Wednesday, June 25, 2008

20080623 What is Community Policing?

What is Community Policing?

Retrieved from U. S. Department of Justice Office of Community Policing Services website ( on June 23, 2008

A central goal of the COPS Office is to help law enforcement agencies implement and enhance community policing. We have previously defined community policing as "a policing philosophy that promotes and supports organizational strategies to address the causes and reduce the fear of crime and social disorder through problem-solving tactics and police-community partnerships." In an effort to help discern what community policing is, what interactions between the police and citizens are central to this philosophy, and how the field should measure movement towards community policing, COPS has attempted to further outline the elements that are central to the philosophy of community policing.

This document is considered living, just like community policing itself, and it is meant to inform current practice and the discussion surrounding the advancement of community policing. It is not intended to be a prescriptive listing of central elements, but is meant to stimulate discussion in what is an ever-expanding body of experience and knowledge about the practice of community policing.

Community policing focuses on crime and social disorder through the delivery of police services that includes aspects of traditional law enforcement, as well as prevention, problem-solving, 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. Community policing requires police and citizens to join together as partners in the course of both identifying and effectively addressing these issues.

The core elements of community policing are described below:

Organizational Elements:

Tactical Elements:

External Elements:

1. Philosophy Adopted Organization-Wide
2. Decentralized Decision-Making and Accountability
3. Fixed Geographic Accountability and Generalist Responsibilities
4. Utilization of Volunteer Resources
5. Enhancers

1. Enforcement of Laws
2. Proactive, Crime Prevention Oriented
3. Problem-solving

1. Public Involvement in Community Partnerships
2. Government and Other Agency Partnerships

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