Community Policing: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

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Goal or mission statement of the organization

To generate strategies and problem solving tactics that will address the immediate conditions giving rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime. Community policing is the connection between police and citizenry, who work together on safety involving the public. The design of community policing entails a more open relationship between the police and the public which gives the police a more proactive role in the community (Burns & Thomas, 2005). Community oriented policing aims to increase the relations between the police and the community.

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Specific objectives

  • Prevention of crime: This aims at having a long term sustained impact on crime through community policing.The community is fully involved in crime prevention through this strategy where both the police and the community have a hand in instituting measures to curb crime.
  • Co-operation with the public by police: To form long term partnerships between police and residents, and businesses. Therefore, all business-people and residents must lend a hand to the police, as the police aim at getting help from the public so that they can be able to fully implement the goal of community policing.
  • Accountability and service to the public by police: To change attitudes towards community policing, the police ought to remain accountable to the general populace and also provide service to the community thorough co-operation with the masses.
  • Organized community: To change attitudes towards community policing.The community is kept in an organized manner where all know their roles as far as public security is concerned.This leads to a change of attitude by the community towards this strategy.
  • Address and reduce the fear about crime: Through community policing, the public is sensitized about reduction in fear of crime as this issue is constantly being addressed in this forum. Raise awareness of community policing. This objective aims at ensuring that the public are aware about the issues regarding community policing. An informed public would thus be more proactive in this regard.
  • Educate the public about how to get involved with community policing.Once the public is informed, then the police will have a simple task implementing this initiative.
  • Elicit citizen involvement in community policing. The citizens need to be encouraged to get involved with community policing in order for them to fully participate in it.
  • Educate all employees about community policing.The major stakeholders need to be educated about this initiative and this includes even the police employed to undertake this task.
  • Elicit involvement and creative problem solving by community. The community once involved needs to be encouraged to come up with problem solving strategies.
  • Bring out active cooperation with employees and residents. Both the employees and residents need to be encouraged to co-operate with each other for better results.

Target population

The targeted group of people is especially the ones living in urban areas and particularly in the slums. These are people who are exposed to various risks of crime. Chicago (a major metropolitan city that has implemented Community policing) is being compared with Detroit. A major city is used to determine whether this program can be implemented successfully in larger police departments. Chicago is considered to have one of the best examples of a community policing department (Robinson, 2003). Chicago has a force of 13,500 police officers. Detroit has 4,234 officers. There is a lot of information available about the results of Chicago program, which is very useful in evaluating the program.

Looking at their set goals, implementation and achievement

Is there a significant difference in results when a major implementation has been undertaking long-term solutions? Does the focus on developing practical strategies yield long –term solutions rather than short term fixes? Should maintenance be a part of strategic planning? We must focus on three primary subjects: 1. Police administrations and supervisors with regard to their attitude and behavior toward community oriented policing; 2. the average police officer; 3. Information systems and technology used for solving problems (Peak & Glensor, 1996). The three primary subjects are paramount if the continuation of community oriented policing is to exist.

Time frame of the program

This program is estimated to take a period of 10 years at the minimum to ensure that the entire slum community has access to this service.Future implication for community oriented policing looks promising. However many experiments based on great philosophy failed over time (Peak & Glensor, 1996). The commitment to forecast the forthcoming of policing and civilization at large should not be restrained in design (Peak & Glensor, 1996).

Results (specific change in the problem)

Positive outcome is expected and this is mainly to curb petty and hardcore crime in the urban slum areas. Should this be contained then it means that the objective will have been achieved and the change would be to spread reach to rural areas as well.Increasing number of studies conducted on community policing show that challenges of implementation are almost conspicuous. This is to say that it is not easy to implement such strategies with immediate success. Problems may occur in three different areas. These include within the police service, within the community and finally in the implementation of these initiatives. The challenges include barriers within police organizational structure and climate (Giacomazzi et al., 2004), where lack of encouragement and firm leadership can lead to negative results with this strategy (Robinson, 2003).

Police may not be willing to make community policing a priority and this is a hindrance which may not be noticed easily as the perception is that community policing is different from other police work. There may also be a misconception that the community will embrace community policing methods which may not be the real case on the ground. Some people may be reluctant to co-operate with the police in this initiative (Long et al., 2002), and communication constraints can often hinder community policing success especially in areas with minority and special needs groups (Schneider 1998). Research by Bohm et al. (2000) has also found that community and police cohesion on the problems and solutions existing in a community is not necessarily present, and can be dominated by minority stakeholders (Bohm et al., 2000).

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It has been found that officers involved in these programs are more satisfied with their work. This would imply that the same officers might enjoy a longer, more productive career, and have more positive interactions with the community. Crime control is always a primary concern of police strategies and community policing is not different. While the direct effects of these programs on crime have been less than conclusive, it is still believed that community policing has a positive impact on crime.

According to much of the research by Bohm et al. (2000), programs which have been implemented have an effect upon reducing the fear experienced by residents of a community. It would seem that the mere existence of such programs serves to ease the collective conscious. Regardless of the actual effect that these programs have had on the crime rates, public perception of these programs is consistently positive. Criterion (how measure success)

Assessment of community policing efforts, both in terms of achieving necessary change within the organization itself and accomplishing external goals like establishing working relationships with the community and reducing levels of crime, fear and disorder. Ongoing assessment meets a number of fundamental needs. This will be measured in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and also equity. All the three aspects combined help to bring about a well standardized procedure.

To measure the efficiency of community policing, the resources of the police agency, local government and private agencies, citizen groups, the business community, and the neighborhood must first be defined. The assessment must then determine whether these resources are being used to their fullest to solve any given problem. Agencies that can successfully enhance and realign their resources by forming community partnerships will be able to make community policing more efficient and cost-effective

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A foremost tenet of community policing is equity; that is, all citizens should have a say in how they are governed. Officers may relate better to citizens as individuals because they cooperate closely with and are recognized as an integral part of the community. Community policing can thus become a force for enhancing democratic principles. While the objective of community policing is the same as traditional law enforcement, namely, crime prevention, its methods are different.

Therefore, the performance of officers assigned to it must be evaluated and awarded according to the new requirements. The community police task force should, as a matter of priority, develop criteria for the evaluation of the performance of officers to fit the community-police specifications. Officers will not seek assignment to community-policing roles or participate wholeheartedly in it if they think that the new activities will not be appreciated and rewarded.

Performance evaluations are based on job descriptions that reflect the principles of community policing and that emphasize taking action to make a positive difference in the community as the yardstick for success. The process of developing performance evaluations reflects broad input from inside and outside the organization.Performance evaluations are written from the customer’s point of view such as the public who are the recipients of police service, rather than to serve the organization’s bureaucratic needs. Performance evaluations encourage risk-taking, by avoiding penalties for well-intentioned mistakes and by rewarding creativity.

The performance evaluations for managers and supervisors reflect the shift from controller to facilitator, as well as the roles of model, coach, and mentor. Evaluations for managers and supervisors reward efforts to delegate not only responsibility but authority. “Performance evaluations for managers and supervisors reward them for cutting red tape and removing bureaucratic obstacles that can stifle creativity.” (Burns & Thomas, 2005, p. 23).

Services that will be provided

The community policing initiative will provide several services like mobilization and empowerment of communities to identify and respond to issues that concern the community’s welfare. It will also aim at providing a better local environment in relation to the physical surroundings and the society as a whole. Another dimension to look at this is that of a changing and improved attitude that is positive as regards the police force.

There is also a reduced perspective by the community where the fear for crime is instilled to ensure that the community is law –abiding. In addition, there will be a better relationship between the community and the police where the community will see the police as their friends rather than their enemies. There is also the aspect of the community viewpoint about the police where they will start to see them as legitimate and necessary to co-operate with. Officers in the police force as a result of this strategy will feel more at par or satisfied with their work as a result of input from the community.

Educating collaborative partners: It is important for members of violence collaborations to operate with precise and accurate information about what does and does not work and about the dimensions of the problem in the community.

Providing victims with emergency protection and services after an assault is critical. Rescue shelters protect victims from further harm after an assault, sometimes on referral from the police and sometimes not. Typical services include a temporary housing, information and referrals to other social services, safety planning, and victim advocacy for emergency benefits or at court proceedings, and referrals for legal services. Tailoring the police response on the basis of offender and victim risk: Researchers view offenders along a continuum, some are easily dissuaded from committing an offence; others require increased actions and a graded or tiered approach to control offender behavior can be effective. Educating potential victims and offenders: Some police agencies participate in violence awareness campaigns and school programming, such as classroom instruction to teens about dating violence and ways to handle conflict. Violence prevention messages may target the general population or specific populations.

Resource plan (includes funding stream)

The source of funding will mainly come from the consolidated fund allocated to the police department. Government grants made directly to law enforcement agencies to hire additional officers and promote innovations may be an effective way to reduce crime on a national scale. The basic idea behind community policing is that the community must be involved with police to solve problems. As simple as this may sound, police must accept the fact that the community has to be involved in the process from the beginning.

The goal is to promote police community partnerships. Problem solving is new way of policing to address not only the causes of crime and the fear of crime but all quality of life issues in the community. Many authors list three areas of concern in implementing an effective community policing strategy. One of the areas is the law enforcement administrators’ perceptions of community policing. The other one is how administrators have implemented the principles and strategies of community oriented policing in their agencies. The last one is the skills needed by community police officers for efficiency. The question that arises is whether the agencies are truly implementing community oriented policing, or whether they are merely trying to obtain the available federal funding.

This is a valid concern. Because there is so much federal funding available for community policing, are we really responding to community needs or just to a financial need to fund hiring of officers? There is a need for funding priorities to be revised to reflect community policing’s priorities and ensure that all the funds are channeled to meet the proper motives. The department should realistically analyze its resource needs to implement community policing. The police agency should clearly justify the need for additional resources. Residents of the jurisdiction must be willing to pay more in taxes to obtain community policing.

The police department should fully explore local, state, and federal grants available for community policing. The police department ought to fully explore private sources of funding for instance from businesses, foundations, and so on. Police department must restructure and prioritize workload and services to free up patrol time for community policing. The department should work with the community on developing alternatives to traditional handling of calls for service. The police organization may consider flattening the management hierarchy as a means of creating more patrol positions for community policing. The police organization must consider de-specializing that is eliminating, reducing, or restructuring specialized units as a means of creating more patrol positions for community policing (Bohms et al., 2000).

The police organization should make the best possible use of civilians and volunteers as a means of freeing up patrol officer time for community policing. The mode of transportation for officers doing community policing in different areas with different needs such as patrol cars, scooters, bicycles, etc. should be the best for the circumstance. Officers must be outfitted with appropriate technology e.g., cellular phones, pagers, answering machines/voice mail, FAX machines, notebook computers, access to computer network and so on (Long et al., 2002).

Neighborhood-based officers may require office space. Therefore find free space available, furniture and utilities. The organization should devote sufficient time and resources to make the most of strategic planning to implement community policing. Mechanisms must be employed to solicit input from inside and outside the organization to ensure input from line-level police personnel and community residents. The strategic planning process itself must provide opportunities to begin building new partnerships. The strategic planning process must also provide opportunities to empower line-level personnel. The participants involved in planning must clearly describe what the plan is designed to achieve. The organization should inject objectivity into the process, as a guarantee that the tough questions will be asked. The monitoring process must include capturing qualitative as well as quantitative outcomes. The planning/program evaluation staff should cross organizational lines and coordinates directly with management information system staff (Schneider, 1998).

Program assessments must change to reflect the many different kinds of success, such as overall harm reduction. There must be a plan to keep modifying the implementation plan and a strategy to stay abreast of new opportunities and new problems. Principal performance measures for hiring grant programs are: (1) The number of officers funded and (2) The number of officers hired or redeployed. Both measures demonstrate the impact of community policing hiring grants on law enforcement’s ability to implement community policing strategies through the hiring of additional community policing officers or school resource officers, or through the redeployment of officers to their community’s streets as a result of time savings achieved through the implementation of technology or the hiring of civilians.

References

Bohms, R. M., Reynolds, K. M. & Holmes, S. T. (2000). Perceptions of neighbourhood problems and their solutions: implications for community policing. Policing: An international journal of police strategies and management, 5, 439-65.

Burns, P. F. & Thomas, M. O. (2005). Repairing the divide: an investigation of community policing and citizen attitudes towards the police by race and ethnicity. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 71-85.

Giacomazzi, A., Riley, S. & Merz, R. (2004). Internal and external challenges to implementing community policing: examining comprehensive assessment reports from multiple sites. The Justice Professional, 223-238.

Long, J., Wells, W., & Leon-Granados, W. D. (2002). Implementation issues in a community and police partnership in law enforcement space: lessons from a case-study of a community policing approach to domestic violence.

Police practice and research, 231-246.

Peak, K. J. & Glensor, R. W. (1996). Community policing and problem solving. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Robinson, A. L. (2003). The impact of police social capital on officer performance of community policing. Policing: an international journal of police strategies and management, 656.

Schneider, S. R. (1998). Overcoming barriers to communication between police and socially disadvantaged neighborhoods: a critical theory of community policing. Crime law and social change, 347-377.

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DemoEssays. (2022) 'Community Policing: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections'. 17 April.

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DemoEssays. 2022. "Community Policing: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections." April 17, 2022. https://demoessays.com/community-policing-pennsylvania-department-of-corrections/.

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DemoEssays. "Community Policing: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections." April 17, 2022. https://demoessays.com/community-policing-pennsylvania-department-of-corrections/.