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Thesis statement: Police can develop better trust and confidence among the people by adopting ‘community policing strategies’.
Considering my excellent track record, and as a reward of my dedicated delivery of duties, I was appointed as the new chief of the police department at one of the major cities of the United States. The prime task that confronted me was to improve the image of my department among the people. I needed to establish that the relation between the people and the police could be reinforced by adopting community policing policies. I wanted to make my colleagues understand that once trust is built between the police and the public, people become easily approachable which might help in acquiring important information and leads.
Police image between people
It is understood that such a policy would establish an easy line of communication between the police and the public and as a result, the service calls might increase (initially) but the long-term effects of such a bond will be quite beneficial. Police officers feel encouraged because most of their service calls are affirmative. Moreover, when the law enforcement personnel perform their duties well, the whole community is a winner. The police personnel also consider their jobs safe and uncomplicated to perform; they face fewer legal problems and can get extended job years. The community holds a high opinion about them, which increases their morale. The benefits of community policing (to both sides) are innumerable. The fear of police among the community is replaced by the trust that makes it a safer place to live. As a result of better cooperation between the police and the people, tensions and conflicts are minimized and better safety for children and the aged are guaranteed. Crimes are also minimized and whatever little crimes that happen, are resolved quickly.
One thing that I have learned by experience is that if the relationship between the police and the community is to be made better, police should use force only when all endeavors such as persuasion, counsel, and warning fail to achieve the desired result. Police personnel should never emerge to seize the authority of the judiciary. Community policing requires the police personnel to follow the policies laid down by the department in directing their efforts towards ascertaining and diminishing the cause of any particular crime and reducing the fear among the people.
Community policing is governed by nine Ps (Love 7). The first P relates to the philosophy of community policing. The philosophy of community policing suggests that the community needs the police to provide policing based on service and to avail the cooperation of the community in such policing. The police personnel is required to prevent a crime to take place instead of waiting for it to happen and then taking action against the culprit.
The second P is for personalized service. Appointing a ‘community policing officer’ from amongst the community builds a sense of security among the community members because then people feel that the police personnel are people like themselves and as such, the obscurity between the two is finished. The third P is for policing. Police personnel will always be referred to as police who maintain law and order. But the amended system requires the police personnel to be proactive in their approach. The fourth P is for patrols. This particular P requires the police personnel to be more active while patrolling the streets. They should be easily approachable and reachable and should have a bigger vision of the area.
The fifth P is for having a permanent posting. It is important for having a police officer in a particular area permanently so that better relations are developed between that officer and the surrounding community. It needs time for a relationship to develop. If different officers are posted on different days in any particular area, the people of that community will not be able to become acquainted with the officers or develop any sort of relation. The sixth P refers to the place. A city cannot have similar neighborhoods. There will always be a difference in their opinions and approach. So it is a general practice of the police department to assign police personnel to their place. This gives them a sense of responsibility and cares for their place and the people.
The seventh P refers to the proactive nature of the police personnel. The eight P is for promoting a better relationship between the police and the people. Such a relationship is based on mutual respect and support. The ninth and final P refers to the problem-solving skills of the police personnel. The police personnel is advised not to consider enforcement of strict law as the only way of stopping a crime. On the contrary, they should concentrate on identifying the root cause of the problem and put an end to it.
Being the police chief, I am well aware of all the Ps of community policing and I will endeavor to abide by them. A police chief is responsible for being a role model for his/her subordinates. Excellent leadership qualities are a pre-requisite and as a result of the tons of experience that I have, I have developed such qualities. A police chief is also committed to protecting the life and property of the people. In pursuance of this responsibility a police chief has to establish goals for the department (“What Does a Police Chief Do?” par. 1). It should be understood that not only the police personnel but also the people are responsible for maintaining law and order. Though the police play an important role, it is the responsibility of each one of us to safeguard our community (Wynn 1).
I am also aware of the fact that there is a trait called ‘dirty work’ prevalent among some of the police personnel. Such officials tend to use coercive force to maintain law and order. It is also possible that instead of the so-called ‘dirty work’, the situation also sometimes demands the use of coercive force to maintain law and order. Such situations come into existence when persuasion, counsel, and even warning yield no result. In such a situation the police personnel has to resort to coercive action (Alpert 182).
In conclusion, the police department can develop better trust and confidence by adopting community policing policies. Such policies need to be followed religiously for the betterment of the community. After all, police personnel is also a part of the community. The community members are also obliged to cooperate with the police personnel in the performance of their duties. This can only be possible if there is an excellent bond between the police and the people.
Alpert, Geoffrey. Understanding Police Use of Force: Officers, Suspects, and Reciprocity, Cape Town, South Africa: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.
Love, Dwayne, Community Policing: Building Relationships. 2002. PDF file. Web.
What Does a Police Chief Do? 2014. Web.
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Wynn, Kelli 2012, Police Aim to Improve Community Relationship. Web.