Police Administration in Community Policing

Modern day police administration started around 166 years back when there was no existent law enforcement system like there is in the present day. This was pioneered by the formation of the Metropolitan Police of London in 1829. The British government saw it fit to address increased crime rates caused by urbanization, increased immigration, alcoholism, poor infrastructure and a lenient judicial system (Patterson, 1995). The police department came up with a plan to deal with crime from the roots.

With the development of administration tactics in police departments to tackle the issue of crime, society friendly means have been incorporated to enhance security in communities. Community policing, a social initiative, is a term used widely to refer to an effort by members of a community or neighborhood to create a positive relationship with the police in crime detection, prevention and police response. This is often done by use of police-like philosophies, ways and tactics in apprehending criminals.

Literature review
The social system is linked to the development of Law enforcement from history (Chriss, 2010). The introduction of regular patrols in 1829 known as beats, an innovation by Sir. Robert Peel, saw the first remarkable step to the development of modern policing. Introduction of the beats by police administration later on generated to what is now known as community policing. This was necessitated by the fact that arrests made were few despite the high crime rates. Due to the sporadic nature of patrols by regular and administration police, the chances for arrests were rare (Patterson, 1995). By assigning officers to specific sites of operation and holding them accountable for crime prevention and suppression, Sir. Peel intended to make the officers known to the public creating a relationship of trust between them and the members of the society, hence making it easier for them to detect crime and access information easily from members of communities and preventing criminals from carrying out their activities. Sir peels approach is in use to date by different police administration units.

Peel came up with yet another innovation due to his belief that civilians would not instill enough discipline given the opportunity to conduct patrol. He made sure that officers patrolled their shifts without fail as opposed to the civilian watchmen who did not have any orders to go by. In the meantime, American cities had developed municipal military policing units like the ones in Britain at the time of the civil war. The patrols were constituted of armed officers who were armed and wore distinctive blue uniforms. By the 1900s, advancements in the law enforcement department saw vast rehabilitation to the unit in order to reduce corruption and excessive use of power by the police. This resulted in the state taking over authority, creating new police organizations thus reducing the negative influences of politics. These reforms separated the force from political interference to enhance the operations. Later, this saw the role of police diversify to health enforcement, building and finding homes for the homeless.

Police Administration in Community Policing
Community policing officers traditionally devoted their time to conduct social work within the community effectively in addition to making arrests and preventing crime. These duties proved too much for the force which was much needed for fighting crime leading to the upcoming of community policing unit. As a result, a need to come up with more tactical and sophisticated form of police administration had to be incorporated (DuPont-Morales, 2001).

Police involvement in these programs aim at community interaction with law enforcement bodies to promote community development based on partnering to curb crime in the cities. The programs have received much support from political bodies, administration, academicians, the media and the general public despite encountering problems in its operations. Although celebrated countrywide, some places have witnessed a notable scale back of the program especially in Houston, Texas and New York City.
Community policing is the most popular reform step in Police administration in the United States (Mastrofski, Willis  Kochel, 2007). As an aspect of Administration and COMPSTAT, a crime management and analysis initiative in the United States, have been the most powerful reforms tools in the police force for the past twenty years promising notable change (Mastrofksi  Kochel, 2007).

Through COMPSTATs, police force has made effort to gather Information from interviews, group discussions and interactions in the existing seven police departments in the U.S enabling a smooth relationship between the departments and COMPSTAT in making reforms in the force while at the same time focusing on the lessons learnt from the problems experienced earlier on.

After more than ten years of practicing community policing and major problems having been detected, police departments have made efforts to make their operations in the society effective. However, poor planning which is caused by dependency on grant funding has affected the efficiency of community policing in carrying out its operations (US Department of Justice, 2010). In recent times, departments have resulted to involving the community in contributing and pooling personal resources in cases where it is applicable instead of depending fully on grants. This limits the development of many programs in different cities. In some cities, the program had to appease groups in the neighborhood instead of following a distinctive plan in management. The full charge of police administration saw changes in these trends by applying its paramilitary structure where juniors communicate information and reports to their superiors, with the Chief being in charge (Hodgson, 1998).

The mission of community policing was openly ambiguous in nature from the start. This hinders specialization in carrying out community policing duties as the officers actions can only be narrowed down to protecting the community, enhancement of a good police-community relationship and crime prevention in a friendly manner. This made it difficult for the officers to have a distinctive authority to report to and be answerable, more often than not, causing laxity. The efficiency of the program is now ensured by extensive neighborhood advocacy in collaboration with the advanced effort by administration to ensure that communities are safe (Hodgson, 1998). The hierarchical responsibility in police departments in conjunction with staff evaluation has born positive fruit in police involvement in community policing.  It has caused agencies to pool in all resources and manpower available for fighting crime. Alternative components of the programs like, patrolling on bicycles, organization of basketball games at midnight and other social activities have been used in the process (DuPont-Morales, 2001).

Improved implementation of police involvement in community activities has also created success to the program. Just as in the case of police involvement in other forms of administration, the departments have clear strategies in identification, prioritizing and coming up with response plans. Data collected by personnel in the departments assist in crime detection and strategies for prevention. This full implementation causes better organization of community policing owing to officers gaining a feeling of job satisfaction and residents seeing their areas as safe and habitable. An addition of positive feelings by the community towards the officers on community policing which is caused by a relationship of trust and interdependency can in turn cause good relationship between communities with active community policing programs and the locals thus creating harmony.

Evaluation of personnel assigned to patrols in the neighborhood was in the past done based on arrests made and rates of crime suppressed. This traditional way of evaluation is less effective than the more sophisticated and effective form of problem solving skills and capabilities. More effective ways have been incorporated by the policed departments to improve efficiency. The evaluations create opportunities for team members to assess their own work and come up with better strategies for improvement. Conflicts between expectations by the community to witness reduction in crime and superiors expectations to quantify result by officers based on the number of arrests and calls placed are less likely to occur as a result (Hodgson, 1998).

Lack of efficiency caused by limited personnel in addition to limited funding in the past contributed to inefficiency of the program. A case in point is when Houston got rid of its program in the early 90s due to budget cutbacks laying off up to 600 officers. However, departments are pledging sufficient funding which is in turn is causing positive changes in their operations. Potential corruption had also been a major setback in the implementation of community policing.

Until the implementation of regular rotation of officers on the neighborhood watch, constant interaction with the locals and part of the political wing rooted for some degree of corruption. This was due to the relationships established between the officers and such groups with time. The problem has been alleviated by full involvement of the police force and the hierarchical chain of command in addition to evaluation. The demand for less social work and more crime prevention has seen many neighborhoods conduct midnight basketball games in an effort to reach out to underprivileged youths in the community who are more prone to crime (Patterson, 1995).

Police Administration in Community policing is appreciated for its efforts towards crime prevention and elimination while at the same time establishing a good neighborhood relationship. Developed democracies however indicate that the dream of the program has not been realized in full (Brogden and Nijhar, 2005). A lot has to be changed and improved in the law enforcement units even in developed democracies. A direct relationship between recession and appreciation in economy and increase in crime rates leaves the police department with much to be done to eliminate crime since little can be done about the economy by the department (The e-newsletter of the COPS Office, 2009).


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