Understanding Community Policing
Community policing is, in essence, a collaboration between the police and the community that identifies and solves community problems. With the police no longer the sole guardians of law and order, all members of the community become active allies in the effort to enhance the safety and quality of neighborhoods. Community policing has far-reaching implications. The expanded outlook on crime control and prevention, the new emphasis on making community members active participants in the process of problem solving, and the patrol officers’ pivotal role in community policing require profound changes within the police organization. The neighborhood
patrol officer, backed by the police organization, helps community members mobilize support and resources to solve problems and enhance their quality of life. Community members voice their concerns, contribute advice, and take action to address these concerns. Creating a constructive partnership will require the energy, creativity, understanding, and patience
of all involved.
Reinvigorating communities is essential if we are to deter crime and create more vital neighborhoods. In some communities, it will take time to break down barriers of apathy and mistrust so that meaningful partnerships can be forged. Trust is the value that underlies and links the components of community partnership and problem solving. A foundation of trust will
allow police to form close relationships with the community that will produce solid achievements. Without trust between police and citizens, effective policing is impossible.