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Police Work: What is Community-Oriented Policing?

Wednesday, 03 Jun 2015 06:14 PM

When Police Chief Robert Fager wanted to improve police-civilian relations in his area of Hawthorne, California in 2012, he wound up using free McDonald’s coffee to incentivize the public to talk to cops about their concerns.

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“Coffee with a Cop” became a well-attended regular event in Hawthorne, where police exercise community policing – a policing strategy that requires cops to develop partnerships with their community, problem solve, and implement organizational features.

The U.S. Department of Justice created the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office in 1994 as a result of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

Today the office aims to foster trust and respect between police forces and their communities in order to create a more effective police system. The COPS office offers grants, training, and other resources to promote community-oriented policing strategies.  

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) offers an annual Community Policing Award to police departments worldwide who have best implemented community-oriented policing to improve their districts.

IACP assigns the award to 5 different population categories. In 2014, all 5 winning cities were located in the United States.

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The Highland Village Police Department in Denton County, Texas won the IACP’s Community Policing Award in 2014 in the largest population category. The department had launched a successful community-oriented policing strategy known as Operation Shield.

Operation Shield forged partnerships between business owners and the police force in Highland Village to combat business burglaries. Highland Village Police Department managed to install discounted latch guards in 108 partnering business, which served ultimately to stop 100% of business burglary in their community.

Although community-oriented policing strategies have proven effective in Hawthorne and Highland Village, skeptics point to police-civilian tensions in Baltimore to acknowledge the principle’s potential for failure.

In 2014 the COPS office launched the Collaborative Reform Initiative in Baltimore to improve Baltimore Police Department’s community relations, improve transparency and accountability measures, and transform the department’s decision making and policies.

Still, these efforts did not prevent the outbreak of police riots over the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American Baltimore teenager who died in police custody in April 2015.

"Although the city has made significant strides in their collaborative reform efforts with the Community Oriented Policing Services Office, I have not ruled out the possibility that more may need to be done," Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney General , said in her testimony before a Senate subcommittee in 2015.

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When Police Chief Robert Fager wanted to improve police-civilian relations in his area of Hawthorne, California in 2012, he wound up using free McDonald’s coffee to incentivize the public to talk to cops about their concerns.
police, community, law enforcement
433
2015-14-03
Wednesday, 03 Jun 2015 06:14 PM
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