"Community Policing." In Larry E. Sullivan and Marie Rosen (eds.), Encyclopedia of
Law Enforcement, Volume 1. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005, 74-78.
So, what is community policing? Although it is often described by the things that police officers
do, community policing is actually a strategic rather than programmatic innovation.  Its
advocates characterize it as transforming the "professional" model of policing that has been
dominant since the end of World War II, shifting in a fundamental way to one that is proactive,
prevention oriented, and community sensitive.  It seems to mean different things to different
people because the range and complexity of programs with which it is associated are large and
continually evolving.  At root, however, community policing is not defined by a list of particular
tactics.  In its fullest expression, community policing affects the structure and culture of police
departments, not just their activities.  Police departments embracing community policing tend to
adopt at least three new, interrelated organizational stances: They involve the community, they
decentralize, and they adopt a problem-solving orientation.  In turn, these changes reverberate
back, reshaping the mission and methods of policing.
“The Promise of Community Policing.” In David Weisburd and Anthony Braga (eds.),
University Press, 27-44.
Community policing is very popular. So popular is the concept with politicians, city managers
and the general public, that few police chiefs want to be caught without some program they can
call community policing. In a 1997 survey of police departments conducted by the Police
Foundation, 85 percent reported they had adopted community policing or were in the process
of doing so But what do cities that claim they are "doing community policing" actually do? They
describe a long list of projects. Under the rubric of community policing officers patrol on foot (in
the 1997 survey, 75 percent listed this), or perhaps on horses, bicycles or segways.
Departments variously train civilians in citizen police academies, open small neighborhood
storefront offices, conduct surveys to measure community satisfaction, canvass door-to-door to
identify local problems, publish newsletters, conduct drug education projects, and work with
municipal agencies to enforce health and safety regulations. However, community policing is
not defined by these kinds of activities. Projects, programs and tactics come and go, and they
should as conditions change. Communities with different problems and varied resources to
bring to bear against them should try different things. Community policing is not a set of
specific programs. Rather, it involves changing decision-making processes and creating new
cultures within police departments.  It is an organizational strategy that leaves setting priorities
and the means of achieving them largely to residents and the police who serve in their
neighborhoods. Community policing is a process rather than a product. It has three core
elements: citizen involvement, problem solving, and decentralization. In practice these three
dimensions turn out to be densely interrelated, and departments that shortchange one or more
of them will not field a very effective program This essay reviews the three core concepts that
define community policing, describes how they have been turned into concrete community
policing programs, and reports some of what we know about their effectiveness. It draws
heavily on my experience evaluating community programs in a number of cities, as well as on
what others have reported. It summarizes some of the claims made for community policing, and
some of the realities of achieving them in the real world.
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