Policing involves complex roles and responsibilities in today’s current time. To be effective in the performance of their duties, there are important strategies that are considered to be the most relevant and important to the police authorities. Community policing and evidence based policing are two important strategies that will enhance the ability of the police officers in addressing the constantly changing environment involving crime and disorder. Community policing generally involves the collaboration between the community members and the police in identifying and solving problems affecting the community. The concept of community policing introduces the new perspectives providing that the maintenance of law and order in the communities is no longer the sole responsibility of the police, but also that of the community members (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). There is now the expanded outlook regarding crime and prevention where the police are no longer the sole guardians in keeping the peace and order within the community. Community policing denotes the concept that to be efficient in keeping the community safer the community members and the police authorities should work together.
It can be noted that most crimes arise within the neighborhood. The community members are more aware of the current existing problems that must be resolved that can help maintain a peaceful neighborhood and to reduce the crime rates. Community policing, as a philosophy, promotes the strategies of the police organizations for the more systematic use of partnerships and problem solving techniques in resolving problems involving public safety, fear of crimes and social disorder. As a process, community policing involves three key components, namely community partnership, organizational transformation and problem solving (US Department of Justice, 2014). These strategies will reinforce the ability of the law enforcement agencies to address community related problems and promote trust to the police officers by the community members. It will also help in the application of more systematic approach in identifying problems and in developing solutions to them through the collaborative efforts between the police officers and the community members.
Community policing also involves decentralization which aims for the promotion of better responsiveness of the police officers to the immediate needs of the community. Community policing requires the police officers to depart from the traditional police work involving patrolling, investigating crimes, law enforcement and maintaining peace in order. They need to be in close contact to the community members and associate with their leaders to discuss the existing problems and to help one another in finding the most viable solution to social disorder and other problems that can lead to crimes and chaos (Palmiotto, 2000). The employment of community policing as a strategy will help in improving public trust to the law enforcement agency and it also trains the police officers to learn exercising their problem solving skills. The administration of justice and law enforcement is more effective with community policing because it helps the law enforcers to become more engaged with community problems and adapt to the local conditions within the community they are tasked to serve and protect (Brogden and Nijhar, 2005). Each community has unique problems. Community policing is a very important strategy because it brings the law enforcers closer to the public that allows them to understand the existing conditions, identify and solve problems more effectively (Clear, Hamilton and Cadora, 2003) and partnering with the community members make it easier for them to define the most viable solution to community problems.
The evidence based policing is also an important strategy in community policing because the law enforcers need to know what works best when dealing with crimes and social disorders that are usually unique in every community. It is a process that helps police officers decide which strategies and decisions will provide the best result under certain circumstances (Sherman, 2013). Because crime rates and statistics differ in every locality, it is important that the law enforcers need to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills in the decision making process according to the existing conditions before them. The use of evidence based practice centralizes the practice of crime analysis in policing that helps understand how the crimes are geographically clustered with considerations to the environmental factors and based on the existing conditions that affect criminality and disorders (Perry, et al., 2013).
In evidence based practice, the central focus is to determine which strategies in policing are more effective. Due to the complexities of crimes, law enforcers are usually confronted with different problems within the community which require different approaches and strategies to solve. This makes research an important aspect to effective administration of justice and law enforcement. The process encourages the police officers to apply scientific evidence in determining what actually works when called upon to make decisions and in the conduct of police practices (Virginia Center for Policing Innovation, 2015). Every police officer may exercise his own judgment under certain circumstances, but basing their judgment according to the research findings on what work best in practice will enhance better outcomes. The strategy of using evidence based practices in policing emphasizes the use of evidence to support the law enforcers' actions and decisions (Romero, 2015).
Both the community policing and evidence based policing are important strategies that should be employed by the law enforcers. With community based policing, the establishment of partnership with the community members will enhance the ability of the police officers to identify common problems confronting the public. This collaborative relationship will give the police officers an advantage of gaining the public trust and they will not solely be burdened in resolving crimes and social disorders (Ferreira, 1996). Law enforcers need to apply scientific and research evidence in order to make more accurate decisions and actions that will provide better outcomes in solving crimes and maintain peace and order through evidence based policing. This will make policing more effective because the police practices and strategies employed are known to work best under a given situation.
The interesting part of policing involves the performance of complex roles that are not mainly confined to patrolling, criminal investigation, enforcing the law, making arrest and other related jobs that are within the mandate of the law enforcement agencies. I have learned in the course that these roles of a policeman are traditional and that the demands of the changing environment in the community requires the law enforcers to immerse themselves in the community and become more pro-active in problem solving in partnership with the community members. Policemen are now required to make their own analytical skills in solving problems within the community and the solutions are sometimes not found in the police handbook. The law enforcement agencies are now more flexible in terms of defining the roles of policemen by developing new concepts that will better satisfy the demands and needs of the public (Meese, 1993).
What makes policing very interesting as my job as a policeman is the challenge of employing innovative strategies that require police officers to perform new roles that are beyond the traditional police works. Police are no longer the sole guardians of peace and order within the community. They are required to develop partnership with the community members and be able to participate in community activities that will enhance their ability to socialize and understand the current needs of the community members. This will help policemen depart from the traditional role of being law enforcers that the community members often fear of associating. By community policing, policemen goes out to mingle with the community members and develop collaborative efforts in crime prevention. This is a good police initiative that will restore public trust and strengthen the crime prevention efforts and enhanced resolution of community problems by working with the community members and reducing fear of crimes. Such partnership with the community will also help transform the law enforcement agency organization and culture (Docobo, 2005).
It can be noted that police officers are often constrained to follow rigid guidelines and regulations under certain situations. However, the innovative concepts of policing allowed police officers to depart from these rigid standards and to exercise creativity in employing strategies that works well under certain conditions. I have learned that the new concepts of policing include the application of research that will enhance the outcome of police response to community problems. The use of research based evidence is very helpful to policemen especially when they are engaged to respond to unique situations every day. Strategies are required to become more responsive to certain situations and policemen can exercise a better and more accurate judgment call with the help of evidence based policing strategies. I have learned that research in policing can also assist policemen to learn how to respond more effectively to problems and provide them ethical standards on the proper way to respond to social disorder and specific crimes (Brunger, Tong and Martin, 2016).
It is crucial to understand the value of scientific research in policing. According to Stanko and Dawson (2016), the use of evidence based policing will help policemen in the processing of decisions. Policemen are always handling varieties of situations that need analytical skills when responding. By knowing what strategies actually work under a given situation is an advantage that allows the police officers to focus on giving an accurate response instead of guesswork. I find the use of research based evidence in policing very useful because it provides policemen better confidence when responding to different situations. I have learned that policemen should not neglect the value of research because it assists them in making more ethical decisions and those that are actually proven to provide the best solution to the problem. This also eliminates doubts on whether the police is able to act ethically and professionally under a given situation.
An approach in policing that I previously did not know is the new roles of police officers that depart from the traditional responsibilities of law enforcers. With community policing, police officers actually perform tasks like attending community meetings, conducting surveys and participate in civic organizations. These are not the traditional law enforcement works. The above-mentioned roles of policemen in community policing are beyond the usual roles that they perform. My previous concept about policing is making arrest, patrolling, enforce the law, maintain peace and order and to prevent crimes from occurring. Social roles now become an important part of policing (Dolling and Feltes, 1993). Community immersion now forms an important part in policing because it helps the law enforcers to become more aware about the existing conditions in the community.
Community policing is an innovative process that I previously did not know. Policemen usually work at their own initiative of responding to crimes and in crime prevention. However, I have learned from the course that law enforcement and crime prevention are more effective when the police works in partnership with the community members. It is a new concept to me that policemen are no longer the sole guardian of public safety. Now, I recognize the importance of community members’ participation in law enforcement. By working together, crime prevention is enhanced and the police officers become more competent in applying their skills and knowledge in policing by understanding the actual problem and find the best solution to it with the cooperation of the community members. Community members can provide useful information to the police. The collaborative partnership between the police agency and community members will also help restore the relationship of trust between parties. Thus, community policing offer the best way for the police and the community to work together in resolving serious problems within the neighborhood. Research also revealed that the community institutions offer the first line of defense against crimes and social disorder (Bureau of Police Assistance, 1994). Partnering with community members optimizes the outcomes of police initiatives in crime prevention and maintaining the peace and order within the community.
I have learned during this course that as a policeman I need to learn how to become more flexible in the conduct of my roles and responsibilities. Policing involves a complex process and there are different problems that they need to resolve every day that are unique in every situation. In order to become more competent in my decision making process, it is essential to use research based evidence to be able to know what works best when determining a solution. Research is something that is often neglected in police work but it is an important element for an efficient and more accurate solution to problems. As a policeman, it is crucial to become more aware on the best practices in policing in order to ensure that proper actions are taken with the best possible outcomes.
I also learned that as a policeman help is needed in order to achieve more effective crime prevention process. The law enforcers cannot be expected to deal with all the problems involving criminality and social disorder alone. The assistance of community members will be very helpful in understanding the existing conditions within the neighborhood. Policemen should consider the fact that they often have limited resources and time to attend to all problems within the neighborhood. Collaborating with community members and leaders will unburden policemen from the complexities of understanding the current conditions and finding the most effective solution to community problems. The community members know best about the existing problems confronting their neighborhood. Developing a partnership with the community members will improve public trust to the police officers which helps in developing a better community relationship and a good initiative in crime prevention.
Lastly, I learn that community relations is important in policing. The law enforcement agencies will need all the help they can get in order to enforce the law efficiently and to provide the best solution to community problems. Police officers like me should also have the initiative in applying the most efficient problem solving strategies which is optimized by using research based evidence.
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