and were willing to join friends and family in order to become a part of the community and neighborhood (Rosenberg et al., 2008). Another very important program that was started by the community policing officers was for the youth. What the police offered the community was a program after-school, in order to keep the youth busy and amused, which would keep them away from crime (Rosenberg et al., 2008). The youth of the community were provided with different games and computers (Rosenberg et al., 2008). Police officers were biking around the area, and were found in parks and around lakes, which are known as bike patrols (Rosenberg et al., 2008).

Another program that was helpful for the youth in the community was the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program (Rosenberg et al., 2008). The police officers from the DARE program working with community members were found in schools. Those police officers were present to educate the students about drugs, and how dangerous they are to them (Rosenberg et al., 2008).

Community policing can be considered multiple things. There are people who consider community oriented policing a philosophy, while others consider it a program (Rosenberg et al., 2008). However, many people are not able to define community policing. According to Wycoff & Skogan (1994), after conducting a survey of 1606 law enforcement agencies in the United States, the percentage of police chiefs that had been asked to define community policing, but did not have a proper definition, were 50% of the police chiefs. This shows the difficulty of the term, as community oriented policing does not have to be one thing, but can be multiple things with multiple purposes.

Community policing is not always fair for the police officers. When it comes to police ranks, community policing officers do not have the privilege of being included in the ranking order, as community policing is considered a philosophy. Senior management are the ones responsible to find a fair solution that would please the organization (Zeffane, 1996). Some of the comments made from police officers that were made about the issue of community policing and ranks are:

  • “If our department is going to advance into the 21st century, we have to start with our personnel and supervision to “equal out” the administration and department as a whole.” -Police Officer;
  • “Community policing should be a department wide concept. It should not be a select group of officers.” -Police Officer;
  • “Current attention to one specialized unit and the purchase of equipment and training for such few people causes patrol officers and investigators to feel like second‐class personnel.” -Sergeant (Rosenberg et al., 2008).

There are times when community oriented policing can get a little extreme, as it tries to make the people of the community feel safer. Some of the techniques used would also make the community members feel somewhat unsafe. These techniques were added due to the attack on September 11, 2001, which has caused community policing to change. Ben Brown (2007) states that these strategies and techniques include very aggressive techniques. An example of an extreme strategy used by the USA Patriot Act include granting federal law enforcement the capability of detaining non-citizens (Brown, 2007). This is just one of the techniques that had been suggested.

Another suggestion was by Attorney General John Ashcroft, which was to grant law enforcement agents within the community the power to incarcerate or arrest any immigrant that disobeys the federal immigration laws (Wade, 2002). This does not help with bringing the community and the police together.As stated before, there is a lack of trust between Latino communities and police officers. This technique would make it worse for both the police officers in the community, and members of the Latino communities. Davis & Erez (1998) also believe that by granting community police officers the power to arrest immigrants who disobey federal immigration laws, it would only be a negative technique towards community oriented policing, as members of the community would be more afraid to report any crimes, even if they were the victims.

Such strategies would ruin the chances of police and community cooperation. Another strategy that was suggested by Professor De Guzman (2002), who is a professor at Indiana University South Bend, was to reduce the attempts of applying community oriented policing, and using more invasive policing and police patrol, and interrogation. This is also another way to lose the community’s trust in the police, therefore making it harder for the police officers in the communities and neighborhoods to do their job without community cooperation and community support.

An example of these strategies being used and having a negative impact on law enforcement and community relationship is the attack on Centennial Olympic Park, located in the State of Atlanta. The attack took place on July 27, 1996 (Brown, 2007). According to Brown (2007), the FBI were in a rush to classify a suspect, which led them to blaming an innocent man. That man was a security guard, Richard Jewell, who had located the explosive (Brown, 2007). Richard Jewell was questioned and was entirely searched at his home, and at a cabin located in the mountains that Richard Jewell had been to (Brown, 2007). Richard Jewell also had information leaked about him to the media, which made it very difficult for Richard Jewell and his mother (Brown, 2007).

Ben Brown (2007) states that what the FBI did was “a form of psychologically manipulating (i.e., ‘sweating’) a suspect”. However, the FBI never released any information about what caused them to suspect Richard Jewell, and never released a statement about any crime he had committed that would have caused him to be a suspect (Brown, 2007). After not being able to prove that Jewell is guilty of the bombing, and after Jewell and his mother were eager to clear their record after being mentioned even on CBS in a news broadcast, they were not able to get the United States Department of Justice to remove them from the list of suspected terrorists until a few months after the events, in October (Thomas & McAllister, 1996; Yoder, 1996).

The FBI then gave the name of a new suspect, which led to an extreme search for the suspect Robert Rudolph, who had been hiding in the mountains in the State of North Carolina (Brown, 2007). The search was also considered one of the counterterrorism techniques with “aggressive tactics” that Robert Rudolph had to go through (Brown, 2007). This is another example of the negative side of community oriented policing, that would cause mistrust between police and community, and would cause the community to not cooperate with police officers.

Community Policing has become a very popular philosophy nationwide. By the year of 2000, law enforcement agencies around the United States have reported that more than 90 percent of the agencies had participated in community oriented policing (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2004). The types of people who have been backing and supporting community oriented policing and believe in community oriented policing’s capability of solving problems are:

  1. Politicians;
  2. Academians;
  3. Police Officers (Chappell, 2007).

Chappell and Lanza-Kaduce (2004) state that police officers practicing community oriented policing are “more of a community resource than simply a law enforcer”. This statement proves the idea of police officers handling less police-related work when it comes to community oriented policing, and focusing more on a relationship and building trust between the police and the community in order to reduce the crime rate, and grant the community a much safer environment to live in.

Community oriented policing can very much be quite difficult for police officers, and much more difficult to officers than members of the community. Community oriented police officers are being asked to do a lot of more work than what police officers were asked to do in the past (Kelling & Moore, 1988). Community police officers have a bigger role in preventing crime, as they are not only fighting crime by confronting criminals in the area and dealing with police-related work, but they also have to try to bring the police and the community together and cooperating in order to fight crime and make everyone feel safe, protected, and guarded (Chappell, 2007).

An example of police and community interaction provided by Trojanowicz & Bucqueroux (1990) is when members of the community ask the local police officer for a new addition to the neighborhood like an addition of street lights, the police officer would be in charge of notifying the city authorities, and “act as their advocate” in order to grant the community their their request.

Another responsibility of community police officers is to join the members of the community in a civic league meeting, which is a meeting that discusses local crime, and to listen to the suggestions of the community members in order to strengthen their relationship, build trust between the two, and to help make the community members feel much safer (Community Policing Consortium, 2006).

Police officers go through special training before becoming community oriented police officers (Chappell, 2007). Police officers are required to learn public speaking skills, along with diversity and communication skills (Chappell, 2007). Chappell (2007) also states that police officers are examined before they start the cycle of practice and training, which is called “academy training”. Academy training is when police officers are taught the basics of policing, which include the use of firearms, and motor vehicle driving with a great risk, that could be very dangerous to apply (Alpert & Dunham, 1997). This training also includes important diversity skills.

Research from the year of 2000 in Slovenia discusses the philosophy of police officers and residents on their view of community oriented policing (Pagon & Lobnikar, 2001). The study focused on the community and the police’s decision to cooperate. The study proved that members of the community and police officers were both convinced to cooperate. The study also showed that both community oriented police officers and members of the community preferred having community oriented policing, rather than regular and traditional policing (Nalla, Meško, & Modic, 2016).

Chappell (2007) is one of the researchers who provides us with information on community oriented policing, and on the human skills required for the community policing officers. These human skills are important for police officers in order to cooperate with the community. These human skills include:

  1. “Interpersonal”;
  2. “Decision Making”;
  3. “Oral communications”;
  4. “Decisiveness” (Nalla, Meško, & Modic, 2016).


With community oriented policing becoming popular in the early 1990’s, countries outside the United States began in Europe and Australia began using the technique of community oriented policing. This policing philosophy brings the community and the police together in order to tackle criminal activity in the area, and in the neighborhood in order to make the community members feel safer than ever. This privilege however, is not granted to all communities, as there are certain minority groups within a community who do not trust the police, causing them to have no contact whatsoever, even if they had been the victims of a crime. Police officers have to go through special training in order to become community oriented police officers, which comes with lots of responsibilities, as police officers in the community are asked to do more than they had been asked before, as community oriented policing is the mixture of traditional police work and community oriented police work.


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Community Oriented Policing. (2021, Dec 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/community-oriented-policing/

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